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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Caucus this

What do you have in common with Iowans? Or is it Iowians? You know, those folks who pretty much decide every four years who the next president is going to be, or at the very least who YOUR two choices for president will be. Yes, that Iowa .

According the latest U.S. Census Bureau reports, Iowa has 2.9 million residents, roughly about 1 percent of the U.S. population. They have 93,000 farms that grow corn, soybeans and hogs – lots of hogs. Almost half of all Iowa residents live in rural areas. Only 21 percent of Iowa residents have a college degree.

John Wayne, Herbert Hoover and Glenn Miller are all from the Hawkeye state. The nickname is a tribute to Native American leader Chief Black Hawk.

Almost 95 percent of Iowa residents list “white” as their race, and the median household income is $44,000 a year, near the bottom of the U.S. Census’ definition of “middle class” (20 percent of Americans who fall in the middle earning $40,000 - $95,000 a year.)

So what do you have in common with the people who play a big role in electing your president?

Maybe nothing. Maybe a lot. But still why do most Americans “follow their lead” when it comes to presidential candidates? That’s right if a candidate wins in Iowa or New Hampshire – they are likely to go on to win their party’s nomination. Heck, just look at what happened with John Kerry in 2003.

Clearly most people are tired of it. State legislatures are trampling over each other to see who can schedule an earlier primary. But then there’s those pesky “national” folks who are trying to ruin everyone’s fun.

The Democratic National Convention just smacked Florida Democrats for saying they are going to hold their primary on Jan. 29, the same day as South Carolina . The DNC says if Florida holds the election that day, their delegates won’t count. That’s right, they WON’T count toward the Democratic nomination. Never mind that Democrats, who haven’t controlled either house of the Florida Legislature for some time, had little to do with setting the primary. Never mind, that a major constitutional amendment is on the ballot that day, sure to bring more voters to the polls. It won’t count.

Why? Well, because those national folks like tradition. And, tradition says only folks who live on a farm, with no college degree, in the Midwest can make a bigger splash in the presidential election. It’s in the rules. (Now, don't go all nutty about that last bit. I have friends who live in Iowa, and I like farmers. My dad was a farmer.)

Me, I’ve decided I might just vote for whoever comes in third, fourth or maybe even last in Iowa ’s caucuses.


Anonymous said...

Bravo! I'm also getting tired of the South having inordinate power over the presidential nomination. We need democracy now. Kill the electoral college.

Gina said...

I'd love to see the Electoral College go, along with the protracted nonsense of the primary season and campaigns that now last two years.

Many countries take a saner route: a first-round national election, and then a national runoff. And just a couple of months to campaign. The serious candidates come to the fore much sooner, and the voters are pretty much forced to get off their duffs and learn about the issues and candidates in a concentrated amount of time, rather than ignore the whole thing for months on end only to rush into the booths in November and cast a vote that's often based on nothing more than a tired party line.

I'd love to see a two-stage national election system here. But it won't happen in my lifetime, and I'm not confident it'll happen in the next generation. The national folks like tradition, almost as much as they like all the old-timey grandstanding. Trouble is, more and more people in the actual nation have had it with this stuff.

Anonymous said...

cissy: i am a journalist and a journalism teacher. would you please provide to me your email so i can send you something (concerning thre profession), on email in private.
stephen flanagan jackson (search under yahoo, google and lycos)

CISSY said...

J-- Hmmm, last I heard N.H. was in the North. It's those dang yankees who have all the power. :) Want some sweet tea?

G - Yep. Mention election reform and someone's bound to mention how our system is better than everybody else's -- 2000 notwithstanding.

Mr. Flanagan: I don't give my personal email out to people I don't know. I googled, I sort of know who you might be, but I have no idea why you would want to send me anything. Send me your number at your office and I might call -- no promises.

Scott said...

I guess the questions on my mind are: 1) Are you a registered Democrat, and 2) Are you planning to vote in the Florida Democratic primary? If you are, then you're still doing more to influence the outcome of the presidential election than the majority of Americans are.

If you're neither, what do you care if Iowa holds the first primary or not?

Just playing devil's advocate. Not defending the system (heck, let's throw all the bums out!)

CISSY said...

Scott: Ummm. Yep. Always have been. But to be fair the GOP is slapping the state upside its proverbial head too. The GOP is losing 50 percent of it's delegates from Florida. Now candidates are signing pledges not to campaign in early primary states other than New Hampshire or Iowa. I seriously doubt that's how "God wanted it to be." If a candidate chooses to ignore an entire state of voters that could well mean the election in November 2008, well, then...they won't get my vote.