Mike Huckabee Leads In Iowa, And That Shows What’s Wrong With The Iowa Caucuses

The fact that a candidate like Mike Huckabee could win the Iowa Caucuses is the reason to end the Iowa Caucuses.

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Polling Presidential races more than two years before Election Day is, as I’ve noted several times in the past, usually not nearly as important as the media organizations that publicize the polls make them out to be. Nobody has actually entered the Presidential race on either side of the ticket, many of the potential candidates are people that, notwithstanding their constant appearances on cable news networks, are largely unknown to voters on the ground, and there’s been virtually no real campaigning of any kind. That being said, polling that is conducted this early is instructive to the extent that it reveals what the kind of voters may be heading to the polls, or the caucus locations, once the primaries actually start in early 2016. For that reason, a new CNN/ORC poll that shows former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee leading the prospectively Republican field tells us much about the voters who will decide who wins the first contest of the cycle:

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee nearly laps the field with 21% of all registered Republicans contacted in the poll saying they would support the former Arkansas governor if the 2016 Iowa caucuses were held today.

Paul Ryan is second with 12%, and there is a cadre of politicians — including Sen. Rand Paul, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — with support in the single digits.

Huckabee and Ryan are getting similar support with men — 15% and 16%, respectively — but it is with women that the former Arkansas governor jumps ahead of the congressman.

Twenty-seven percent of registered Republican women polled said they would pick Huckabee, compared with 8% who choose Ryan.

Huckabee, of course, won the 2008 Iowa Caucuses by more than 10,000 votes, a victory that for a short time propelled him into the ranks of top tier candidates in the GOP field, although that quickly ended when he was unable to parlay his victory in Iowa into success in South Carolina or any other state quickly enough to stop the McCain juggernaut. For a time, the former Arkansas Governor was at or near the top of polling in advance of the 2012 Presidential election until he ultimately decided not to run, in no small part it seemed at the time because he was rather enjoying the radio show and weekend Fox News Channel show he had at the time. While it’s been nearly eight years now since Huckabee ran for public office, and even longer since he last held public office, polling like this indicates that he still holds some sway with the evangelical Christians in Iowa that propelled him to victory in the caucuses, and that these voters will likely have much to say about who ends up coming out of Iowa with the “first in the nation” victory.

If nothing else, this is yet another reason why it is fundamentally absurd for the Presidential election process to start in Iowa, especially given the way that they conduct elections. Iowa is about as unrepresentative of the nation as a whole as you can get, for example. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the state is 91.3% white, 2.9% African-American, 1.9% Asian, with the remaining 3.9% being divided among a number of different ethnic groups. No doubt, the Republican electorate in Iowa is even more white than the Republican electorate nationally. The state is also not representative of the nation as a whole when it comes to income, level of education, or professions. Nonetheless, this is the state that, along with New Hampshire, is given priority by both parties in the primary process and which has been known to end a Presidential campaign before it started. Indeed, there hasn’t been a person elected President in recent memory who has not won either the Iowa Caucus or the New Hampshire Primary, if not both. Unlike New Hampshire, though, Iowa utilizes an election process that seems designed to make the result even more unrepresentative than it would be under a primary:

One of the unstated truths of political campaigns is that you can win an election by discouraging people from voting nearly as easily as you can by convincing people to get out to the polls and vote for you. Sometimes, this is done nefarious means such as the various attempts we’ve seen to trick certain voting blocs, usually minorities, that Election Day isn’t on the it actually is (a tactic that I personally can’t believe anyone is dumb enough to fall for), sometimes it’s done just by hoping that it rains or snows in a particular part of the country or state on the day votes are being cast, thus making it less likely that certain voters will turn out to vote.

When you’re dealing with caucuses versus primaries, the impact can be more easily seen. A caucus that’s held starting at 7pm on a weeknight in the middle of winter is obviously going to draw far fewer voters than a primary where the polls are open for twelve to thirteen hours a day and where voters have an opportunity to vote absentee if they aren’t going to be able to make it to the polls on primary day (as Ed Morrissey recently discovered in Minnesota, there is no such thing as absentee voting in a caucus).  Turnout for a primary is often low to begin with, but turnout for a caucus is even worse. Many people don’t have the time to spend two or three hours on a work night sitting in a school gymnasium, firehouse, or meeting hall going through the often tedious process that ends with the (non-binding) straw poll that the cable news networks breathlessly report as the results of the caucus. This is especially true for people who work late, or have children. Those who do are going to tend to be older than the electorate as a whole and more committed to a particular candidate than many other voters might be. This is why candidates like Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and before them Pat  Robertson tend to do well in caucus scenarios and poorly in primaries. A committed ideological core in a caucus state can have a far greater impact than in a primary because the people who attend are older, more ideologically committed, and in the case of Republican voters, more conservative than the electorate as a whole. How this helps the party choose a nominee representative of the party that is likely to win in November is beyond me.

