Once again, a couple hundred thousand mostly white, mostly conservative, mostly religious caucus-goers in tiny, rural Iowa cast votes and steered the 2016 election all out of proportion with their place in the United States – which most of the time is in a backwater corner of the nation. And let’s not forget that the Iowans are also angry. The New York Times interviewed 71 year old Esther Toney who exclaimed, “Oh, I’m very angry. I’m extremely angry. We’ve got politicians that are just there for their own gain. They should be thinking about how they can make our lives better. And they don’t.” She went on to seethe, “They vote on things to support their PACs or whoever gave them money.” Given that Iowans benefit tremendously from government boondoggles like undeserved farm subsidies and the ridiculous ethanol mandate (because of the very things she excoriates) Esther’s anger seems a bit misplaced. But hey, being the first state to vote – every fucking election cycle – is a cross the Iowans must bear to save another state from having their issues heard and attended to by every presidential wannabee.
People have groused forever about the inanity and unfairness of giving Iowa and another bush-league state, New Hampshire the first votes. No point in rehashing all that here. How about a recommendation for change?
Why not create five partitions of the country made up of the 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, and the four U.S. Territories – each partition roughly equal in population, and made up of a mix of states in different geographic regions. We’d have five primaries that would take place on the first Tuesdays of February through June. And every four years, a different partition of states and territories would go first – rotating around until every one got a shot at being first.
An example of a partition might consist of Texas (big, South), Pennsylvania (big, mid-Atlantic), Tennessee (medium, Appalachian), North Dakota (small, mid-west), New Mexico (medium, Southwest), Maine (small, New England), Kansas (small, Heartland), Minnesota (medium, Great Lakes), Colorado (medium, Rockies), Alaska (small, out there), and Guam (small, territory). That’s ten states and a territory with a combined population of about 66 million, or one-fifth of the U.S. population. People in these states would vote first in 2020, second in 2024, etc. until they voted first again in 2040.
Candidates would be forced to address a variety of national and local issues. And they wouldn’t have to pander so much to corn-belt cretins. Just the thought of eating something besides corn-dogs washed down with a pint of ethanol has got to be appealing. Furthermore, decent candidates of more than one-dimension could survive longer.
I know this type of sensible set-up would never happen because the parties are too timid to offend the tiny front-loaded states. And deep down, the circus that accompanies the run up to the Iowa caucuses drives a shit-load of money into advertising, polling and campaign coffers.
Besides, everyone knows Iowans have tremendous clairvoyance when it comes to choosing the party’s eventual nominees, like such presidential timber as Dick Gephardt, Tom Harkin, Bob Dole, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.
Ominous Prediction from the Groundhog
Yesterday – Groundhog Day – Punxatauney Phil made a stunning prediction: next year, with President Cruz in office, we’ll see six more years of nuclear winter.