Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Caucus Grinch

If your house and your family is anything like mine, your Christmas isn't over today-in fact the celebration of Christmas in our home and amongst various family members will continue at some level for several days. There won't be anything quite like yesterday or Christmas Eve, with the huge meals along with the money and gifts everyone gave and received, but there will continue to be eating, drinking, merry-making, and even some gifts in the coming days. Right in the midst of their holiday happiness, folks up in Iowa are finding that this year they need to be concerned with presidential politics.

Turnout is key in any vote-getting operation, but in a caucus such as Iowa turnout is even more essential, Caucus-goers must commit to being at a specified place and at a specified time during the day (usually the evening), and they will be there for an hour or two caucusing. People who are committed to their candidates are the ones who will take the time out of their busy day to show up and participate, and that generally means that the electorate in such a contest is much more well-informed group of people who are invested in their respective communities, their parties, and the political process. I have always been of the opinion that nominees for offices such as President of the United States or Governor should be chosen by caucus and convention and not by Primary for that very reason-the leading nominees of a party should be chosen by the true believers, and the true believers would be willing to take an hour or two to show up and vouch for their man or woman on Caucus night.

Iowa has had January Caucuses for a number of years now, so it can be expected that cold weather has been a factor in the past and will always be an obstacle to turnout in Iowa. This is the earliest that voting in a Caucus that has ever taken place in that State, however, and the weather may not be the only thing that keeps the numbers down. Although many Iowans have left the State in recent years, it has always been representative of a good cross-section of the American electorate, and this season the American electorate have indicated that they are already worn by the presidential process starting so early. With the campaigning in Iowa already underway now for months, the campaigns have become the Grinch that stole Christmas for many people in the Hawkeye State and around the country. Iowans have handled winter much better than they may handle Christmas being interrupted by a bunch of out-of-State politicians.

If enough Iowans believe their Caucus crashed their Christmas, it may translate into lower-than-normal turnout on January 3rd, and that would most definately impact the results.

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At Thursday, December 27, 2007 10:23:00 AM, Blogger A. Renee Daley said...

No, you can thank all the other states who can't stand the fact that Iowa has ALWAYS been first in this whole process.

They are the true Grinches who stole Christmas from the Hawkeye State.

But what would I know. I just lived there for 26 years.

At Thursday, December 27, 2007 9:05:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I have never had any problem with Iowa going first-in fact I am very much in favor of keeping that tradition alive, so I am not sure where you are getting it from that I have a problem with Iowa going first.

I have a problem with the Primary/Caucus schedule in all States being so early and so front-loaded. If the polls are any indication, so do most people. There is a lot of voter apathy this year, and people are listing the early campaigning as the chief reason why.


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