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Marilynn Leggio, 71, brought her teenage granddaughter to an Elizabeth Warren rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, last Friday night.
Leggio says she has "no doubt" The Massachusetts senator would do "good work" as President, but given the loss of Hillary Clinton in 2016, she is not sure whether the country 2020 will give another woman a chance.
"I think there are many men out there that would never vote for a woman," said Leggio. "I hate to say that, but I think so, especially a woman who is strong and very opinionated, and I think many men think she is intrusive."
Asma Khalid / NPR
Like many Iowans, Leggio says that the most important criteria she is looking for in a presidential candidate is someone who can beat Donald Trump.
"I want someone to get Trump out there," she said. "Big time."
In more than a dozen interviews with self-described Independents and Democrats at Warren events over the weekend, "eligibility" was mentioned as a common theme.
Older and younger voters, formerly Clinton supporters and Sanders fans, all say that they are anxious to find a candidate who will bring their party together and send Trump back to New York.
Warren is one of about two dozen Democrats expected to run as a presidential candidate in 2020. Last weekend she was the first major declared candidate to visit the state of the Iowa early elections. There five public events took place in the western and central part of the state.
The last two years under Donald Trump have given Democrats a sense of urgency, said Troy Price, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party. People feel differently than on the eve of elections in 2016, when the Democrats controlled the White House.
"If there is someone as ruthless as [Trump] he was … so clear, people really I want to make sure we have the best candidate who can win," Price said.
But ability to vote means different things to different people. Some voters want a candidate who brings with them an inspiring message that unites the country.
Others, like Geri Frederiksen, retired English teacher, I want a politician with "honesty and integrity" who is not afraid to get involved with Trump.
"Whoever it is must be able to stand up to it," Frederiksen said. "I do not think you need to go down to his level, but you have to be firm."
Price, the leader of the Democratic Party, says he has noted three key features that Iowans refer to when discussing eligibility. Competence, authenticity and the willingness to fight against Trump.
Some Democrats want a candidate who has all three of these qualities, Price said, but others are looking for someone who fits well in one of these trajectories.
"People are really looking for someone who can change Washington and bring some politeness into our politics," he said.
Iowa circles are still thirteen months away, but as the earliest state to select a candidate in the main calendar, the calculations that Iowa voters make are often flushed out to other states.
One challenge is that Iowa is far less representative of an increasingly diversified Democratic Party. The state is over 90 percent white, while only 59 percent of democratic voters are white, according to the Pew Research Center.
In other parts of the country, some Democrats argue that it is a waste to encourage Trump voters to return to the party. Instead, they should focus on increasing voter turnout for loyal democratic groups, especially young people and minorities.
In Iowa, however, many Democrats equate eligibility with a candidate willing to visit rural neighborhoods and speak with Trump voters in a credible manner. They point to the structure of the electoral college and say that a candidate must improve in the Midwest.
Over the weekend, Warren was asked more than once by the electorate how to address people in Republican states. 19659010] "I am looking for someone with a broad appeal to attract some of the independents and republicans," said Jean McGinnis, 49, while waiting in line to take a photo with Warren after a rally in Sioux City.
Leif Erickson, a lawyer in the crowd, agrees that he wants a candidate who can move in red states.
He likes many of the issues that Warren faces, but he's worried about building bridges for both parties. [19659010 " It will be a heavy sale to get the votes in more rural states," he said . " She defended herself against Trump and … maybe that gave way a bit."
Asma Khalid / NPR
For some Iowans, Warren's openness – whether it be against big banks or Donald Trump – signals a certain craving for authenticity.
Kyle McGlade, a master student who also works in a local school board, says that he also wants to say, above all, a candidate who will win. But he believes that the road to victory depends on how honest a candidate is, regardless of whether it scares some people off. "I want them to be very unapologetic about what they believe in," said McGlade, 25. "Me." I do not know that you have to go as far in the middle as some people have done in the past … it's not the 90s anymore. "