About Iowa

I don’t give a fig about the Iowa Caucus. I really don’t.

See, it’s not an actual primary, it’s nonsense held nearly a year in advance that does nothing but extend the circus, and honestly it’s not even particularly good at telling us who’s going to get the nod. McCain got 4th in 2008, and Huckabee won in a landslide. This is a case of the “sporting event” nature of the process rather than actual political advancement.

We’re going to start hearing about “momentum”, as though that were a valid notion when it comes to elections. The idea is that this person or that will be “coming off a win in Iowa” and so that’ll get the people in subsequent primaries and caucuses (cauci? Cock-eye?) biased towards that candidate and against others. I’m in Pennsylvania, and in 2008 by the time they got to us, half of the candidates had been eliminated entirely.

The election doesn’t work that way. They don’t start voting in one state and meander around until they’re finished. Why? It would render early states incredibly powerful and later ones relatively meaningless. The earlier a state contributes to a nomination or an election, the bigger their ripple effect on the rest. The last five or ten are almost unnecessary if some candidates have taken an insurmountable lead.

Sometimes I do wonder what our elections would have looked like over the generations if primaries were a one-shot deal, or if candidates were chosen by Congress or the respective national committees. As it stands, I look at things like Iowa more with a sad shake of the head than excitement, and this is true for both parties.

Not to mention the fact that it only further emphasizes the two-party nature of the election. Since the only “party nominations” we go for are red and blue, it just highlights the fact that we only give a rat’s ass about Democrats and Republicans. By the time the actual election happens, our nominees from the two parties have been lofted up to monolithic status, meanwhile any others trying to squeak in are such afterthoughts in the media’s coverage that their presence seems almost silly. The winners of nominations get such gigantic press that if you aren’t part of the two-sided battle, you might as well not be there at all.

That all said, I think it’d be awesome if Rick Perry got 3rd, just to say “1st was Ron Paul, 2nd was Romney, and 3rd was… the other one.”


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