Senator Clinton's accomplishment

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hillary Clinton has been the butt of many jokes because of what people see as her stubbornness in not pulling out of the race for the Democratic nomination much earlier.

We have found many of the monologues by humorists and the political cartoons amusing. We have even published some of the cartoons.

However, Hillary Clinton did a service to many voters within her party. Because of her persistence, citizens in late primary states like South Dakota and Montana, at least those who are registered as Democrats, felt that their votes were important to the nominating process.

In other years, states that are both low in population and late in the nominating process would be virtually ignored as an irrelevancy.

We, like other Iowans, would like to continue the state's position as the first state in the nation for citizens to formally participate in the nominating process. This is primarily a matter of pride. There is some economic benefit to this first in the nation status, but this benefit is actually rather tiny.

The primary economic benefit goes to broadcast media and metropolitan newspapers that receive additional advertising revenue. Newspapers like the Chronicle Times that serve small communities see almost no added advertising revenue as a result of the pre-caucus campaigns.

We understand that some citizens of other states would like Iowa to be displaced as first in the nation, not for the economic benefit but rather for the sense of pride in the state's citizens having a strong voice in the nominating process.

An argument we have made before is that some state has to be first and it seems logical to thin out the pack and get an idea of the positions of the various candidates before large blocks of delegates are committed in states like California and New York.

It would be unwieldy to rotate the states allowed to hold primaries or caucuses early, especially if the more populated states were excluded from this rotation for the reason described in the previous paragraph.

We can only hope that someone like Hilary Clinton continues to give a sense of participation in the future to citizens of the later voting states.

Otherwise, Iowa and New Hampshire could see their privileged positions taken away.