It may have been the centre of the political universe, but I would be hard-pressed to find Iowa on a map. I wonder if Americans have the same problem?
Once every four years the state makes headlines, as politically interested individual “caucus” to determine who they want to be president. For some candidates it is the end of their ambitions. For others it sustains a dream.
The American method for picking a president captivates the political world for the better part of a year. There must be a better way, but there is no desire to change the system. Or if there is no-one has seriously proposed it.
If you don’t know how caucuses differ from primaries (the method used in most American states), you are not alone. I’m not sure most Americans could tell you how or why their system has evolved the way it does, or even the way it works.
For example, mots Americans think they will be voting for a president in November. That is incorrect, though they call it a presidential election.
What they actually elect is members of the electoral college. It is those people who vote for the president.
If that sounds confusing, given all the media coverage given to American elections, rest assured you are not alone. It is a bizarre system to outsiders and even to American citizens.
I was going to tell you who the big winner in was Iowa last night, the front-runner for the Democratic Party nomination to challenge President Trump. I’m not sure that is something I would aspire to if I were a Democrat in 2020, not unless I had some policy proposals better than those I have heard so far.
However, as I post this the results were unknown. A glitch in the system due to “quality checks.” Maybe the results will be known by the time you read this, maybe not.
An American would probably tell you that being able to survive the nomination process toughens a politician, making him or her better able to handle the rigors of the top job. That is the party line, though I would suggest that idea to be so much bovine end product.
To an outside observer it appears the process is designed to weaken the eventual nominee, not strengthen them. With eight months of intra-party fighting before the nomination, there is a strong probability that in the fall Trump’s best lines about his opponent will be quotes from the unsuccessful Democratic candidates. They won’t be able to resist making it personal in the caucuses and primaries when they should be focusing on policy differences. Those personal attacks will be a gift for the Republicans.
From where I sit, it looks like the Democrats are determined to revisit the 2016 campaign. They lost that one, but are presenting the same faces and the same policies they lost with then.
After four years of Donald Trump, many Americans are, I am sure, open to change. They want to be inspired. They want to feel their politicians care more about the people than about their pet projects.
In 2016 Donald Trump tapped into American angst and found a way into the White House. In 2020 it appears the Democrats can’t even get their ballots counted quickly.
From that it seems pretty obvious who will win this election.
Sadly, given what I have seen from the candidates who have stepped forward so far, the real losers will be the American people.