So, no, this poll showing Mike Huckabee leading among Republicans in Iowa doesn’t necessarily show that he’d be a strong candidate in 2016, assuming he even ran which seems unlikely at this point. What it does show is how absurd it is that we are starting our Presidential nomination process in an absurdly unrepresentative state like Iowa using an electoral process that seems better suited to picking a Homecoming King and Queen at the local High School than a President of the United States.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    I’m not so sure the problem is the Iowa caucuses, Doug, I think the problem is that at the moment the GOP Has zero credible candidates.

  2. Tony W says:

    Agree with Mr. Reynolds – he leads against such intellects as Paul, Ted Cruz and Rick Perry. Hardly an accomplishment to write home about.

  3. Mu says:

    It’s because no one is willing to spend effort in being the guy who lost to Hillary.

  4. TPF says:

    Iowa is the problem. It sets the tone and the topics of the primary season. If the GOP is serious about changing it needs to remove Iowa as the first stop on the primary calendar.

  5. edmondo says:

    No doubt, the Republican electorate in Iowa is even more white than the Republican electorate nationally.

    Isn’t that just about impossible?

  6. JohnMcC says:

    What is really shown by the poll is who owns the Iowa Republican Party. The answer turns out to be the christian activists and TeaParty folk, which of course are a pair of quickly conjured factions that actually overlap almost completely. In other states there are different answers and different flavors of wingnut. But the question remains the same.

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  8. ernieyeball says:

    If nothing else, this is yet another reason why it is fundamentally absurd for the Presidential election process to start in Iowa, especially given the way that they conduct elections.

    Per Iowa State Law:43.4 Political party precinct caucuses.
    Delegates to county conventions of political parties and party committee members shall be elected at precinct caucuses held not later than the fourth Monday in February of each even-numbered year. The date shall be at least eight days earlier than the scheduled date for any meeting, caucus, or primary which constitutes the first determining stage of the presidential nominating process in any other state, territory, or any other group which has the authority to select delegates in the presidential nomination.
    Apparently the citizens of Iowa need to petition their Legislature to change election laws to provide for a later date of the precint caucuses.

    Nonetheless, this is the state that, along with New Hampshire, is given priority by both parties in the primary process and which has been known to end a Presidential campaign before it started.

    Members of County, State and National Republican and Democratic Political Parties need to somehow be convinced that Iowa and New Hampshire first is bad for the Nation and choose some other state (Illinois where I live?) that is more representative have the first Presidential Primary ballot.

    Unlike New Hampshire, though, Iowa utilizes an election process that seems designed to make the result even more unrepresentative than it would be under a primary:

    Apparently the citizens of Iowa need to petition their Legislature to change election laws to eliminate the precint caucuses and replace them with primaries. (open, closed, semi-open, semi-closed, blanket, nonpartisan blanket, unified…take your pick. Anything is better than those damned caucuses.)

    Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors,..Art. II Sec.1 USCon

    Or how about amending the USCon to remove the State Legislatures from the whole circus and have uniform voting laws in all 50 States mandated by the US Congress.

  9. Gustopher says:

    In a sane and reasonable Republican Party, who would be leading the Iowa polling two years before the caucus?

    I’m coming up blank. Huckabee, why not? He’s less absurd than some of the recent Republican nominees for President and Vice President.

    There’s no awesome traditional 1970s Republican that is going to suddenly materialize, suggest actually balancing the budget rather than cutting taxes and not pay homage to the religious right and the tea party wings of the Republican Party. At least, not in the Republican Party.

  10. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:

    Well, after her apparent full-fledged participation in a drunken brawl in Anchorage a week ago, Sarah Palin isn’t going to be it.

  11. charon says:

    Any caucus, not just Iowa, will have Evangelicals, libertarians and Tea Party doing better than in a primary.

    Bottom line: there are many other caucus states, so candidates that appeal to these constituancies will do better than the polling indicates.

    This is what using caucuses does for the GOP>

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  14. Scott O says:

    @CSK: You underestimate her. She’s warming up for the nationwide fight for the nomination.

  15. PAUL HOOSON says:

    It also shows what wrong with the GOP. I like Huckabee as a person, but he’s hardly presidential material or electable. Too many fringe candidates. If Romney actually was more consistent on positions and had a better grasp of foreign policy, he would be a likely choice, but he waffles so much on positions that it’s like trying to nail Jello to a tree to pin down what Romney really thinks, and just not what he’s telling voters at some whistlestop. He comes across as an empty suit with little message other than I’m a rich guy, elect me. – This bunch sure makes Hillary look attractive by comparison….

  16. Eric Florack says:

    Huckabee is an idiot, as I’ve been saying for three cycles, now.
    Yet, the GOP establishment keeps backing him.

    But to the point of the Iowa thing, perhaps that same environment will provide interesting results with the Democrat candidate… possibly someone euqlly deserving. Hillary Clinton, for example.

  17. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    Huckabee is an idiot

    He is a typical high profile Republican in 2014. Why don’t you name the Republican who is not, in your view, an idiot that you think should be president?

  18. al-Ameda says:

    Iowa is an ongoing disgrace to our political primary system. What else is new? The only positive thing I can say for their vomitorious caucus system is that it is a low cost opportunity for candidates to self-vet and say all kinds of things that cause people outside of Iowa to shake their heads, and cause caucus goers to give them their votes.

