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Why Climate Change Could Sway 2020 Voters in Iowa

Listen to Episode 5 of ”Uncommitted: Iowa 2020” to hear how flooding has made climate change a key issue in 2020.

by Sophie Kazis
Dec 10 2019, 5:27pm

Listen to the teaser below and subscribe here on Spotify for the full episode of "Uncommitted: Iowa 2020," a new podcast from VICE News.

HAMBURG, Iowa — It’s been 10 months since flooding devastated Iowa, but corn fields in the town of Hamburg are still underwater. Rusted farm equipment sit idle near gutted houses, and signs reading “Hamburg Strong” dot the landscape. At the edge of town, a levee along the Missouri River is still broken.

"This is our island now," said Kim Ashlock, a farm owner who lost everything in the flooding.

This is what a lot of the towns along the river still look like. The disaster is estimated to cost Iowa around $2 billion. So not surprisingly, many voters are looking for a president who will lead on stemming climate change. The fact that Iowa is the first stop in the presidential nominating process means climate could play an even more pivotal role in the election.

VICE News went to Hamburg seeking to understand what life is like in this one rural Midwest town on the frontlines of the climate crisis — and how the situation they’re facing is affecting their politics in the leadup to the 2020 Iowa caucuses.

We learned that despite the damage — and that there’s every chance of similar disasters in the future — people in this tiny town nestled between the Missouri and Nishnatbotna Rivers are working hard to stay.

That’s the story political reporter Evan McMorris-Santoro and producers Kate Osborn and Sophie Kazis are telling in Episode 5 of our VICE News podcast, “ Uncommitted: Iowa 2020,” hosted by Emmy award-winning correspondent Antonia Hylton.

Listen to a teaser for episode 5 and subscribe here on Spotify now.

You can catch Uncommitted: Iowa 2020 Podcast o n Spotify every Tuesday. And sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Cover: A farm in Hamburg. Photo by Sophie Kazis.

Tagged:
Politics
climate
Podcast
2020
Iowa 2020