The Calendar and Common Sense Conspire Against the Iowa Caucuses

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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6 Responses

  1. Michael Cain says:

    In this era where it’s hard to avoid the steady drumbeat of the urban-vs-rural theme, it seems worth pointing out that all of IA, NH, and SC are in the top third of the “most rural” states using the Census Bureau’s current definition. None of them are representative of how un-rural the United States’ population has become.Report

  2. Saul Degraw says:

    I think in general, we would be much better with shorter campaign seasons. Most other countries seem to do their election campaigns in a matter of months. Since the United States is often the country of “and this is why we can’t have nice things”, it seems like it is impossible to get this. Trump’s rise was helped by a long primary campaign in 2015-2016. All the primaries should be on the same day. It should be a weekend or a holiday. It should be in March and campaigning should not be allowed to start until January 2 of that year.

    This will never happen.Report

    • Not my own original thought many have suggested it, but a one-day national primary on the already existing President’s Day (get it, President’s Day…Branding is already built in) holiday the third Monday of February would work for that purpose. Like you said, never happen but if the will was there would not be that hard to do.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        I’m not sure that would be a good thing because it would produce less information that’s useful in subsequent adjustments, as people evaluate how the race is evolving. Voters are not just picking their favorite candidate, they’re trying to figure out who other voters will support. So despite the flaws in the geographic and demographic sample sets, having a time series of snapshots does seem to shift the field around a bit. If also allows the candidates to re-adjust their message, hone their approach, and in some cases dig deep as they try to pull out an upset.

        And then all that data is taken into consideration at the nominating convention, where in theory the parties look at how many delegates each candidate got, take into account the shifts in the campaign since the early primaries took place (winning Iowa doesn’t carry a lot of weight for candidates who flame out later) and then they produce a nominee.

        One of the advantages of the messy system is that weeds out candidates who seemed like a shoe in but who few people really supported, like Jeb, Howard Dean, and countless others who were convinced they could go all the way, who the press assumed would rocket to the top, but who just fell on their faces when it came to getting votes.Report

  1. January 15, 2020

    […] the State of the Union, and with impeachment set to dominate all the news for the next few weeks Iowa just doesn’t matter that much. There is no Barack Obama in this race who is going to vault to the front, and we will be in […]Report

  2. January 30, 2020

    […] spent an outsized portion of the last year gladhanding the fine folks of the Hawkeye state. With this year’s festivities sandwiched between the Super Bowl, the State of the Union — and with the background noise of […]Report