Extreme Influence of the Iowa Caucus
Right-wing spin on politics
Ezra Klein points out the non representativeness of the Iowa caucus and the extraordinary influence it has in determining presidential candidates. Well, I don’t know. It appears that Mitt Romney will emerge from it and he is surely not the most right-wing of the possible candidates.
Give Americans a choice: Right-leaning Republican or Middle-leaning Democrat (with a little left-wing flare).
“The next four days in the news cycle will be all Iowa, all the time. And with good reason. Iowa might well decide our next president. The momentum coming out of the caucus can cement Romney as the nominee or vault another contender to the nomination. But let's all take a deep breath and agree that that is completely insane.
In 2008, the Iowa Republican Caucus got record turnout: 120,000 people. That is to say, four percent of all the residents of Iowa. And those 120,000 people represent four hundredths of one percent of the total population of America.
And it's not a representative four hundredths of one percent of the American people. It's not a representative four percent of Iowans. It's not even a representative four percent of Iowa Republicans. The likely caucusgoers are further to the right than the average Iowa Republican.
Gail Collins put it well in Thursday's New York Times. Imagine, she wrote, that the caucus gets incredible, record-shattering turnout: 150,000 Iowans attend! "That is about the same number of people in Pomona, Calif. Imagine your reaction to seeing a story saying that a plurality of people in Pomona, Calif., thought Newt Gingrich would be the best G.O.P. presidential candidate. Would you say, 'Wow! I guess Newt is now the de facto front-runner?'"
Probably not. For the record, this isn't really Iowa's fault. They're insistent on going first, but their caucus only matters so much because we in the media nationalize it -- and the importance of its results -- so aggressively. Which is why it's worth remembering Jon Bernstein's advice on how to read the media coverage out of Iowa.”
Via the Washington Post