Iowa pushed back in the pack

The big news in the world of U.S. politics last week was the demotion of the Iowa caucuses by the Democractic Party. The Democrats have decided to hold their caucuses in Iowa later and make South Carolina the first contest for Democratic candidates.

The decision won’t affect Iowa Republicans, who are still caucusing early, but have much less to discuss, with Donald Trump the likely frontrunner.

For a long time the Iowa Caucuses, along with the New Hampshire primary, were the opening events in the quadrennial presidential election season.

It was great for Iowa voters. Political hopefuls from both parties would swarm about the state for weeks ahead of the caucuses, kissing babies and eating pulled pork sandwiches as they sought support from caucus goers. A good showing would help the successful candidate build momentum for the New Hampshire primary and on through the rest of the states to victory.

In fact, however, most Democrats who were successful in Iowa did not go on to win their party’s nomination. Over the years, too, Iowa became more solidly a red state. And in 2020, the Democratic caucuses ran into a technological snarl in reporting results, which were delayed by as much as a week, and irregularities in the results kept the Associated Press from being able to declare a winner. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg were the top finishers, but weren’t able to carry that success into New Hampshire.

South Carolina offers a lot of advantages to the Democrats, especially since it’s a more racially diverse state, to better reflect the party’s diversity.

Minnesota had held out hopes of getting an earlier spot in the primary lineup, but the Democrats decided to move up Michigan. It’s just as well. Like Iowa, Minnesota is still tied to the precinct caucus system, which lacks the immediacy and participation of the primaries.


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