Monday, December 5, 2011

The Iowa Caucuses: Spoofing Democracy

Here we go again. The state that brought you the Ames Poll in August now offers the next Punch-and-Judy show of the U.S. presidential campaign: the Iowa caucuses.

Merely 4,823 Iowans—that's two-tenths of 1 per cent of the statewide electorate, or 1 out of every 476 adults—decided that Michelle Bachmann was the GOP frontrunner in the Ames flim-flam that was more BBQ-in-action than democracy-in-action. Remember her?

See my previous post on Ames poll:

...and this one, too:

On January 3, if history is a guide, about 16% of the voting age population of Iowa will turn out for their respective party caucuses, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans about 2-to-1.

So, more than 8 out of 10 Iowa voters most likely won't bother to participate.

Newt Gingrich is the putative leader in the GOP field as of 30 seconds ago (see link below), with about 25% of presumed Iowa Republican caucus-goers giving him the nod. Suppose that turns out to be a good estimate.

Then we'll know on January 3 that about 1.3% of eligible Iowa voters can take credit for giving Gingrich what the news media will describe as a huge campaign boost in his quest to be President of the United States.

Folks, this ain't the way democracy is supposed to work.

The Iowa caucuses do make for good entertainment as the cable news talking heads do their thing.

But, as political process, the Iowa caucuses are a faulty mash-up of tripe and partisanship and outrageous ad spending, and precious little voter participation. The credulous media coverage trivializes the policy issues we must resolve, and misinforms the American public.

This is de-mock-racy in action. Not a pretty picture. Make sure you vote next November in the real election.

The Washington Post on Iowa caucus outlook:

Gingrich in the lead with 1.3%

The Iowa caucus process:

...more on the Iowa caucus process:

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