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“the iowa scam” January 3, 2008

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, news, politics.
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i would rather have all the states vote in primaries on ONE day than supposedly give lesser known candidates an opportunity to campaign in a smaller state and gain momentum. if we started over today there is no doubt that no one would push for this as the ideal nomination process. you can argue that it’s harder for an unestablished candidate to run a national campaign, but it’s also A LOT easier for an established candidate to run one that’s catering to approx 150,000 people. it’s also undemocratic and a terrible way to choose a presidential candidate, as christopher hitchens puts it… (“the mechanics of caucusing” at tnr)

christopher hitchens at slate:

Every now and then, in the avalanche of tripe coverage that is provided by a mass media that (never forget) is the direct beneficiary of the huge outlays of money the candidates make, a sentence of ordinary truth shines through. Thus the following, from the bended-knee profile of Mike Huckabee, by Zev Chafets in the New York Times Magazine, describing events in the last week in October, when:

[T]he Hawkeye Poll of the University of Iowa was published. Huckabee had 13 percent, in a virtual tie with Rudy Giuliani for second place, behind Mitt Romney with 36. At that point, the Huckabee bandwagon didn’t seem all that amazing to Iowa veterans. “Actually, it is pretty straightforward,” said Prof. David Redlawsk, director of the University of Iowa’s Hawkeye Poll. “About 45 percent of 85,000 or so Republican caucus voters are evangelical Christians. Roughly half of them automatically vote for the most socially conservative candidate in the race, and it looks like they have decided that’s Huckabee. The other half can be won over, too—if they think he’s electable.”

The term of choice for the more thoughtful reporters, in describing the Iowa rules, is “arcane.” Kurtz used it, as did his colleague Dan Balz, in briefly telling the truth about the even more scandalous situation on the Democratic side:

With its arcane caucus rules, Iowa remains a small battlefield. Only 124,000 Democrats voted last time, less than a quarter of those eligible. So if Barack Obama, say, edges Hillary Clinton by 2,000 votes, he’ll be hailed in headlines as a giant-killer despite the tiny margin.

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