I’m writing this at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time (9:30 p.m. in Iowa) and it appears that the winners are Barack Obama for the Democrats and Mike Huckabee for the Republicans. I’m writing this not to comment on the winners and losers, but to defend the Iowa process.
Iowa begins the process of electing the new president, and now we move to New Hampshire. Lots of people (including my wife and sister-in-law who are commenting as I write this) believe this isn’t good because a small group of people have an undue influence on the process. That’s true in the sense that the winners in Iowa have a leg up on fundraising and media attention. Many of my fellow Californians believe that since we have the largest state population (with over 36,000,000 people) we should have a more significant say (or at least a say) in selecting our next president; as it stands now the selection may be done by the time we get to vote.
On the other hand…there is something to be said for our current system. California is such a large state that the largest fundraisers are locks for the winners. In Iowa anyone with a minimal amount of interest can meet any of the major candidates, and they can decide for themselves. There comes a saturation point where all the extra money in the world can’t change a person’s vote, and states with small populations hit that point sooner. As for me, I think the good people of Iowa study the candidates and platforms, and make reasoned choices that benefit all of us. Perhaps the voting population is not as diverse as the rest of the country but I’m willing to trade some of the diversity for the care that they give.
As I write this Barack Obama is winning for the Democratic ticket, and he is African American. African Americans comprise 2.3% of the state population; it’s clear that at least some of the 97.7% of the rest of Iowa are supporting him. Perhaps the good people of Iowa are thinking of the rest of us.
Also, Mike Huckabee beat Mitt Romney even though Romney outspent Huckabee 20 to 1.
Oh, and by the way, the phrase “on the other hand” was made famous by President Harry S Truman. He demanded to have a one armed lawyer because he was tired of hearing the phrase “on the other hand.”