Let's take the caucuses in stride

Monday, December 21, 2015

Generally, Iowans like the attention the state gets for more than a year out of every four when presidential candidates of one or both major parties descend on the state to get support from potential attendees of the Iowa caucuses, the first in the series of caucuses and primaries that decide national convention delegates.

With every election cycle, there are those who claim that Iowa does not deserve the honor.

Our highly rural and mostly white population is not representative of the demographics of the rest of the country. A winner in Iowa does not necessarily win his or her party's nomination. Sometimes the complaint accompanies a warning that the privilege should be conditional on Iowa not supporting the "wrong" candidate in the caucuses.

In defense of Iowa's role, it makes sense to have the initial contests in relatively low-population states. This gives an opportunity for lesser known candidates to make a case to the voters directly and it provides voters in the states with high delegate numbers more time to evaluate the field.

However, if the privilege is taken away from us or if candidates decide to ignore Iowa in the future, we should simply accept that without anger or anxiety.

The economic benefit of the political activity in the state is minimal, especially in rural areas like Cherokee County. Even a top tier candidate coming through the county has little more impact than a few convenience store purchases.

Presidential candidates spend most of their advertising dollars on broadcast media, with very little spent on print media and approximately zero dollars spent at newspapers like the Chronicle Times.

Candidates are welcome to come to Iowa, but if they choose not to, that's OK too.