  19. michael reynolds says:

    If I were a Republican:

    1) Jeb Bush “Not The Dumb One! Bush 2016!”
    2) Chris Christie “Yeah, I Got Yer Bridge Right Here, Pal. Christie 2016!”
    3) Paul Ryan “Yes, I Can Legally Buy Beer. Ryan 2012 2016!”

  20. Kylopod says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Yet, the GOP establishment keeps backing him.

    When has the GOP establishment ever backed him? This certainly wasn’t evident from the endorsements he received in 2008 compared with those of his rivals.

  21. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san:Typical GOP? Yes. Centrists run the place, which is why you can say that without fear of correction from me on this point… Huckabee fits right in. If you doubt my long term distaste for the man, check the writing available on the matter.
    http://bitsblog.theconservativereader.com/?s=huckabee

    To answer your question, Gowdy, or Issa would be two folks I could vote for. Rand Paul might work in domestic matters, but Im more than a tad uncomfortable with his foreign policy ideas.

  22. Eric Florack says:

    @Kylopod: , I suggest a bit more reading on tha matter to refresh your memory. How many folks are on the VP shortlist without establishment backing>

    Example, from this very site…. https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/huckabee_leading_vp_contender/

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Eric Florack:

    To answer your question, Gowdy, or Issa would be two folks I could vote for

    I’m fairly certain that what little credibility you’ve managed to retain here just evaporated after you uttered that gem …

  24. Trumwill says:

    Meh. While it’s not optimal, the system seems to self-correct given how non-predictive the results of the Iowa Primary are.

    And it beats the heck out of a national primary.

  25. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    So Issa should be President? Based on what? His ability to waste millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars on sham investigations?

  26. Eric Florack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: LOL… Your problem is that I dare want real conservatives?

    @anjin-san: The@anjin-san: The sham is that the people he investigates still hold high office.

  27. Whooter says:

    Rutgers and George Mason, Doug? Impressive. Spent anytime in fly over country, or are your life experiences from the northeast? All this poll shows is name recognition. Wait until March when more names are in the mix and see what the polls say then.

  28. humanoid.panda says:

    @Eric Florack: So, Sara “St. Joan of the Tundra Palin” is actually an establishment hack, a RINO, a traitor to the republic? You live, you learn..

  29. Eric Florack says:

    @humanoid.panda: She certainly had the approval of them before they heard her utter conservative ideals. Suddenly she was a problem.

  30. MBunge says:

    Pat Buchanan winning the New Hampshire primary was about a billion times more ridiculous than Huckabee winning the Iowa caucuses. Why is Iowa getting singled out?

    Mike

  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Eric Florack:

    LOL… Your problem is that I dare want real conservatives?

    No, my problem is that you want Birchers. You guys represent the same reactionary fringe of the party base that you always have. The problem these days is that the noise machine allows you to convince yourselves that you represent a majority.

    I’m a conservative, of the Eisenhower variety. You, Dowdy and Issa are just batshit crazy, and you’re killing the party.

  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Eric Florack:

    She was a problem from the outset, and became more of one once she opened her mouth and confirmed to the world that she was (and is) an idiot. There was never a moment when I was more embarrassed to have once been a Republican.

  33. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @anjin-san: Eric is a good representation of an old adage I used to hear when I was in the wholesale produce business:

    “It’s tough to sell off of an empty wagon.”

  34. Ted Malone says:

    Interesting that Huckabee gets accused of not being a conservative by some (Mark Levin as an example) but then a poll in a state like Iowa which shows him well ahead of other potential candidates gets dismissed due to its caucus format being considered as to beneficial to consevative candidates. Which is it, folks?!

    Iowa may not be the most representive state to hold the first caucus/primary in due to its demographics, but which state would be? My guess is that the GOP electorate in any given state that holds a closed primary will look pretty close to Iowa’s. I wonder if this subject would even be brought up if one of the establishment darlings like Romney, Bush or Christie were topping the poll?

  35. ernieyeball says:

    …polling like this indicates that he still holds some sway with the evangelical Christians in Iowa…

    It was in Iowa at a Rediscover God in America conference that Huckleberry uttered these words:

    I almost wish that there would be something like a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, forced — at gun point no less — to listen to every David Barton message. And I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.

    Gotta’ wonder if that sentiment is still ringing in the ears of his supporters.

  36. Kylopod says:

    @Trumwill:

    Meh. While it’s not optimal, the system seems to self-correct given how non-predictive the results of the Iowa Primary are.

    The importance of Iowa–and all the early contests–isn’t about who comes out in first place, it’s about how well the candidates do relative to expectations. That’s why Clinton in ’92 was dubbed “the Comeback Kid” after losing by double-digits to Tsongas in New Hampshire. (What was notable wasn’t that the Clinton team spun it that way, it’s that the media accepted this narrative, and it helped propel him to the nomination.)

