NYT on the Iowa Caucuses

3 01 2008

The New York Times Editorial blog, the Board, made a well-reasoned plea for reconsidering whether or not Iowa should remain the first in the nation. In addition to pointing out that the Hawkeye state total population is only 1 percent of the country, and that fewer than 300,000 people actually caucus, the New York Times also makes the case that it is also wildly unrepresentative of our nation’s demography.

Iowa is about 95 percent white — far whiter than the nation as a whole. Blacks, Latinos and Asians are all significantly underrepresented. Even the whites here are not representative — the state has fewer Catholics, white “ethnics” and recent immigrants than the nation as a whole.

95 percent white! Damn. I did not know that was still legal.

The same post also makes a strong case for how the caucus system disenfranchises voters too. Since there is no absentee caucusing, if you cannot make it because you are working the night shift, in the hospital, have no babysitter, or overseas fighting a war, you are out of luck. That’s not right.

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