Why don't minorities get to choose the president?
Oooops, maybe Iowa was not a good
Iowa and the primary process
Thu Jun 29, 2006 at 04:43:45 PM PDT
So it was established earlier that New Hampshire rubber stamped the Iowa results in 2004, laying waste to the claim that Granite Staters were somehow better able to make decisions based on their up-close access to candidates, the so-called "retail politics" that romantics think drive decisions in Iowa and New Hampshire.
But what about Iowa? This says it all:
Iowa had roughly 2.2 million voting eligible adults in 2004, of whom (as of last month) approximately 1.9 million are considered "active" registered voters by the Iowa Secretary of State. But only 124,331 participated in the 2004 Democratic Caucuses for President (according to the subscription only Hotline). That number amounts to roughly 6% of all registered voters [...]
Six percent. Six. And we're supposed to trust Iowa with this decision because they are "more engaged" and have "experience" vetting candidates? Six percent seems to be the opposite of "engaged". Those arguments are utter bunk.
Iowa didn't decide our nominee. Six percent of registered voters in Iowa decided our nominee, a decision then rubberstamped by New Hampshire.
Put another way, 124,000 people in Iowa decided for 60 million or so Democrats who the nominee would be.
That's not a fair system. It's not a democratic system. And even though the DNC is just tinkering around the edges for 2008, it's a system that needs to be changed in subsequent cycles.
Update: Larry Sabato has a solution. There are many possible solutions, so I don't want to focus on that. What I do like is how he identifies the problem:
Why should two small, heavily white, disproportionately rural states have a hammerlock on the making of the president? Together, Iowa and New Hampshire are a mere 1.4 percent of the US population, and about 40 percent of their residents are rural—double the national proportion. Their average population of African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos is 3.6 percent, while the nation as a whole is 24.6 percent minority. Even if one assumes, incorrectly, that the two states are somehow representative of their Northeast and Midwest regions, the South and West (containing 55 percent of the country’s people) are left entirely out of the critical opening window of presidential selection [...]
Why aren't California or Florida the first states to choose the candidates? Why is California left until the end of the process.
You want to change this democracy, there ate two things which could help. One, have the first primary in a larger, more representative state. Two, change elections from Tuesday to weekend elections like they have in most countries.
posted by Steve @ 12:00:00 AM