The big loser: the Iowa Caucus?

As I’m beginning to type this post, Romney and Santorum are in a dead heat and Paul is a close third.  Short version, two of the top three finishers in Iowa have no chance of winning the nomination, much less becoming president.  Meanwhile the presumed frontrunner can’t even quite crack a quarter of the vote.  So, what exactly is the value of the Iowa caucus anyway?  I cannot help but thinking it’s nuts to devote so much attention and resources of all kinds to a contest that can produce results that will clearly, ultimately, have minimal bearing on who the Republican nominee eventually will be.

I hope that Santorum does, in fact, end up being the “winner” (it’s a nail-biter with 92% in) because I think that result does more than anything to suggest how pointless this whole exercise can be.  Then again, it was only 4 years ago, that the Iowa Caucus propelled Obama onto his path to victory.  Nonetheless, the weight of the historical evidence, and this year especially, suggest that Iowa simply should not have this prominent role in our presidential election process.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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