Keeping up with the caucus: Why should Iowa go first?

Vrinda Chauhan, Business Editor

With all the hype for the upcoming election, the primaries are sure to draw in more voters than ever. It seems that both parties are finally stepping up and getting serious, and just in time for the Iowa  caucus and New Hampshire primary in less than a month.

Neither Iowa nor New Hampshire are wealthy or traditionally powerful states, and yet they still have an unjust amount of power over the electorate. This begs the question: Why do those states have the opportunity to influence the elections so drastically, especially Iowa and its inability to accurately represent America?

In 1972, a new rule required a 30-day notice of the dates of caucuses and primary elections. Iowa’s electoral system is much more convoluted and lengthy than that of the other states. In order to give a 30-day notice for each caucus, Iowa had to begin planning early. By coincidence, in 1972, there were no available hotel rooms in Des Moines for the state convention originally planned in June. Because of this, the convention and caucuses was pushed back, landing the caucus in January, before New Hampshire’s primary. Back then, it made little difference, but henceforth, it has been one of the most important aspects of the elections.

Today, Iowa and New Hampshire are still able to hold such power because when the two states feel threatened, they threaten to cease syrup and ethanol production, according to an article by Politico. The two states are so adamant that have even formed laws demanding that they go first.

In 1972, Iowa and New Hampshire captured the essence of traditional  Americanism: small towns, tons of farmland, and a mostly white population. But times have changed. With Iowa making up less than one percent of the U.S. population, it makes little sense to continue allowing it to be in the position to knock out lower-tier candidates at the very beginning of the election process. Iowa can no longer represent the entirety of the country in this way. Away with all the hours poured into pandering to Iowa’s corn interests.

Moreover, neither Iowa not New Hampshire have enough ethnic diversity to represent the electorate, which dilutes a wide range of issues that America faces, especially in modern times where race and ethnicity have become such a large issues.

In fact, Iowa Republicans’ selections have been extremely inconsistent with the rest of the nation since they first took up their first-in-the-nation status. They preferred George H. W. Bush instead of Ronald Reagan; Bob Dole instead of George H. W. Bush; Mike Huckabee instead of John McCain; and Rick Santorum instead of Mitt Romney. These choices only prove that Iowa’s view of the elections and what they visualize as the next Commander-in-Chief contrasts starkly  with the rest of the nation’s.

It is simply unfair that Iowa and New Hampshire have such a dominating presence in the election process of the next president when they seem so disconnected with the issues and plight  facing the rest of the nation. Suitable replacements for the two would be California and Michigan, as both states that are quite diverse in both race and political positions. However, chances of any change in the process seem murky, as it seems that Iowa and New Hampshire have the rest of the United States in a chokehold.