Americans need to stop paying attention to the political sideshow they call the Iowa Caucus. We need to ignore the Caucus because it can be very wrong.
I have one question for those who think the Iowa Caucus is important. What did President Ted Cruz (R-Texas) do today? Cruz won the 2016 Republican Iowa Caucus with of 27.6% of the support.
Instead, a loser of the last Iowa Republican Caucus; Donald J. Trump (R-New York), won his part’s nomination and the presidency. For the record, Trump came in second with 24.3% of the Iowa Caucus vote, the Associated Press estimates. In addition, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida); whose presidential campaign became a bad joke in 2016, came in third at 23.1%.
Nor is the first time the loser of the nomination did badly in Iowa. Back in 2008, the eventual Republican nominee; the late U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), came in fourth in the Caucus. The New York Times reports former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas) won the Iowa Caucus that year. What ever happened to Huckabee I have not heard his name in years?
The Iowa Caucus can be occasionally accurate in its forecasting; however. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) began his rise to the presidency by winning the 2008 Iowa Caucus; with 37.6% of the vote, The Times notes. Meanwhile, the Iowa Caucus accurately predicted the fizzling of Hillary R. Clinton (D-New York) 2008 presidential campaign when he she came in third.
Why the Iowa Caucus is Often Wrong
Thus we need to take surveys such as the latest CNN/Des Moines Register poll with a grain of salt. That survey shows media favorite Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-Indiana) winning the caucus with the support of 25% of probable Caucus goers, Vox reports.
My guess is that Buttigieg is leading in white, Christian, and rural Iowa; because he is the only visibly white/male/Protestant Democrat in the primary. The Census Bureau estimates Iowa’s population is 90.7% white. Meanwhile, the World Population Review estimates Iowa is 77% “Christian.”
In addition, 17.1% of Iowa’s population is over 65 and more conservative. Buttigieg; a nice clean young white man who always a tie and keeps his hair short, will impress those older and more conservative Iowa voters. Plus, there are around 193,451 veterans in Iowa and Buttigieg is a veteran.
Thus, Buttigieg appeals to Iowa, but Iowa is not America. For instance, the Census Bureau estimates 76.5% of America’s population is “white” and 16% of the US population is over 65.
Plus, the Caucus is not an election. Instead, the Caucus is a public meeting where Iowans have to get up and vote publicly in front of their neighbors. Hence, an Iowan who really supports a controversial candidate like U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) or Asian Andrew Yang (D-New York) could support the least offensive candidate; Buttigieg, at the Caucus to avoid controversy.
Super Tuesday will Decide the Democratic Primary
Therefore, ignoring the Iowa Caucus is a smart move for political junkies. Instead of the Iowa Caucus, we need to look to 3 March 2020.
March 3, 2020 is Super Tuesday when 14 states hold primaries. Importantly, the nation’s two most populous states; Texas and California, hold primaries on Super Tuesday.
Texas, for instance, had a population of 29.087 million in 2019, The World Population Review estimates. Astonishingly Texas and California’s combined population could be 68.834 million people.
Meanwhile, the United States had a population of 329.065 million in 2019, Worldometers estimates. Hence two states that contain over 20% of America’s population will vote on Super Tuesday.
As a result, Super Tuesday can show us how average Americans plan to vote. In fact, Donald J. Trump (R-New York) became a contender on Super Tuesday 2016 by winning 254 delegates and seven states, The New York Times estimates. Plus Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) emerged as a credible candidate by winning 348 delegates and four states on Super Tuesday 2016.
How California could Pick the Next President
Super Tuesday 2020 could be more surprising because California is participating in it for the first time.
The Golden State’s participation could skew results and put one candidate over because of population. California had a population of 39.747 million in 2019, the World Population Review estimates.
California’s participation in Super Tuesday could boost three candidates; Sanders, U.S. Senator Liz Warren (D-Massachusetts), and Andrew Yang (D-New York). To explain, California is a left-leaning state and both Sanders and Warren are far-left. Meanwhile, Yang is Chinese; and California is 14.1% Asian, the World Population Review estimates.
