The Iowa caucuses are probably the single stupidest thing about the American political system, which is really saying something when you stop to think about it. Every four years, a bunch of candidates trudge into the Hawkeye State in mid-winter and try to outdo each other in just-folks, aw-shucks pandering to a bunch of corn-raising farmers whose interest in national politics doesn’t extend much beyond ethanol. The quicker this farce ends, the better:
Republican Party officials in Iowa have voted to cancel the decades-old Iowa Straw Poll, amid waning interest from GOP presidential candidates. Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee, said in a statement: “I’ve said since December that we would only hold a straw poll if the candidates wanted one, and this year that is just not the case.”
The Iowa straw poll has been lauded by conservative activists in the state for decades but in recent years hasn’t been widely embraced by GOP candidates both inside and outside the state.
The Iowa poll has been held every election cycle since 1979 without a Republican incumbent in the White House. It was initially used to gauge a candidate’s electability, and over the years has brought in thousands of dollars for Iowa’s GOP. However, winning the Iowa straw poll has often not translated to winning the party’s nomination.
How about that? As the 2012 GOP race demonstrated, the structure of the nominating process is seriously flawed, and exists only because the media wishes it to be so. The tail is wagging the dog, and it’s about time the parties stopped playing along, got control of their own tails and acted like presidential politics actually matters for something other than the amusement of bored Washington reporters.