I have noted that the Iowa caucuses are so important because the world media has been convinced that ... well, the caucuses are so important.
Several of my colleagues have written about the caucuses as "media driven." Drake University professor Hugh Winebrenner is a critic of the caucuses because he argues that they are mostly media hype.
This year (2014) Senator Tom Harkin again had his famous "steak fry" in Indianola, Iowa. Bill and Hillary Clinton were the guests and Hillary was the keynote speaker. There were over ten thousand attendees and a huge gaggle of media from all over the world. One of my colleagues estimated over 500.
Read the following description of the event and you'll get a good idea of the hoopla. Hillary Clinton attending and headlining the event was like hitting a hornets nest of media. Would she declare that she's running in 2016? How would Democratic activists attending the event assess her as a candidate? Will she do better in the 2016 caucuses than she did the last time she ran for President on 2008 when she came in third after Barak Obama and John Edwards?
The media significance of the Iowa Presidential Caucuses is so huge that Iowa and Presidential Politics are associated with each other any day of the week of any year. That's true ONLY because the Iowa caucuses have become such a bright, flashing billboard on the American highway to the White House.