Another influential factor could be religion; only 63% of Californians identify as “Christian,” The World Population Review estimates. Plus, 27% of Californians call themselves religiously unaffiliated. Hence, displays of faith could hurt overtly religious candidates such as Buttigieg in the Golden State.
Nor is it just California, outside of places such as Iowa, religion could work against Buttigieg. The World Population Review estimates a majority of Americans (51.1%) were not Protestant in 2019. Hence, Super Tuesday can show us what the average American thinks of candidates such as Buttigieg.
Why the Media Loves the Iowa Caucus and Hates Super Tuesday
Ordinary people will wonder why the American media loves the Iowa Caucus but hates Super Tuesday. There are several reasons the media loves the Iowa Caucus including:
First, the Caucus is an easy story to explain and cover. Iowa is one small state with few cities, and no substantial minorities. There is little complexity and our media hates complexity. The caucus is a simple narrative a reporter can explain with one soundbite. Describing Super Tuesday takes several minutes.
Second, the Iowa Caucus is not expensive to cover. A producer or editor covering the Caucus only needs to send one reporter or news crew to one state; instead of 14 reporters and 14 crews to 14 states. The editor’s boss could approve that expense but is unlikely to spend several million dollars sending out two dozen news people.
The Media’s White America Fantasy
Third, Iowa looks like the media elite’s fantasy vision of America. Media elitists, and many other sophisticated New Yorkers, still cherish the fantasy ideal that there is a real White Christian America out there somewhere in the heartland. These people want nearly all-white fictional small town utopias; such as Mayberry and Bedford Falls, to exist.
Iowa is one of the few states that comes demographically close to that White America ideal. Hence, the media focus on Iowa. The notion that people of color help choose the president is so unsettling to many media elitists that they discount it.
The delusion that white Protestant folk are still in control of America’s destiny has a powerful hold over our national imagination. Our media will never challenge that comforting fiction, even if their belief in it leads to embarrassing blunders.
The Media’s White Ethno State
Those who accuse Fox News of promoting a “white American ethno state” in the United States, need to understand White America is our media’s party line. Like the Communists, our media will never abandon the party line no matter how far it deviates from reality.
In fact, the white America fantasy partially explains Buttigieg’s appeal. Buttigieg is a 75-year-old white woman’s fantasy ideal of a son or grandson.
To explain, Buttigieg is a clean-cut, church-going, veteran, who wears a tie, never swears, and says nothing controversial. For instance, Buttigieg is not coarse or rude; in contrast to that awful Trump person.
Plus Buttigieg never mentions mention the scary economic realities Trump, Yang, Sanders, and Warren love to harp on. Buttigieg never scares his audiences with big words or math about artificial intelligence, job loss, or market crashes. Additionally, both Yang and Sanders refuse to wear ties on the campaign trail, a major sin in that grandmother’s worldview.
That 75-year-old white woman is not America, but she is the target demographic for the sorry remains of America’s broadcast and print media. For example, Adweek estimates the average Fox News viewer was 65 years old in 2018, Cheatsheet notes. In contrast, Statista estimates the median age in the United States in 2018 was 38.2 years.
Pete Buttigieg Great White Hope
Hence media outlets that hype Buttigieg are giving their audience what they want: a friendly white, controversy free male Christian candidate.
In other words Mr. Rogers in a suit. However, I think such a candidate that will drive every voter under 50 away.
The only potential controversy about Buttigieg is that he is gay. However, Buttigieg is shrewd enough to never mention his sexuality on the campaign trail, unless he’s speaking to gay audiences.
Thus, the media will waste a vast amount of money and attention on the Iowa Caucus even though the Caucus’s results could tell us nothing about the outcome of the presidential election. Hence it is easy to see why ordinary Americans constantly ignore the media.
Hopefully, a few years from now when Pete Buttigieg is serving in his new high-prestige job as Ambassador to Norway the media could forget about Iowa. Until then we will have to put up with the weekly circus from Des Moines and a series of quickly forgotten Great White Male hopes.