Why Is The Iowa Caucus So Important?

I like to make the Wonder Why Wednesday posts somewhat timely. I try to cover current topics, so, in past Februarys I have written about Why Groundhogs Get To Decide the Weather & How Much A Super Bowl Commercial Costs.

Thinking I had used up all of the first-week-of-February content, I sat down on Monday night to write about an equally, albeit, less timely topic: What is Adele’s last name?

Who doesn’t wonder that, right?

When I glanced at Twitter as I gathered my Adele research, I saw that the majority of the tweets were talking about the Iowa caucus.

It may make me a bad American, but I’ll admit that I didn’t know the Iowa caucus was happening on Monday. I treat politics in much the same way that I treat Siri on my phone. I am not really sure how it works, most of the time it does not answer the question it was asked, and I would prefer if it had an English accent.

In addition to not knowing the caucus was happening, I really had no clue why it was such a big deal. In my defense, if the Iowa caucus was so important, how come there was never a Schoolhouse Rock video made about it? (I guess maybe that is because not much rhymes with caucus)

But alas, I know that the caucus is important, and I should probably learn a thing or two about it. So, I am just going to have to put Adele on hold for now and find out…

Why The Iowa Caucus Is So Important?

Just for fun, I asked Siri why the Iowa caucus was so important. She thought I said, “Why is the I will Cox so port?” to which she answered, “Interesting question, Adam.”

Spoken like a true politician.

No thanks to Siri, I eventually found that there are two main reasons why Iowa is the caucus of the walkus every four years: 1) it is first & 2) it gives a good (but not perfect) projection of what’s to come.

In 1972, the Democratic Party reworked their schedule to make Iowa the first state to hold a caucus. Not to be outdone, the Republican Party followed suit in 1976 and chose the Hawkeye State to be the kickoff to their election season.

Ever since then, Iowa has been the first state in the country to have a chance to show its support for candidates.

And because it is first, it gets our attention.

Even though it has our attention, the Iowa caucus is not a perfect predictor of what will happen the rest of the year — only about half of the winners in Iowa go on to win their party’s nomination.

However, since 1972, no candidate who finished lower than fourth place in the Iowa has been named the Democratic of Republican nomination — so the results do give the nation a bit of an idea of whose campaign commercials we will see for the next 10 months.

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