OK, now we know. Romney/Santorum won the Republican Iowa caucuses.
It looks like a mere 122,00 of the GOP faithful (and maybe a few ringers) went to their Iowa precinct meetings last night and put---you take your pick: Mitt Romney, 30,015 votes or Rick Santorum, 30,007 votes---in the lead for the Republican presidential nomination. Onward to New Hampshire, right? No one knows if the Iowa results have any meaning for New Hampshire or for the coming November election.
Just to make it easier, let's say "Romney won."
(You can read "Santorum won" if it makes you feel better).
Washington Post reports "Romney edges Santorum"
It makes me queasy to think that the TV talking heads are off and running with their lead story about "Romney on the way for GOP nomination," based on the ballots cast last night by about ONE-HUNDREDTH OF ONE PERCENT of Americans who are old enough to vote.
This ain't no shining moment in a display of how U.S. politics and representative democracy ideally are supposed to work.
There are about 650,000 registered Republicans in Iowa. Last night about 122,000 of them played the quadrennial game called the Iowa presidential caucus.
Politico.com on the Iowa results The news media are breathlessly saying that 30,015 of them voted for Romney. Another way to think about this is to say that 1.3% of the voting age population of Iowa voted for Romney, and 98.7% didn't. It's a reverse landslide for Romney, folks.
Let's forget for the moment that the Iowa caucuses have a poor track record of identifying the ultimate nominees…Mike Huckabee won the Iowa Republican caucus in 2008---remember him?
If Romney turns out to be the Republican nominee, imagine that he could win the presidency with a similar degree of support at the national level. That is to say, imagine that Romney succeeded to the Oval Office with only 3 million votes nationwide, out of 230 million potential voters. Who thinks that would be a good example of representative democracy in action?
The Iowa caucuses: the few, the partisan, the hype, the extravagant TV coverage, the endless mind-numbing "analysis," the tens of millions of dollars for disgustingly inaccurate political ads, the 1 out of 5 Republicans who bothered to show up….
Much too much ado about the few…….and no one knows whether it signifies anything at all.
My previous posts on goofy Iowa politics:
Much ado about the few
The few, the partisan...
Spoofing democracy in Iowa caucuses
Iowa Ames Poll: democracy or barbecue?
Ames Poll: democracy it ain't