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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Should we have caucuses in 2012?


when I posted this discussion I worte "This blog is suspended until the next national election but we will monitor what's going on and how the conversation turns on the importance of the Iowa caucuses and first in the nation New Hampshire primaries."

CANCEL THAT!

After my two hour visit with Bill Gardner the charming Secretary of State of New Hampshire and the "GODFATHER" of the First in the Nation Primary and defender of the First in the Nation Iowa Caucuses, I cannot stop!

As we have discussed before, we favor a set of regional primaries in 2012 that follow the first in the nation caucuses in Iowa and the New Hampshire primary. These two are great testing grounds for candidates and a great opportunity for candidates with small budgets. After that it's all media and all money!

We now know that to change the presidential selection system to one where any big block of states would shut down the remaining primary campaigns would be a political disaster.

1. It would cut most of the United States out of the exciting and necessary process of making all states stake holders in the presidential candidate selection.

2. It would give BIG MONEY candidates all the advantage and big money now is already a huge problem.

3. It would make the year of a presidential election a news dead zone with nothing to report after the quick primary process ends. This would deprive Americans of a very important opportunity to be educated and to see democracy in action.

4. NOT having caucus return night in Des Moines, Iowa would deprive the world media of THE bigest US political event besides the New Hampshire primary returns from Dixville Notch which is where the first ballts are counted around midnight. "In a tradition that started in the 1960 election, all the eligible voters in Dixville Notch gather at midnight in the ballroom of The Balsams. The voters cast their ballots and the polls officially are closed one minute later. The result of the Dixville Notch vote in both the New Hampshire primary and the general election are traditionally broadcast around the country immediately afterwards." Wikipedia got it right this time!

Folks, these are the political theatre and magic which makes politics in a democracy so wonderful. What would we do without Jese jackson in a five piece suit kissing pigs in asome small rural town. How could we like without joe Lieberman turning down a pork chop ion a stick at the iowa fair (the fact that he is jewish may have caused this odd behavior but no one has EVER gotten the presidential nomination in the USA who did not eat pork in Iowa). What would we do during the doldrums of the summer before promaries without the theatre of the Ames, iowa GOP straw poll and all the magic, mystery, esxcitement, and hype that it creates?

Therefore, we are now working on organizing a mid term (2010) forum on caucuses and primaries for the next presidential race. We will be posting details here and sending a heads up in Face Book, Twitter, and to our mailing list.

Stay tuned! This blog is about so much more than the Iowa Presidential Caucuses.

Steffen Schmidt
Dr. Politics, Iowa Public Radio Talk@12 live on Wednesdays at noon USA central time.

Also subscribe to podcasts at Iowa Public radio and download them to iTunes.