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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Couch Tater Impressions of Iowa Caucuses

Courtesy of C-SPAN, I did get a little hint of what the Iowa caucuses were like. I certainly appreciate the argument that the Iowa caucuses are no way to run a Democracy, advanced by Larry J. Sabato and others. Yet, I felt a twinge of envy towards Ed for being there. It just looked like a fun night out, if somewhat exhausting — hanging out with fellow supporters of your candidate and others, making new friends, hashing out issues with all the media attention and knowing that your little vote probably means a hell of a lot more than that of the average citizen in any other state. I imagine the Obama afterglow party was a blast. His victory speech was excellent. No wonder Iowans love their crazy process.
I clicked on over to C-SPAN2 for a little while, where a GOP caucus was being spotlighted, and watched a young girl singing a slightly off-key version of that “I’m proud to be an American” song, while Republicans who could have been lifted out of a Norman Rockwell tableaux looked on. The GOP caucus process appeared to be a good deal more orderly and a lot less fun. I tried to imagine the Huckabee victory party. Back to C-SPAN1.
I get the critique of the Iowa caucuses not providing a representative reflection of the states’ voters as a whole, with such a small percentage turning out and no secret ballot etc. But there is something to be said for the human interaction you get with the Iowa caucuses — citizens coming together, boldly declaring their preferences and arguing and negotiating their way to a fair ballot count. It gets at the spirit of democracy from another angle. Still, after the elections the Democratic Party should move towards allowing all states to take turns as the first primary/caucus. No one state should have a hammerlock on first-in-the-nation.
For addressing the lessons learned and questions raised by the Iowa caucuses, the CNN entrance poll findings referenced by Ed are a great place to start.

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