Friday, January 04, 2008

Why does Iowa matter?

One thing I haven't had adequately explained to me: why do the Iowa Caucuses matter?

I understand that Iowans will scream and cry and stamp their feet and throw tantrums if their privileged place as first-in-the-nation is ever revoked, which is why we're seeing the grotesquerie of a January 3rd caucus. And I understand that the national parties are willing to coddle Iowa and New Hampshire for the sake of party unity. But why on earth does any candidate treat Iowa like it means anything? The state is hardly representative of the nation as a whole - no more than Wyoming or Alaska or Hawaii or any other state whose demographic makeup is completely different from the rest of the nation. Meanwhile, a state like Pennsylvania, whose mix of urban, suburban, and rural, business and manufacturing and agricultural regions, ethnic and racial and religious and economic diversity, and nearly even red/blue split makes us far more reflective of the nation - Pennsylvania is given only a token primary, since the candidates have been selected long before they roll through here.

So Iowa likes to pretend that what they say matters. So the parties are willing to humor them. Why are the candidates acting like what they say matters, too?


Marc said...

Iowa matters because the Press says it matters.

Super G said...

Some rotation on the order in which states hold their primaries would make a great deal of sense.

Michelle D said...

I second marc's comment. I was more interested about reading about Britney's latest trainwreck than the caucus. What does that tell you? (Yes, I'm easily distracted by shiny objects....)

Gort said...

You know, you're getting to be a big pain in the ass. How dare you question the conventional wisdom or dispute the consensus of the pundit class.

Iowa matters because it's first and New Hampshire is second and the more the other states try to maneuver to get ahead of them the more important they become.

It's total fucking madness. What a stupid way to pick a President. But it's the system we have.

Who do you like for President DB?

supertiff said...

normally i would be right with you. it's always rather pissed me off that we have candidates who drop out of the race after a poor showing in iowa, well before anyone else has a chance to have a say. it's madness.

but, this year?
i think it matters.
when a state that is made up of only 2.3% african-americans can so overwhelmingly choose obama...when so many more people (especially young people and independents) get involved that normal...yeah, i think that matters.

and i'm actually happy about it.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

We have a token primary here in my state too.

This is already a long election year.

D.B. Echo said...

I guess I'm annoyed that the Democratic candidates all seem to be - well, you're voting for what goal they represent, not who they are. Do you want the First Black President, the First Woman President, or the Guy Who Had The Last Election Stolen From Him By The Evil Republicans?

Granted, I would vote for a ham sandwich if it were running against the Republicans. But I'd rather feel like I were votong for the candidate, not for some abstract concept they represent.

Of the candidates on the slate right now, I like Bill Richardson the most. He has the experience and the skills to deal with the mess that the current office-sitter and his cronies will be leaving behind. But I guess people just aren't excited about voting for the First Hispanic President!

Anonymous said...

Not one person answered the question, sounds like politics. haha.