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A Frequent Flyer’s Guide to the Iowa Caucuses

Posted: December 16, 2015 | By: Rebecca Christopoulos Tagged: From the Campaign Trail

In the many months leading up to the caucuses on Feb. 1, presidential candidates frequently flock to Iowa in an effort to hit all corners of the state and get to know its people. Though the candidates attempt to cover their bases in Iowa, Des Moines is the most routinely visited city by presidential contendors during caucus season. Despite being the state capital, Des Moines is the focal point of election activity in Iowa with its abudance of caucus events, integration of new-age and quintessential caucusgoers, and high levels of political enagement from its citizens. With Des Moines being the post populated and influential sector in Iowa, candidates are always traveling to Des Moines.

Des Moines International Airport has seen its fair share of candidates this election cycle (except for maybe Donald Trump, who prefers to fly private). As a casual Des Moines traveler, don’t be surprised if you’re lucky enough to bump into a presidential candidate or two on the way to your gate. However, some of us aren’t lucky enough to do so and instead settle upon the copious amounts of campaign merchandise, otherwise known as SWAG (stuff we—well Iowans—all get). Not all of the merchandise is affilated with one campaign, Iowans. For example, specifically local businesses like the popular T-shirt store, Raygun, have made a personal brand out of being first in the nation. The type of messsage presented varies among Iowans and Des Moines natives — the younger generation favoring a more humorous, self-depricating look at the Iowa caucuses (as well as politics in general), whereas the older generation holds its head high, hawking their number of interactions with presidential candidates all the way back to the Carter years. Whatever your preferred take is on the Iowa caucuses, humorous or proud, everyone can apperciate a little “merch” just in time for the holiday season.

No matter your party affiliation, Des Moines Airport’s new line of caucus merchandise will make a great holiday gift for that special republican or democrat of yours. So if you’re traveling this holiday season and looking for a last minute gift for the political junkie in your life, Des Moines airport may have what your looking for.

Here is your 2016 Iowa Caucus Project Gift Guide:

For Republican parents who sent their Republican daughter off to her first year of college and got a democrat back:

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For your niece who is far too young to understand politics, but you love Hillary so…

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Because you have absolutely no idea what else to get your super right-winged uncle:

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For your recent divorcee aunt who hates men and has new found love for partying:

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A gift for the whole family to enjoy: Cards come with guaranteed political commentary from your uninformed relatives on every presidential candidate from the moment you open the deck!

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IMG_1221Christopoulos is majoring in politics and broadcast journalism. She was born and raised in San Francisco but had to move to Iowa for sweet corn and caucuses. Follow her on Twitter.