Ah, early February. The sun is on the verge of shining. The birds are still wintering in Boca, and the nation’s attention focuses on my home state of Iowa because, for a little while, it becomes the center of the American political universe. Front-runners, also-rans, and never-should-have-been-allowed-to-runs show up in big cities, small towns, and various eateries in an attempt to persuade potential caucusers to support them.
And after the votes are counted, they disappear like Bill Clinton’s pants at a sorority sleepover.
As a native Iowan, I wanted to give a bit of insight into the caucuses, especially from the standpoint of the Left, who aren’t fans of the state or the caucuses in general.
the Iowa Caucuses
What the Left thinks it means – a pointless venture that eliminates potential Presidential candidates before more important states get a chance to vote
What it really means – an excuse to pretend to give a damn about Iowa every 4 years
As a native, I can tell you Iowa isn’t exactly the epicenter of excitement, especially for people who don’t come here on a regular basis. The media tend to treat Iowa like an undiscovered country where they are the ones to make first contact. Coming from people who refer to Iowa as “flyover country,” it’s not surprising. The Left doesn’t like people who aren’t from the upper East Coast or the West Coast, and it comes out in how they try to approach people like me to get statements for their fluff pieces masquerading as hard news.
Once you get beyond the media coverage and the Leftist derision, the Iowa Caucuses are a pretty interesting dichotomy in how the two major parties operate. The Republicans gather in their precincts, hear from supporters of different candidates, hold votes for the candidates, elect delegates to the next level of the party nomination process, maybe vote on planks for the state party platform, verify who will submit the results to the party, and adjourn. The process usually takes an hour or two depending on the contentiousness of the debates, which is to say they’re as contentious as an IBM management meeting. It’s focused, allows for discussion, and efficient.
For the Democrats…let’s just say herding cats is more structured than their process. They get together in a room and gather in groups depending on who they favor. After some candidates are eliminated due to lack of viability, the other groups can persuade the supporters of the “non-viable” candidates to caucus with their candidates. This process can go on for hours because sometimes it can take quite a lot of cajoling to get someone caucusing for a candidate to get him or her to switch teams.
On a side note, I’m surprised that doesn’t cause more chaos given how emotional Leftists get. I mean, if you spent months canvasing for Joe Blow only to have Joe not win the nomination, how likely would you be to put your full support behind one of Joe’s opponents? And on the other side of the equation, how pissed would you be if you did the same for Joe’s opponent and to have to give up a delegate spot to someone who didn’t support your candidate from the jump? (And for the record, this is typically what happens on the Democrat side to secure a “viable” nominee gets proper representation.)
And remember, kids, these are the same people who want the government to provide for us because they think we’re too dumb to look out for ourselves.
Underneath the shaking hands and kissing babies is a media whose job it is to cover the campaign for people outside of Iowa. And make no mistake, I would say most of the media folks hate being here. Granted, when they come here it’s usually cold, windy, and snowy, so it’s hard to put our best foot forward without getting frostbite. Even so, with the kind of attitude Leftists give off, it’s not unusual for Iowans to still be friendly and genuine. That can be off-putting for someone who is used to having to be wary of people who will stab them in the back, figurative and possibly literally. This happened to a friend of mine from New York City who came to cover the Iowa Caucuses for a website I used to run many many years ago and she was struck by how nice everyone was. And before you knew it, she and her husband moved to St. Louis and are now enjoying the Midwest niceness.
Maybe that’s why the media think we’re uneducated rubes. In their cynical minds, no one can be that honest about their intentions, so it’s obvious we’re the defective ones and we need the Left to tell us what to think and do because that’s what they do! But here’s the thing: Iowans are what we are and we’re smarter than you think. Granted, it can be argued the Democrats’ caucus structure proves otherwise, but that’s the outlier here.
Along with the condescending Leftist attitude, there’s an idea in Leftist circles that the Iowa Caucuses shouldn’t be first in the nation because it prevents bigger states like California from voting for who they want when it gets to be their turn. They also mention Iowa is mostly white and doesn’t represent the diversity of the country, so naturally Iowa isn’t a good place to start a Presidential campaign. Try telling that to campaign financiers. For all of its faults, Iowa has media markets that are far cheaper than the media markets just in one community. And, if you really think about it, the sheer expense of running a single 30 second ad on a TV station in, say, Los Angeles would prevent other states from voting for who they want because it would knock out or prevent lower-tier candidates from getting votes.
Funny how the Left doesn’t think about that, isn’t it?
This year, the Iowa Caucuses are going to be a chance for Democrats to showcase their clown car of candidates, while the Republicans should be able to go home early. And after the confetti and the parties, the campaigns and media move towards New Hampshire and Iowa becomes a political afterthought until Election Night.
And you know…that’s the way we like it.