"First in the nation" status isn't the last word in what matters most about our grassroots political legacy.
Worth keeping and wroth sharing. What virtues or benefits have Iowa caucuses offer other states' primaries? What is so special?
Iowa offers campaigning without having to invest millions in TV ads.
Kyle wrote how Iowa emphasizes rural retail politics over giant ad buys in a major city. Ms. Gammack wrote " It’s sad to think about how much more money it will take to be competitive in a primary state. Art Cullen raisied issues about rural America being ignored. Will new primary (mostly) systems ignore rural America.
What is worth keeping and sharing? The organizing 'virtue' of Iowa caucuses is important because grass roots organizing has been erratic in recent years in Iowa, maybe most of rural America. .
Will primaries be just as thoughtful? Candidates are asked in Iowa about national and international issues, from war and hunger to human rights and civil rights. Somehow people who never attended a caucus think all we do is talk corn and bean prices. I would compare our caucus platforms against any of those other early states, including our clarity, strength, and history on diversity issues.
Caucuses talked solutions. Here are three of mine: 1. Iowa should offer to change to Nevada caucus system, or at least adopt its strengths. 2. Iowa should recommend rotational early states, while we are it. 3. Going forward, Iowa must focus on values and virtues in whatever direction the caucuses take.
Kyle, thank for this thoughtful summary of the caucuses. I think of all the Iowans who ended up working in Washington because they became involved early with a relatively unknown candidate who made it to the top job or a coveted cabinet post. It’s sad to think about how much more money it will take to be competitive in a primary state. It’s a loss for the state and small ‘d’ democracy.
Kyle— I have serious phrase envy! Wish I could have come up with “We tend to get pigeonholed as a passive-aggressive state that seethes beneath a fake veneer of “Iowa nice.” It’s fun to read a master of the craft. Thanks for a great read.
Loved this commentary, Kyle. This line is why you’re known as one of the best writers in iowa: “In my experience, the best of the caucuses made us uncomfortable in all the right ways so that we confronted issues and came to terms with each other as neighbors who could still work together.” For this reason especially I am saddened to see the caucuses go. Thanks for sharing this with us.