By Dave Lindorff
We shouldn’t be surprised that the Iowa Caucus has blown up into a fiasco. It is a primary that was designed to give a result the ruling duopoly parties each want, and Sanders, according to the polls, has been screwing it up for the Democrats by looking increasingly likely to win the nomination. Let me explain:
We’ve heard ad nauseum that the Iowa caucuses that are the first test of actual voters picking a presidential candidate each four-year election cycle are important because they have a record of correctly identifying the candidates who go most often to on to become the two parties’s nominees and ultimately, in the case of one of them, the president of the country.
The trouble is, that’s the trouble with the Iowa caucus, they are designed to pick the candidates that the major parties prefer.
Iowa is not representative of American voters’ diversity
Start with the reality of Iowa. It is in no way representative of America. Not in the slightest. Largely rural, the state’s largest city, Des Moines, only has 207,000 residents. That population count wouldn’t even place it in the top 20 cities in California, where Des Moines would be smaller than the towns of Oxnard and Moreno Valley — two places you’ve probably never heard off outside of California, unless it’s about a forest raging fire nearby. Iowa’s also a state that doesn’t have many people in it who aren’t white. According to the most recent census data, Iowans are 90.28% white, 3.51% black and 2.40% Asian. Native Americans only represent 0.037% of the state’s 3.18 million residents. That compares to a national racial breakdown of 60.4% non-Hispanic White, 18.3% Hispanic (which includes white Latinx people), 13.4% black or African-American, 5.9% Asian, 1.3% indigenous (American Indian or Inuit), and 2% inter-racial.
The idea that such a state could be considered representative or predictive of the general US electorate, much less the Democratic Party electorate, is absurd on its face. If Democrats (or Republicans for that matter) really wanted a representative state to test out their prospective presidential candidates, they’d pick one like Ohio, that pretty reliably swings both ways, and votes for the party candidate who ultimately wins the White House. What the party’s are doing in Iowa through it’s arcane caucus process is manipulating the outcome to get the candidate they want to run. (Granted it doesn’t always work, but better than far more democratic and less manipulatable primaries do.)
Caucuses are not more democratic than primary voting
But then the caucus process itself is ridiculous. First of all the Iowa caucus operates on a principle that is the opposite of the way nearly all states’ elections operate (including Iowa’s), which would be winner-takes-all. In a typical primary, voters go into a private booth and cast secret votes for the candidates of their choosing for each office, from president on down to justice of the peace and town constable. In the Iowa caucus, they vote publicly for the candidate of their choice by grouping in a room in a space for people supporting their chosen candidate. Ballots are filled out for that candidate and collected. Then once those numbers are tabulated and the totals are announced, caucus-goers get a second chance to vote and if they wish, can transfer their support to one of the candidates who is most competitive. The idea, supposedly, is that if your chosen candidate is clearly going to lose, you may want to support one of the top candidates whom you like more, or dislike less.
This process involves a lot of cajoling, debating and perhaps more sordid negotiation .(Are promises of sexual favors, money, a free dinner, or whatever permitted? Probably, but we don’t know, which is the point)…
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF, a member of the ThisCantBeHappening! collective, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/the-iowa-caucus-is-corrupt-and-the-whole-process-stinks-to-hell/