If you talk to reporters (especially the embeds) in Iowa, a lot of the talk is focused around this idea that if Ron Paul wins the Iowa Caucus, the RNC and DNC may make a serious push to either seriously downplay or eliminate altogether, the Iowa Caucuses. Outsiders to Iowa politics may be asking: what’s the big deal? But ask anyone who’s worked an Iowa-centered campaign and they’ll tell you (and I’ll tell you as someone who has worked an Iowa-centered campaign also) that the early caucus brings tens of millions of ad revenue as well as individual exposure to the political apparatus of the respective political parties. In other words, to quote Joe Biden: “It’s a big f***ing deal.” But does it have to be or more importantly: should it be?
Iowa is an important state mainly because of the fact that it is a midwestern state and it is representative of other states that could go either way in a close election. It’s also an important state because of the shared media access with it’s neighboring states. But ask political insiders if the caucus could be switched to another state and the answer would be ‘no’ for a myriad of reasons. The most frequently used answer is that the results of an Iowa caucus can’t be replicated in any other state, which has been seen as a good thing in years past. But if Ron Paul wins the caucus this year, people may begin to waver with regards to whether this is a good thing or not. Combine that with the fact that Michelle Bachmann won the Ames Straw poll and you’ve got two state elections with national implications that…have no national implications.
Ron Paul is not going to be the Republican nominee for President, neither is Michelle Bachmann. If this is news to you or if you’re hearing this for the first time you should probably start looking at other outlets to get your news from in addition to the wonderful advice that I give you. The simple fact is that regardless of who wins next year, it is incredibly unlikely that the winner of the Iowa caucus is going to wind up being the nominee of the Republican party and although that’s troublesome for the Republican party, it’s even more troublesome for the Iowa Republican party. The question will then become: if Iowa can’t pick a winner, why let them pick at all? The answer will be simple: we shouldn’t let them play kingmaker if they don’t actually pick the king. That’s why I’d like to invite both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee to take another look at Wisconsin.
We are about as representative of a midwestern state as you can get outside of Iowa. We have a crazy Republican Governor, a crazy Republican Senator, a crazy Republican legislature and a crazy Republican Senate. The chairman of the RNC is from Wisconsin. So the question must be asked: why not Wisconsin? Why not give us a chance to be the first in the nation to hold a caucus? We already have an open primary system, why not give us an early caucus and allow us the opportunity to be as insignificant as Iowa? You’ll never find target demos that line up as closely with those of Iowa in Ohio. Illinois and Michigan are too liberal, Indiana too conservative. Minnesota and Missouri are too unpredictable, which leaves you with…Wisconsin!
We’ve got all the folksy stuff you’ve got in Iowa. We’ve got a state fair, heck we’ve got Summerfest to boot! We also have one of the most liberal counties in the country (Dane county) and one of the most conservative in the country (Waukesha county.) It’s the perfect petrie dish for America. Plus we’ve got roughly the same shared ad space as Iowa, in fact, some may argue our reach is greater (as we hit Indiana and Michigan much of the time.) So why not Wisconsin? Don’t blame the weather because it’s just as bad in Iowa if not worse. Don’t blame the organization because we’re right outside Chicago. Don’t blame the internal politics because we’ve got an even more divisive Governor than Iowa in Scott Walker. Don’t blame out lack of enthusiasm for politics either because if you watched what happened in Madison earlier this year you know that unlike Ohio, we don’t let our Governor attack our teachers without a fight. So, I’d like to extend a hand to Republican and Democratic party insiders to come out to Wisconsin and try us on for size because you just might find that we’re just as irrational and convoluted in our political processes as Iowa, but in the end I think you’d also find that we’re just a little bit better at picking winners than they are.