I was listening to the radio in the car the other day, and the host was talking to some citizen of a small Iowa town, who said that she had not made up her mind because she had only met something like seven of the candidates in person. I understand that retail politics is charming and all that, but really?
In our modern era there always seems to be some sort of controversy in Iowa about divvying up
the spoils the delegates. In the 2012 Goat Rodeo we found out some weeks later that Frothy Santorum had actually won, and not The Willard Mechanism.
This time around the controversy was on the Dims’ side, which resulted in coin flips to determine a winner (Clinton). The state Dim Party Chairwoman says no to an audit demanded by team Sanders. At best, it would result in one more delegate on the Sanders side of the ledger.
What has become clear is that the Iowa Caucuses are really a tourism grift for that first-in-the-nation state, and hence the Des Moines Register calling for a full audit to lessen the obvious showmanship of the entire deep-fried, county-fair laden stupidity of the entire thing (and they endorsed Clinton):
What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy.
The Iowa Democratic Party must act quickly to assure the accuracy of the caucus results, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
First of all, the results were too close not to do a complete audit of results. Two-tenths of 1 percent separated Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. A caucus should not be confused with an election, but it’s worth noting that much larger margins trigger automatic recounts in other states.
Second, too many questions have been raised. Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems. Too many of us, including members of the Register editorial board who were observing caucuses, saw opportunities for error amid Monday night’s chaos.
That’s a call to defend their cash cow; the small-town lady needs to meet all 17 candidates. The political parties (as I understand it) set the sequence of primaries. It’s time for Iowa to step down. It’s just stupid to continue with them as the first primary, especially if they cannot seem to accurately count the results and assign delegates. (Added dumbness: both parties have different mechanisms for doing this, so there is not even an apples-to-apples way to determine what the hell is going on. You have to trust the Parties.)
Growing up in California, which has 20%-plus of the entire US population, it always irked me that by the time the primary came to us, so many candidates had already dropped out of the race, and we never had a chance to support them. It still seems profoundly undemocratic though I now live elsewhere.
I’ve visited Iowa several times, it is a uniquely beautiful green place; the balloon races are truly dazzling, the colorful balloons floating across that endless blue sky. The people I’ve met have been uniformly pleasant (well, that’s a lie, but in general they’ve been pleasant until they find out you are from California, and then they tell you about how you are damned and so is the entire state), and did I mention how green everything is? The point is I don’t hate Iowa, I hate the caucuses. This is inexcusable nincompoopery, and it needs to stop. Now.