Iowa Caucuses: Don’t Believe the Hype!

Let me get this right: You are allowing, Newt Gingrich, a belligerent, bigoted, ethically challenged, hypocritical adulterer lecture you on morals and work ethics? LOL! I mean, this guy was found to be in violation of ethics in Washington, DC— the most ethically-challenged piece of real estate in the known universe! I need to become a politician…

Speaking of the Newt, these days you can’t turn on the TV machine without hearing some bullshit nonsense about the upcoming Iowa presidential caucuses and a lot of speculation about the “king maker” Iowa caucuses being so important.

But really… how important are they? A look at the historical record tells a different story, not that the mainstream idiots, intent on reporting on elections as if they were horse races, would ever tell you.

From a historical perspective, the Iowa caucuses are meaningless for both sides of the political fence. Though the Iowa caucuses have been making front page newspaper headlines across the nation since 1972 (The winning Democrat that year was Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie and he wasn’t nominated), they are a poor predictor of who becomes the nominee, let alone the president.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter won Iowa in January and in November nationwide. In 1984 the winner was former Vice President Walter Mondale. Remember him? He was nominated but was humiliated in the general election.

In 1988, Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt won but wasn’t nominated. Ditto Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin in 1992.

As for 1980 and 1996, both Democratic winners of the caucus in those years were presidential incumbents, Mr. Carter and Bill Clinton. Mr. Clinton won the presidency; Mr. Carter lost in November to Ronald Reagan.

In 2000, Vice President Al Gore won there and was nominated but lost in November. In 2004, the same happened to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. In 2008, Obama, on his way to the presidency, won the Iowa caucus.

On the Republican side, only one Iowa caucus winner out of five since 1976 (excluding incumbents) went on to win the presidency: George W. Bush in 2000.

Going My Way?

So, based on the historical evidence (and leaving aside elections where there was an incumbent president), on Jan. 4 the front page headline on the story should read: “Wins Iowa Democratic Caucus/ Means Less Than Shit.”

Clearly, there’s less to victory in Iowa than many politicians and pundits would have us believe. And the big states — with many more delegates in the national conventions and many more electoral votes than Iowa — are fed up with the state’s inflated role in the electoral process.

Caucuses are rapidly becoming a leftover of obsolete politics anyway. Almost all states have switched to primaries, which get more ink. Twice as many states today will have primaries as in 1972, when Iowa first put its caucus on some front pages. And many of those states that used to pick delegates in March, April, even June, have scheduled much earlier selections. When Maryland votes Feb. 12, Republicans in 29 states and Democrats in 32 will have already voted.

Nevertheless, if Newtie wins the Iowa caucus this election cycle you can be sure the 24/ 7 corporate-owned news cycle will devote more ink and airtime to it than ever before.

The Iowa caucuses, like much in contemporary American elections, don’t make much sense. They never did. But, like much of what is wrong with American elections, it won’t go away nicely.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…