    Similarly, a superficial look at the Iowa Republican results in 2008 would suggest that they were irrelevant to the nomination process, since the eventual nominee McCain came out in fourth place, and the winner was Huckabee, whose candidacy then went nowhere. But McCain did a good job of lowering the expectations for himself in Iowa and focusing his attention on NH and South Carolina. Because his loss in Iowa surprised no one, it didn’t cripple his campaign. But because Romney failed to reach first place after being expected to, it did cripple McCain’s leading rival for the nomination. Just like ’92 in New Hampshire, it was all about how well the candidates managed the expectations game.

    Among the absurd consequences of Iowa’s outsize importance is the way candidates from both parties bend over backwards to show their support for ethanol subsidies, something considered bad policy by both liberals and conservatives. This situation would disappear if there was a national primary, or if all primaries and caucuses were held on the same day. There’s no good reason why the interests of Iowa should take precedence over those of other states–it’s just a side effect of its being the state that starts off primary season. You can go “meh” all you want, but it has real implications for the country.

  37. superdestroyer says:

    @anjin-san:

    There is no candidate for the Republicans who appears to have the skill set to be a winning candidate. It is just another sign that the U.S. will be a one party state. Image what happens after the Clinton II administration. Will the establishment Democrats just settle on a candidate like they appear to for 2016 or will there be a variety of candidates in the 2024 Democratic Party Iowa Caucuses who have a differing viewpoints. How will the Democratic Primary be affected when there is no credible Republican Party to use to keep the different Democratic Party power blocks in line. My guess is that the establishment will grow in power and the entire Democratic Party nominating process will be irrelevant by 2024.

  38. trumwill says:

    @Kylopod: The Iowa caucuses do have a a distortionary effect on certain issues, but by virtue of the fact that it is, as you point out, an expectations game, it’s limited and more indicative of the cowardice of our politicians than a fault with the system. And ultimately is not determinative except in culling the herd of politicians unlikely to win in any event.

  39. Ted Malone says:

    @Kylopod:

    If we had a national primary as you suggest, it would be virtually impossible for anyone other than the big money candidates to ever win the nomination. So If you like the thought of Mitt Romney being the nominee every four years, then I guess this would be appealing to some. I’ll take the current system over that possibility.

  40. trumwill says:

    @Ted Malone: Exactly. The staggered primary gave Obama an opportunity to prove himself viable to get more national credibility. Would have been next to impossible (or at least much more difficult) with a fifty state campaign. The solution here would be to rotate early and late primaries among the states. Not going to happen, obviously.

    A national primary would be a gift to establishmentarians and big money candidates.

  41. ernieyeball says:

    This situation would disappear if there was a national primary, or if all primaries and caucuses were held on the same day.

    The Iowa caucuses are an electoral event in which residents of the U.S. state of Iowa meet in precinct caucuses in all of Iowa’s 1,774 precincts and elect delegates to the corresponding county conventions. There are ninety-nine counties in Iowa, and thus there are ninety-nine conventions. These county conventions then select delegates for both Iowa’s Congressional District Convention and the State Convention, which eventually choose the delegates for the presidential nominating conventions.

    Colorado DEM *Precinct Caucus – Tuesday 1 March 2016 (tentative)1
    County Assemblies and Conventions – Friday 25 March – Saturday 23 April 2016 (tentative)
    *District Conventions – Saturday 21 May – Friday 3 June 2016 (tentative)
    *State Convention – Saturday 4 June 2016 (tentative)
    REP *Precinct Caucuses – Tuesday 2 February 2016 (tentative)
    County Assemblies complete – Wednesday 30 March 2016 (tentative)
    *District Conventions – Thursday 7 April – Friday 8 April 2016 (tentative)
    *State Convention – Saturday 9 April 2016 (tentative)

    Hawaii DEM *Precinct Caucus – Wednesday 2 March 2016 (tentative)1
    State Convention – Friday 27 May – Sunday 29 May 2016 (tentative)
    REP *Precinct Caucuses – Tuesday 8 March 2016 (tentative)

    Idaho DEM *County Caucus – Saturday 9 April 2016 (tentative)1
    *State Convention – Thursday 9 June – Saturday 11 June 2016 (tentative)
    REP *County Caucuses – Tuesday 1 March 2016 (tentative)
    State Convention – Thursday 16 June – Saturday 18 June 2016 (tentative)

    Kansas REP *Caucuses – Saturday 12 March 2016 (tentative)
    *Congressional District Conventions – Friday 25 March – Monday 18 April 2016 (tentative)
    *State Party Committee Meeting – Saturday 23 April 2016 (tentative)

    Maine DEM *Municipal Caucuses – Sunday 28 February 2016 (tentative)
    *County Conventions – Tuesday 1 March – Thursday 31 March 2016 (tentative)1
    *State Convention. – Saturday 4 June – Sunday 5 June 2016 (tentative) *Municipal Caucuses / non-binding straw poll – Sunday 31 January – Saturday 5 March 2016 (tentative)
    REP Municipal Caucuses / non-binding straw poll results announced – Saturday 13 February 2016 (tentative)
    *District Caucuses and State Convention – Saturday 7 May – Sunday 8 May 2016 (tentative)

