Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa Caucuses

First off let me start by saying that the Iowa Caucus is an elitist and undemocratic process. If you want to participate you have to be there at a specific time and your vote might not count as much as somebody from another precinct. So if your job won't allow you to get away tomorrow evening, or you're serving our country in Iraq, well I guess that's just too damn bad and you don't count. People are disappointed at the 30% turnout we get here in the municipal elections but the Iowa Caucus turns out about 5% of registered voters - pathetic. On the Democratic side it's not even a secret ballot and if your chosen candidate doesn't get 15% of the vote then he's eliminated and you get to choose again. It's ridiculous.

Having said that, it's going to be interesting to watch to see if Huckabee can go from worst to first and pull out the victory. Readers may remember months ago when I went out on a limb and predicted Huckabee would win the GOP nomination despite barely registering in the polls. I did this because I thought his populist rhetoric coupled with his Christian Conservative credentials would give primary voters a distinct choice.

Recently it looked like Huckabee was soaring to an easy victory in Iowa but then the Republican machine decided he wasn't "their guy". The old Republican guard began sniping at him while Romney unleashed a barrage of negative ads. Like usual, they worked and Huckabee has been trailing off enough over the past couple weeks to make tomorrow night's result a toss-up.

I always say there are two types of people in politics, those who are in it for the government service and those who are in it for the competition. What Huckabee is finding out (although he probably already knows this) is that you need both to be successful. He needs a machine of supporters that can hit back when Romney attacks him because Nice Guy Huck can't win - the old guard simply won't allow it.

The significance of tomorrow's results are that if Romney loses and goes on to lose New Hampshire to McCain (he likely would) then he might very well be toast. Yet if he pulls out a victory in Iowa then he would be the front runner from there on out. I mean who else is going to compete? Thompson? Guiliani? They're done. Ron Paul? A 3rd place finish would keep him alive but anything worse would make it difficult to go forward. I haven't been paying as much attention to the Democratic side because frankly it's not as interesting. The only real significance I see is that if Edwards loses then he's probably done.

Don't forget to checkout Pat McAlister of Political Equinox, Fort Wayne's local blogger on the ground covering the event. And as a fellow political junkie I'll be watching the coverage of the event but as a populist I think it's a farce...


Craig said...

I like Duncan Hunter, but he's not going to win anything. Not that I would ever vote for him, I'm not a Republican, but if I were I'd probably vote for him. He seems the most genuine of anybody.

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

The entire primary season is a farce. Indiana is one of the last states to hold its primary - only 10 are left by that time. We just don't count when it comes to selecting the nominee.

All states should count in selecting the nominee, not just a precious few.

And, the fact that millions and millions of dollars are spent on "buying" the White House is also ridiculous. Give them all a budgeted amount by reforming campaign financing laws, and make them work with that. Maybe then we would get some good people to run who currently can't because of funding and the ability to raise money.

Yeh, I know, the free speech issue rears its head when you start clamping down on funding and contributions. But whose free speech? As far as I can tell, it is the big money players who get the most benefit from the free speech argument.

I donated a couple of times to the Edwards campaign for a total of $50. Even though I know it was probably appreciated, it doesn't carry the weight of some of the donations made by the corporate world through interest groups.

Oh, and one more thing as long as I am on a roll, get rid of the electoral college. If the mismatch between the popular vote and the electoral vote has only occurred four times in our history (2000 being one of them), then why have that unnecessary step? Let the popular vote control, then we wouldn't have to worry about the Bush-Gore issue that occurred in 2000.

Robert Enders said...

Jeff, Iowa doesn't matter any more than any other state! So Hillary came in third. Her husband came in third in Iowa 16 years ago.

Jeff Pruitt said...

Sorry Robert but Iowa matters much more than some states - including Indiana as Charlotte points out...

Luis said...

I agree with all above that Iowa matters much more than other states.

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