January 2nd, 2012
04:22 PM ET

Letters to the President #1078: 'If not Iowa'

Reporter's Note: The Iowa caucuses are heading our way. Just as my latest letter to the White House is no doubt headed for the president’s desk.

Dear Mr. President,

With the Iowa caucuses upon us, I’ve noticed a few of those traditional articles about how this part of the political process really doesn’t represent the nation. You know the drill: Iowa does not have enough minorities, it has too many party fanatics, too old, too rural, too, too, too….

As much as I am fascinated by demographics and numbers, I’m not sure I can find a reason to be worried about this. After all, unless we adopt a single, nationwide primary date for both parties, someone has to go first. And no matter which state we choose for that dubious honor, it can only be a little bit representative of the bigger “we.”

Think about it. California is the most populous state with Texas running second. Both are fine places with lots of nice people living in them. But as the first places to place a bet on the next president? I don’t think so. Not only are they decidedly different from any other states you can name, but they are also wildly different from each other in overall personality and political outlook.

The east coast? Come on. I know you’d love that region to kick off the process, because with all of its big urban centers that part of the country tilts Democratic, which is precisely why it is not fairly representative of the whole country. Starting the caucuses there would likely make the GOP look unnecessarily weak and the Dems strong.

A few years back, Illinois was judged by the Associated Press to be the most average state based on census data. But I lived in Illinois. I know that you can go across the border to Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky, or Iowa, and get a substantially different mix of voters for any given election.

So like I said, I can’t get too worked up over the whole “Iowa is not like us!” argument. Only “all of us” are like us, and until we start running our primaries that way, we may as well let the Hawkeyes get the ball rolling.

Hope all is well for you as we tumble into the New Year. Call if you can.


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