    Minnesota DEM *Precinct Caucuses – Tuesday 2 February 2016 (tentative)1
    Organizing Unit Conventions – Tuesday 1 March – Sunday 10 April 2016 (tentative)
    Congressional District Conventions – Monday 11 April – Friday 3 June 2016 (tentative)
    State Convention – Saturday 4 June – Sunday 5 June 2016 (tentative)
    REP *Precinct Caucuses / non-binding straw poll – Tuesday 2 February 2016 (tentative)
    BPOU Conventions – Friday 19 February – Saturday 26 March 2016 (tentative)
    *District Conventions – Saturday 26 March – Sunday 24 April 2016 (tentative)
    *State Convention – Friday 20 May – Saturday 21 May 2016 (tentative)

    Nebraska DEM *Precinct Caucuses – Saturday 9 April 2016 (tentative)1
    Advisory Primary – Tuesday 10 May 2016 (tentative)
    County Conventions – Friday 3 June – Sunday 12 June 2016 (tentative)
    *State Convention – Saturday 25 June 2016 (tentative)

    Nevada DEM *Non-binding Precinct Viability Caucuses – Saturday 16 January 2016 (tentative)1
    County Conventions – Saturday 9 April 2016 (tentative)
    *State Convention – Saturday 11 June – Sunday 12 June 2016 (tentative) Straw Poll – Friday 16 October 2015 (tentative)
    REP *Precinct Caucuses – Saturday 6 February 2016 (tentative)
    County Conventions – Saturday 12 March – Saturday 2 April 2016 (tentative)
    *State Convention – Saturday 7 May – Sunday 8 May 2016 (tentative)

    North Dakota DEM *Legislative District Caucus – Tuesday 7 June 2016 (tentative)1
    *State Delegate Selection Meeting – Saturday 18 June 2016 (tentative)
    REP *Caucus – Tuesday 1 March 2016 (tentative)
    State Convention – Friday 1 April – Sunday 3 April 2016 (tentative)

    Utah DEM County Conventions – Tuesday 8 March – Thursday 21 April 2016 (tentative)
    *Caucuses – Tuesday 8 March 2016 (tentative)1
    State Convention – Friday 15 April – Saturday 16 April 2016 (tentative)
    REP Precinct Caucuses – Thursday 17 March 2016 (tentative)
    State Convention – Saturday 16 April 2016 (tentative)
    *Primary – Tuesday 28 June 2016 (tentative)

    Washington DEM *Precinct Caucuses – Sunday 17 April 2016 (tentative)1
    Legislative District Caucuses – Saturday 23 April 2016 (tentative)
    County Conventions – Sunday 24 April 2016 (tentative)
    *Congressional District Caucuses – Sunday 15 May 2016 (tentative)
    *State Convention – Friday 3 June – Sunday 5 June 2016 (tentative)
    REP *Precinct Caucuses / Non-binding Straw Poll – Saturday 5 March 2016 (tentative)
    County Conventions / Legislative District Caucus – Saturday 19 March – Saturday 16 April 2016 (tentative)
    County Conventions (last day) – Tuesday 26 April 2016 (tentative)
    *State Convention – Wednesday 1 June – Saturday 4 June 2016 (tentative)

    Wyoming DEM *County Caucuses – Saturday 9 April 2016 (tentative)1
    *State Convention – Saturday 28 May 2016 (tentative)
    DEM Non-binding straw poll – Thursday 11 February – Saturday 27 February 2016 (tentative)
    Last Possible Day for Precinct Caucuses – Wednesday 24 February 2016 (tentative)
    *County Conventions – Tuesday 1 March – Saturday 5 March 2016 (tentative)
    *Convention – Thursday 14 April – Saturday 16 April 2016 (tentative)

    These are the 13 States where the local and state political parties have opted to use caucuses in the selection process of delegates to the National Democratic and Republican Nominating Conventions.

    2016 Primaries:
    Tuesday 12 January DEM *New Hampshire Primary (tentative date)1 REP *New Hampshire Primary (tentative date)
    Saturday 23 January REP *South Carolina Presidential Primary (tentative date) DEM *South Carolina Primary (tentative date)
    Tuesday 26 January DEM *North Carolina Primary (tentative date) REP *North Carolina Primary (tentative date)
    Tuesday 23 February DEM *Michigan Primary (tentative date) REP *Michigan Primary (tentative date)
    Tuesday 1 March DEM*
    *Florida Primary (tentative date)
    *Georgia Primary (tentative date)
    *Massachusetts Primary (tentative date)
    *Oklahoma Primary (tentative date)
    *Tennessee Primary (tentative date)
    *Texas Primary (tentative date)
    *Virginia Primary (tentative date)
    *Vermont Primary (tentative date)
    REP
    *Florida Primary (tentative date)
    *Georgia Primary (tentative date)
    *Massachusetts Primary (tentative date)
    *Oklahoma Primary (tentative date)
    *Tennessee Primary (tentative date)
    *Texas Primary (tentative date)
    *Virginia Primary (tentative date)
    *Vermont Primary (tentative date)
    Saturday 5 March DEM *Louisiana Primary (tentative date) REP *Louisiana Primary (tentative date)
    Tuesday 8 March DEM *Mississippi Primary (tentative date) *Ohio Primary (tentative date)
    REP *Mississippi Primary (tentative date) *Ohio Primary (tentative date)
    Tuesday 15 March DEM*Alabama Primary (tentative date) *Illinois Primary (tentative date)1
    *Missouri Primary (tentative date) REP *Alabama Primary (tentative date) *Illinois Primary (tentative date) Missouri Non-binding Primary (tentative date)
    Tuesday 22 March DEM *Arizona Primary (tentative date) REP *Arizona Primary (tentative date)
    Tuesday 5 April DEM *District of Columbia Primary (tentative date) *Maryland Primary (tentative date) *Wisconsin Primary (tentative date) REP *District of Columbia Primary (tentative date)
    *Maryland Primary (tentative date) *Wisconsin Primary (tentative date)
    Tuesday 26 April DEM *Connecticut Primary (tentative date) *Delaware Primary (tentative date) *New York Primary (tentative date) *Pennsylvania Primary (tentative date) *Rhode Island Primary (tentative date) REP*Connecticut Primary (tentative date) *Delaware Primary (tentative date)
    *New York Primary (tentative date) *Pennsylvania Primary (tentative date) *Rhode Island Primary (tentative date)

