The state whose motto is “Live Free or Die” is certainly good at keeping their clamming boots on our neck.
Look, we wanted to change our caucuses. But we can’t change the caucus to a more civilized primary because New Hampshire will crap a lobster roll. It’s also the reason the new ballots at the caucuses won’t be called ballots, they will be called presidential preference cards.
New Hampshire is the first-in-the-nation primary. Iowa is the first-in-the-nation caucus. This is the order of operations, which happened entirely by accident in 1972, because it was a paperwork thing. We needed more time to get our paperwork together and make copies, and at the time we made copies with a mimeograph machine that was basically a stencil.
No one cared at all that we were first, instead choosing to focus on states that had more delegates, until Jimmy Carter came in 1976 and won the caucuses and then won the presidency. That you could come, stand on some straw, talk about corn subsidies, and become president was appealing to all those people who wanted to be president, but didn’t have a lot of money.
That’s when the order of operations was decided. Iowa then New Hampshire. It was an accident now encoded in our political process. If we do anything to make the structural changes we need to actually include all Iowans in the caucusing process, New Hampshire gets fidgety.
And if we are being very honest Iowans find it gratifying to see billionaires, governors and senators pretending to like pork tenderloin and coming to your door begging for your vote. It’s fun. In the Midwest, we love to see the high knocked lowly and we do it so well. Also, you can’t buy your candidacy here. Or so we like to say. But that hasn’t stopped Tom Steyer, whose Tartan tie is his excuse for his personality, from trying and that hasn’t stopped us from taking his money.
There is also a lot of money and power and influence at stake.
That explains the passive-aggressive American standoff between a state that’s known for boiling it’s food and a state known for covering their food in cream of mushroom soup and overbaking it at 350.
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No, instead we have convoluted new rules, a smartphone app for precinct chairs with very little information about security, and a system that still, if there is a tie, will result in a coin flip or as one precinct chair told me, drawing cards from a deck.
If we truly want change in a meaningful way, one of our states has to sacrifice our power and influence. The whole only other option would be a full on civil war with New Hampshire and who wants to fight with a state whose motto is “Live free or die?” Iowans would rather just live and drink Busch Light. Freedom and our rights are optional if means we get some tax cuts.
So, what we get is a failing system so tightly controlled by the power and influence of a few white people so desperate to cling to and justify their own relevancy that they’ll bring us all down with them. Maybe that’s the most American thing of all.