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Why pay attention to Iowa at all? Iowans don't.

ASK THIS | January 06, 2012

With the entire country watching (or at least the entire news media), fewer than 20 percent of Iowa Republicans showed up to vote on Jan. 3. With such a scant turnout, why should anyone pay attention to the results? And, asks Gilbert Cranberg, shouldn’t party leaders consider dropping Iowa from the lead-off spot?

By Gilbert Cranberg

It’s time for the country to quit lavishing attention on Iowa’s precinct caucuses. After all, if Iowans themselves pay them little heed, why shouldn’t the rest of us follow suit?

Let’s do the numbers: 641,000 Iowa Republicans registered to vote; 122,255 voted in the caucuses. At the ballyhooed Jan. 3 event, caucus night, more than 80 percent of Iowa Republicans were no-shows. So coming in essentially tied for first, as Romney and Santorum did, meant that – ready for this? – each got the support of fewer than 5 percent of registered Republicans statewide. Not exactly an endorsement. Ron Paul was close to that but the rest of the field got hardly more than zero percent each and still weren't far behind. 

This despite large numbers of candidates honeycombing the state for months. And the press devoting tons of space and time to cover them, much of it unfortunately superficial. Witness the clueless letter to the editor of the Jan. 5 New York Times: “Despite the many challenges we face here at home and around the world, the good people of Iowa did their civic duty…Every American regardless of party affiliation, is the beneficiary of their citizen activism. Job well done.” Ha!

Political bosses around the country need to lay down the law to Iowa’s politicians: Either get voting at your caucuses up to respectable levels or you will be kicked out of the leadoff spot. It’s not rocket science. Just expanding voting hours and allowing absentee voting would boost voter participation significantly. If Iowa politicians balk, candidates and the press should take their business elsewhere.

Iowa’s precinct caucuses are over-hyped and under-attended. It’s long past time for them to be brought into better balance.


Posted by ACitizen
01/09/2012, 04:50 PM

Personally I am amazed that any American can sit through any candidates speech without their head exploding. Every word is lies and BS. I can't even watch the news anymore it is so greasy.

Turnout is not the issue
Posted by Don Greenwood
01/17/2012, 03:27 PM

Registered party voter turnout should not be the acid test for Iowa to always be the lead state for the GOP.

It would be fairer for the party and the nation in general if the lead spot in the primaries was rotated year to year, to allow other states to have a stake in weeding out the candidates.

The current setup truly distorts what has always been a warped and non-representative political process.

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