  42. C. Clavin says:

    Changing the caucus system won’t help the Republicans.
    Neither will messaging.
    They simply have run out of ideas.
    Old white guys get tired easily. It’s hard thinking of new ideas to solve new problems.
    Thus the 21% approval rating for Republicans in Congress.

  43. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    If you look at the idea of Bernie Sanders, there straigt out of the 1930’s: higher taxes, a larger federal government, more spending, a smaller private sector. When did giving more power to the federal government become a new idea.

  44. ernieyeball says:

    Well Hell. Hit the Post Comment button instead of preview.
    Here’s the link:
    http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P16/events.phtml?s=c
    Considering that these caucuses and primaries are currently run by the local and state political parties I would like anyone to post up a draft of what would have to be federal legislation to remove them from the process and have One National Presidential Primary.
    I don’t think it will ever happen.
    Wait. There’s more. This will reform the selection process for Presidential Candidates.
    State and Local office candidates are selected with all these caucuses and primaries along with Pres. and VP. I guess we can still leave that process alone and let the state political parties have those picks.

  45. Tillman says:

    @Ted Malone:

    Iowa may not be the most representive state to hold the first caucus/primary in due to its demographics, but which state would be?

    Ohio?

    Honestly, the calendar shouldn’t be done as it is with one state one week, one state another week, and then a bunch of states afterwards. It should be three or four states on one day, two weeks separation, four or five states, etc. Rotation of the schedule for which states get which days, etc.

  46. ernieyeball says:

    @Tillman:..It should be three or four states on one day, two weeks separation, four or five states, etc

    So you want federal legislation to dictate to the local and state political parties how they choose delegates to the National Democratic and Republican Conventions?

  47. C. Clavin says:

    @superdestroyer:
    Bernie Sanders?
    A smaller Private Sector? I’ll need a link for that.
    As for the ideas…you don’t need new ideas if the ideas you have work. For 30 years we’ve chased Republican economic theories and they just don’t work. Yet Republicans keep going back to the same FAILED ideas. Hence the need for something new.

  48. Kylopod says:

    @trumwill:

    it’s limited and more indicative of the cowardice of our politicians than a fault with the system.

    The pandering I was speaking about is “cowardice” only in the sense that giving an armed robber your money is cowardice. It’s the type of cowardice for which there’s a fine line between courage and stupidity. When Tim Pawlenty went to Iowa in 2011 and spoke out against ethanol subsidies, that took some testicular fortitude. He was rewarded for it by getting clobbered in the Ames Straw Poll, prompting him to drop out of the race. McCain proved that it is possible to get clobbered in Iowa and still end up winning the nomination–but it required a very particular set of circumstances that not every candidate faces.

    And anyway, my complaint isn’t that politicians pander, it’s that they’re being compelled to pander to an absurdly unrepresentative slice of the population.

    If we had a national primary as you suggest, it would be virtually impossible for anyone other than the big money candidates to ever win the nomination.

    And that’s different from the current system…how? Oh, I see. You said:

    The staggered primary gave Obama an opportunity to prove himself viable to get more national credibility.

    The notion that Obama wasn’t a “big money” candidate is a myth. It’s a myth that Obama himself has been happy to perpetuate, but it isn’t true:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/apr/22/barack-obama/obama-campaign-financed-large-donors-too/

    The solution here would be to rotate early and late primaries among the states.

    Now you’re starting to talk sense. Rotating the states that start off primary season would be a definite improvement over what we currently have. I’m not expecting this to happen anytime soon, but it’s a hell of a lot more realistic than a hand-waving “politicans should stop being cowards,” which is just a way of saying politicians should stop being politicans.

  49. ernieyeball says:

    @Kylopod: Now you’re starting to talk sense.

