The first thing Iowa needs to do is fix its app. Reminiscent of the chaotic convention nominating George McGovern, this year’s chaos is unacceptable. It may be unforgivable.
Assume, however, that Iowa fixes its reporting problem, the state still gets a lot of criticism as the site of the first voting event of the presidential election. It’s too white. It has no cities to speak of. It has too few linguistic minorities to be representative of the country.
Iowa is not representative of the country. In some good ways. The caucus process is complex. Iowans think about the candidates. Iowans are widely admired for how much they prepare for the caucuses, for how intelligently they discuss candidates and their issues at those caucuses.
Nevertheless, not that many Iowans show up. The caucuses start at 7:00pm. The continue to 10:00pm, 11:00pm. The one way Iowa seems to be demographically similar to the rest of the country is its increase of older people. I’m pretty old. I rarely volunteer to stay up until 11:00pm.
Iowa thrives because of these caucuses — because of the money spent during the campaign and because Iowa issues, like ethanol, get special treatment. Iowa should invest a little in keeping its caucus first.
Make caucus day a holiday. Close the schools. Close the stores (as if it is a Sunday). Close everything that can possibly be closed. Start the caucus at 9:00am. Maybe 10:00am. Maybe 2:00pm. More people would attend a caucus. More people would be involved. More people throughout the country would think Iowa’s caucuses as the first election event of the presidential campaign are worth keeping.