The foreplay of the 2016 Presidential primary season is just about over and the real action began in Iowa as the state hosted the first caucus, similar to a primary election, to kick off a resurgence of slam ads and pleads to be our next leader.
But, it’s held in Iowa; hardly the cross-section of America and not nearly as diverse as the rest of the country or even some more heavily populated areas. With Hillary Clinton barely winning the caucus for the Democrats and Ted Cruz nabbing it for the Republicans, we have to ask: Does winning a caucus in Iowa really mean anything in becoming President of the United States?
Yes, it does
Sure Iowa is one of those fly over states, unless you’re into college football or wrestling, but their caucus sets the tone for the rest of the primary season. It can take a relative long shot — considering Ted Cruz was trailing in the polls just days before — and catapult them to a bigger spotlight. That spotlight forces those of us who pay attention to these races to re-examine our personal endorsement to see if the new candidate stacks up close to our beliefs.
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For projected front runners like Clinton, it’ll likely prompt supporters in other states to reach deeper into their pockets to support her campaign. An early caucus like Iowa also allows candidates to see if their message is resonating with voters.
So, although Iowa’s demographics do not mirror the majority of America, its caucus sets the tone of the election for candidates and those who vote for them.
No, it doesn’t
Take a look at the history of who won these caucuses in the past and you’ll see that in some years, they really mean nothing. For the Republicans, Mitt Romney won in 2008, only to eventually lose the nomination to John McCain. Romney finished second in 2012, only to eventually get the nomination.
For the Democrats, eventual President Bill Clinton finished fourth in 1992 to Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, Paul Tsongas (who?) and a batch of uncommitted voters.
For the sake of our sanity, at least bundle Iowa with several other states and do them simultaneously. Because as it is now, the ads come out too early, your demographics are not a fair representation of our country and you’ve had an uneven record at picking our next president.