    What does talking sense have to do with political reality?
    To rotate the dates of the election of delegates to the National Conventions of the two major political parties in the United States would require the cooperation of the National Democratic and Republican camps, over 100 state political parties (50 Rep 50 Dem). Plus Puerto Rico, Virgin Is., American Samoa, DC (that’s our nations capitol for those of you at TSA), Guam, Northern Marianas.
    Sixty Two State level political organizations that are dependent on county and city political groups at the precinct and district levels for political support.
    How will Iowa and New Hampshire be forced to give up their early dates? What if the political parties in Iowa say “Screw you. This is an internal party matter. We will not cooperate in such a scheme.”
    Utah and Missouri are two states where one party has a primary and the other holds caucuses.
    I wonder how the federal congressional delegations from those two states will vote on what will have to be laws out of Washington DC that will force this primary rotation schedule on the countless state and local jurisdictions to bring it about.
    Lest we forget. Politics 1 lists the “Big Three” Third Parties in alphabetical order as Constitution, Green and Libertarian plus 32 other United States Political Parties.
    http://www.politics1.com/parties.htm
    In the great American tradition of inclusion and one citizen one vote I’m sure all these inhabitants will have a relevant voice in this endeavor to reform United States election laws.

  50. Trumwill says:

    @Kylopod: John McCain demonstrated in 2000 that forsaking Iowa can be done. He lost the primary in the overall, but not because of Iowa. The fact that he spurned ethanol subsidies and didn’t compete there gave him a pass. The roadmap is there. I agree that politicians are loathe to take it (McCain didn’t do it again in 2008), but I don’t think it’s accurate to say that they “have” to.

    The donorship size distrobution in Iowa in 2008 doesn’t actually tell us a lot about whether or not Obama would have had the money and credibility to run a 50-state campaign. I don’t believe he would have. He desperately needed to prove that he could win over particular demographics.

    I think staggering the primaries is about as realistic as a national primary is about as realistic as expecting politicians not to sell their soul to corn subsidies. For some of the same reasons that @ernieyeball mentions. All of them rely on a degree of backbone. Specifically, in the former two cases, the parties would basically have to get together and agree not to seat delegates from states that don’t abide by the rules, and then actually follow through with the threat.

    All of which is incredibly unlikely. In the meantime, we have an early caucus in IA and an early primary in NH that aren’t very predictive towards the winner, that may skew certain issues (though it’s not actually clear to me how much, given the localized benefit and dispersed costs of such subsidies), but that in my opinion nonetheless has a distinct advantage over a national primary.

  51. Trumwill says:

    @ernieyeball: As mentioned previously, the parties could refuse to seat delegates who vote out of order. They could also refuse to seat product delgates of caucus votes, though I don’t see it as being the big deal that Doug does.

    The government could also refuse to fund primaries that occur outside of National Primary Day or staggered primary days. But the parties themselves could still fund them. As with prohibiting caucuses, there isn’t too much that the government can do on its own because you’re talking about First Amendment issues at some point.

  52. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    For 70 years the U.S. had pursued a policy of growing government, creating entitlements, and believing that the economic conditions that existed after World War II were the natural state of the world. Now we have a country where the middle class cannot afford to have children, where a good house in a good neighborhood is unaffordable to most Americans, and where the percentage of working age adults who actually have a job is going down. And what is the plan for Democrats: expand entitlements, increase the costs of labor, increase the size of government, and to educate people for jobs that do not exist.

  53. superdestroyer says:

    @Kylopod:

    The first party that tries to take the power away from New Hampshire and Iowa is basically conceding those states to the other party. Maybe when the U.S. becomes a one party state and the Democratic Primaries are the real elections, the Democrats will decide to take away New Hampsires and Iowa’s first in the nation status and design a system where more than two states will get to determine who the next president is.

  54. C. Clavin says:

    @superdestroyer:
    Why don’t you check the average tax rate during those 70 years and get back to us.
    You don’t seem to be able to grasp the impact of the 30 year Republican war on the middle-class…and it’s relation to the previous era.
    Given your lack of self-awareness…it’s not surprising your analytic abilities are also weak.

  55. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: We’ve heard you whining in exactly these words about ten million times. So now that you’ve laid out what you see as our problems, what do you see as the solutions?

    Or are you just going to start yapping about scary brown people again?

  56. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    If you add up taxes for all sources, they are about the same. The goverment operates on about 22% of GDP but is currently on a course for 25% GDP. Sure, marginal income taxes rates used to be higher but now payroll taxes are much higher and on a pathway for growing more.

    What is interesting is the the left cannot decide what is the most important policy for the government such as comprehensive immigration reform versus protecting the environment.

  57. Tony W says:

    @superdestroyer: The “left” does not get to choose what legislation the obstructionists in the House pass.

  58. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    I do not believe that there are any workable solutions. That is why politicis is in its current situation. At best, politics has become a game of choosing the winners and losers.

    Also, Ezra Klein at Vox.com agrees with me that if politics is about the delivery of entitlements to special interest blocks, then one party is enough is policy making is baiscally liberal. http://www.vox.com/2014/9/15/6131919/democrats-and-republicans-really-are-different

    The real question for the future is what are the impacts of the coming one party state and how it will affect policy and governance. It appears to me that at least a few political scientist are beginning to think about such issue. The first guess is that the government is going to be much bigger while asking less of most people. I think of it as big government libertarianism. The culture of black America is a good example of big government libertarianism and is probably a good model for the future.

