The attention devoted to the Iowa caucus has been inversely proportional to its importance in the presidential nominating process. This is partly a function of the media’s obsession with the horse-race aspect of American politics, which favours that day’s latest poll numbers and micro-developments over analysis of substantive issues and the broader campaign narrative. But the caucus has a mediocre record in actually selecting candidates. Recall that in 2008, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (remember him?) won the contest and in 1988 televangelist Pat Robertson defeated then-Vice President (and future president) George HW Bush. The caucus system itself is something of a scandal; it is not a secret ballot but rather a uniquely Midwestern shaming ritual in which citizens must spend hours on end “caucusing” among themselves until, via a process of elimination, they have decided upon a candidate.
What happens in Iowa stays in Iowa
The world’s most frightening reality show is about to get a new star. On January 3, the...