Monday, February 01, 2016

Iowa Never Picks A Winner*

The first step in voter preference expression for the next President of the United States takes place today in Iowa starting at 7PM CST.

I still cannot understand why the Iowa Caucus is such a big deal.  Historically (*but with one exception) Iowa has rarely chosen the next U.S. President.  The only time since 1972 that the Iowa Caucus predetermined the next non-incumbent president was Barack Obama in 2008.  Let me remind you of who has won the Iowa Caucus over the last 40 years or so.

Note: Candidates in bold eventually won their party's nomination. Candidates also in italics subsequently won the general election.

Democrats - 

Republicans

per Wikipedia
Not a stellar record, amiright?  Also, let's keep a few things in mind about the Iowa Caucus:
  1. Democratic caucus participants (though not Republicans, whose caucuses vote by secret ballot) must publicly state their opinion and vote, leading to natural problems such as peer pressure from neighbors and embarrassment over who one's preferred candidate might be. Participants are often required to listen to speeches from local political leaders.
  2. An Iowa caucus can last around two hours, preventing people who must work, who are sick, or who must take care of their children from casting their vote.  Plus, for this year a huge snowstorm is expected to whallop Iowa on caucus day.  Lots of people will stay home by choice and necessity.
  3. Each precinct's vote may be weighed differently due to its past voting record. Ties can be solved by picking a name out of a hat or a simple coin toss, leading to anger over the true democratic nature of these caucuses.  Additionally, the representation of the caucus has had a traditionally low turnout.  Others question the permanent feature of having caucuses in certain states, while perpetually ignoring the rest of the country.
Caucuses and primaries are children of the media, designed to whip us all into a frenzy in the guise of being interested Americans.  The only day that matters in this entire production will be in November 2016 when we all (hopefully, all) go out and exercise our rights as Americans to vote for the best person for the job.  Until then, I'm not really paying attention to what happens.