  59. ernieyeball says:

    What was unprecedented in the 2012 Iowa Caucus compared to previous Iowa Caucuses?

    The one major difference in the Iowa Caucus for 2012 was the spending by PACs for individual candidates. Our total number for the above-candidates without the PACs would be around $12,988,282 total, which would be less money spent in Iowa than in 2008 for just the Republican candidates alone. However, when we add in the PACs spending for Iowa, we have to add another $4,606,155, which makes the total spent in Iowa around $17,594,397. Therefore, there was more money spent in the 2012 Iowa Caucus election cycle, with just the Republican candidates, than in the past. The candidates who benefited the most from PACs were Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich. During the 2008 Iowa Caucus, the Republican candidates spent around $16,471,374 total for TV ads and support services. In 2012, the PACs increased the spending in Iowa by roughly $1,123,023. This makes 2012 one of the more profitable years for money spent in Iowa.

    http://www.iowacaucus.biz/index.html
    I’m still waiting for advocates of a National Primary or a Rotating Primary or another scheme that will somehow force the Citizens of Iowa and other States to abandon Political Party Caucuses to post a draft of the legislation that will bring this about.

  60. Trumwill says:

    @ernieyeball: See my above comment. There are two things that can be done.

    Extremely unlikely, but effective: Amend the Constitution to nationalize presidential elections, stating that candidates who recieve the nomination from non-approved processes cannot appear on the ballot.

    Less unlikely, not as effective: The parties refuse to seat the delegates from states that don’t play by the rules. Most likely, Iowa and New Hampshire would shrug it off. Neither are very populous states, and so having unseated delegates first would still be as advantageous.

    The parties could threaten to swamp their influence by lining up huge states afterwards, so that the candidates spend their time in Texas and California because they can’t afford to waste time in Iowa. This would be a cure worse than the disease by far, in my view. But it’s something they could do.

    Most likely, the placement of Iowa and New Hampshire would end up having to be conceded, and the parties should focus on rotating them after that. This would create short term problems, but if they stuck with it, it would probably work as the parties make clear that they’re not going to budge.

    All of this is pretty unlikely, though.

  61. ernieyeball says:

    @Trumwill: See my above comment.

    I saw your above comment.
    I agree with this.

    All of this is pretty unlikely, though.

  62. C. Clavin says:

    @superdestroyer:
    Taxes, when the top marginal rate was 90%, were about the same as they are now???
    WTF are you smoking? Crack with an LSD chaser?

  63. trumwill says:

    Taxes as a percentage of the gdp are actually pretty close to what they were when marginal taxes were at 90%. 17.3 in 1960, 16.7 last year.

  64. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The percentage of the GDP consumed by the federal government has been average around 22% for decades. http://blogs-images.forbes.com/warrenmeyer/files/2011/07/federal-spending-percent-2.gif The percentage of the GDP that the government consumes was lower when the top marginal tax rate was 90%. The idea that taxes are lower now is falses because payroll taxes are much more significant than they were in the 1950’s.

    The real question for the future is what is the maximum percentage of the GDP that the government can consume (at all levels) and how small can the private sector be to support such spending.

  65. superdestroyer says:

    @trumwill:

    Thanks for the back up. What is amazing is how people have forgotten about all of the other taxes but income taxes. In the 1950’s, social security taxes were much lower than today. What is amazing is how many progressives want to increase income taxes (on the rich) not to balance the budget to to fund new entitlements and new pork barrel spending. Since they know that Americans will not tolerate paying full fare for the government they want, I suspect that annual budget deficits will continue forever or until interest payment push out other forms of government spending.

  66. ernieyeball says:

    The parties refuse to seat the delegates from states that don’t play by the rules.

    Thanks for reminding me…

    In the 2008 Republican primary, states that ran early primaries were punished by a reduction of 50% in the number of delegates they could send to the national convention. Extension of this idea would set timing tiers, under which states that ran earlier primaries would send proportionally fewer delegates to the national convention, and states that waited would get a higher proportional number of delegates to the convention….In practice, however, this timing tier system has not prevented states from moving their primaries. During the 2012 Republican primary, Florida and several other states still moved their primaries to earlier dates despite being penalized delegates.

    Note that this is state political parties defying the rules of their national overlords. It’s not like the local parties were breaking any state or federal election laws.

  67. trumwill says:

    @ernieyeball: I was aware of that, which is honestly where I got the idea from. Florida is big enough that taking away some of their delegates isn’t sufficient. Missouri, meanwhile, held separate caucuses specifically to avoid the penalty. Anyway, I’m not talking about talking away half. I’m talking about taking away all of them. That would have more of an effect. Small states with little to lose wouldn’t defy it, but states like Florida and Missouri probably would. Especially if there were a plan in place where they would get their day in the sun in a future election.

    The stumbling block is getting both parties to agree to a uniform plan, seriously penalizing states they will be seriously competing for. Especially Florida.