It’s that time of the election cycle again. When you live in Iowa you’re subjected to call after call, door knock after door knock, ad after ad, etc. Your mailbox is constantly flooded with large postcards with pictures of some candidate looking stern in a flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up, listening intently to the deepest concerns of a couple of actors dressed like the typical Iowan.
Last time around there was a period of a couple of weeks where I would get called no less than once a day by the Ron Paul campaign to ask a question I already answered (if I was going to the Straw Poll – and I even bought tickets from them). Then they would call and say they needed help with the phones. One day I snapped and told them that no they fucking didn’t need help because they were able to call so much and they stopped calling after that.
This year I just got a few bullshit postcards and about half a dozen calls from some smarmy Jeff Spicoli-sounding millennials asking if I was going to go to some Rand Paul event. No thanks. I was a little upset that I didn’t get the Donald Trump postcard that everyone else seemed to get.
I did get held up in traffic by a Sanders rally though. I’m notorious for getting to work with about 90 seconds to spare, so every little bit matters. I left a few minutes early one day and in downtown they blocked off the street so all the Sanders supports could march with their drums and banners into Wells Fargo Arena and hear him speak. While my attitude towards him and his supporters is usually something like “Oh, that’s cute…” I was screaming with rage about these communist cocksuckers that day. I did make it to work with a few seconds to spare after some speeding and running. Way to fuck over the working man, Bernie.
Usually there’s a lot of good free entertainment (either actual entertainment, celebrity spotting or just policy wonk kinda stuff). One year I saw Chuck Berry play at a John Edwards rally and one year I saw Joan Jett play in a tiny coffeehouse for Howard Dean. This year I didn’t hear about anything that interesting happening.
So it has me thinking… Is the media/political establishment already downplaying the Iowa Caucus as a proactive measure to shrug off the (very real) possibility of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump winning? It seems like both parties (and the people at top that control them both!) have held their cards close on this one….they haven’t completely written it off, so if Hilary and/or Cruz whens they can still use it to their advantage. But if Sanders/Trump wins, they can easily go down the “Iowa doesn’t matter” route” without going back on much.
Each year there’s always some talk about how something is wrong with the Iowa Caucus, usually that the state is too white to represent the rest of the country (we’re currently in the high 80’s percentage wise) or sometimes they’ll point to the high numbers of evangelicals (which probably isn’t that much higher than the nation as a whole, just a lot more than in New York City where the complaints come from). Then they also point out a dismal record of Iowa picking the actual winner – I don’t know the numbers on this, but like most figures you can take what you want out of it. Realistically the Iowa Caucus shouldn’t be seen as something that picks *the* winner, but it really narrows down the field and shatters some illusions on who is viable and who isn’t going forward. If you can’t manage to run through a fairly small state and talk to “folks” at a couple dozen Pizza Ranch franchises and pick up some double digit support, you’re probably fucked nation-wide.
Anyways, I predict the hit pieces on Iowa will start rolling out tomorrow (Monday, 1/25) about how the results won’t matter because of aggressive ground campaigns in a small state don’t reflect feelings nationwide (Sanders), these people are too white, etc. Then when/if Trump/Sanders wins, they’ll really, really, really come out and we’ll see articles about how “well, this is just the final nail in Iowa’s coffin!” and a lot of patronizing Trump-shaming (just made that up!) from the usual suspects in New York City.
Honestly, I’m looking forward to all the “shame on you!” editorials from all sides of the fence if we do pick Der Trumpenfuhrer. They can all eat a dick and there’s a reason why people would go down the Trump route and that reason is because virtually everyone else “in the establishment” (media, politics) is so fucking god awful that we want a guy that sneers at them too.
On the Sanders note, I think that the Hilary creating the aura of “I’m already the candidate” has fucked her and it will backfire in Iowa. Even if people like her, who will want to venture out from in front of the TV and into the cold to pick the “clear winner”? Bernie’s people will come out. They’re polling pretty close. It’s easy to answer a poll, it takes a little more work to leave the house.
The way the Democrats do their caucus is a little different than the Republicans here… it’s almost kind of a last man standing thing. So if there’s an even split between Hilary and Bernie and a couple O’Malley people, their group gets broken up and then they have to go choose another candidate to stand with. His couple percent could be very interesting! I’d imagine you would go for him if you think Bernie’s a socialist loon and Hilary is well, Hilary.
I also predict that both parties have a plan B in the way of making sure that delegates to represent the individual caucuses get picked that support one of the more legitimate candidates. The results of the caucus goes to the county and state party conventions. The delegate doesn’t necessarily have to vote for the person their caucus picked. The Ron Paul folks tried this strategy and the state GOP nearly shit their pants when they figured out what was going on.
So I’ll say that if you’re a Bernie or Trump supporter, make sure that the delegate is someone from your camp.
Me personally I probably won’t be participating. I have to work. It is likely that I could get off early that night, but I’d feel kind of silly missing half a day for it. I want to see how Trump’s candidacy plays out in the discussions before voting….and the caucuses really are a good time to meet people in your immediate area.
I would vote for Trump (*gasp!!!*) Yeah, I know. Wow, just wow. I can’t even. While I don’t completely trust the guy or believe that he can really change things, I do like the main tenants of his policy – economic populism and curbing immigration. No, we’re not going to get Mexico to build a wall and honestly I think Islamic immigration to the United States isn’t really *that* big of an issue. I live in an urban area and rarely see a Middle Eastern Muslim in my day-to-day life. We have scarier people lurking among us already and realistically I’m probably several times more likely to be harmed by Hispanic immigrants than Islamic immigrants.
Anyways, we’ll see how this plays out when/if the non-acceptable candidates win. While I don’t support Bernie, I’ll say good luck to those guys. At the very least I appreciate that he’ll bring up some issues and views outside of mainstream politics