Monday, September 28, 2015

Iowa: More Than Ethanol and Corn

Hello and welcome to yet another week of my blog starting. Today's topic is about the end of my Iowa Presidential Caucuses class, which I completed today. I also earned a certificate for completing this course.

It was taught by Dr. Steffan Schmidt, Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University. I learned a whole lot about the political process through this class. I learned  that Iowa is the first caucus, but New Hampshire is the first primary. 

Some other things I learned include that not the Iowa governor, but the New Hampshire governor, would "fight to the death" to maintain the Iowa caucuses first in the nation, New Hampshire primaries second. That way, they don't have as much pressure.

Iowa is like a training ground, or a weeding out ground, so to speak. They weed out candidates who won't do well.  I also learned that if you do not do well in the caucuses (first, second or third), you will not do well nationally.

An example, Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton in Iowa, but he lost in New Hampshire (2008). He still went on to win the nomination and win the presidency. Jimmy Carter was a "nobody", but won Iowa against well known people. He wound up winning the nomination and then the presidency. He went from becoming "Jimmy Who" to President Carter.

I learned that you do not have to be really famous and put a lot of money into it to win. Sometimes, if you are like Hillary Clinton in '08 and do not spend time getting to know the people in Iowa and act like you are the "shoe in" - well, if you act like that, chances are you are going to lose. You have to put real effort into Iowa. Iowans do not care if you are well known, but they expect the candidates to go around to all 99 counties and maybe hang around in a coffee shop or a deli. A lot of Iowans expect to meet the presidential candidates. That right there - that they expect to meet candidates - is viewed as almost ridiculous by people in the other 49 states.

  Finally, the caucuses are not the "horse races", so to speak, that the media portrays them as. The media doesn't give Iowa enough credit. They describe Iowa as being just about ethanol and corn. Journalists, though,  just go into Iowa a day or two before the caucuses, report on it and fly out to New Hampshire. 

They don't spend much time there. That is why you do not hear much about those who came in 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th. Since the caucuses began in 1972 (if I recall), there hasn't been a single person who won the party nomination who didn't come in 1st, 2nd or 3rd in Iowa. That tells me that Iowa is much more important that ethanol and corn! The caucuses are much more complicated than that, national news media people!

Course Background Information
This was a four week course, each one containing a different Iowa-caucus-related topic. There was "Week 1: History of the Caucuses", "Week 2: Digging Into the Caucuses", "Week 3: Role of Media and Technology", and "Week 4: Future of the Caucuses". There were videos to accompany each unit, and they were:

 Week 1: History of the Caucuses

-Interview with Dr. Chis Larimer

- History of Caucuses, Iowa Public Television

- Interview with Richard Seagrave and Richard Bender

- The Choice 2008

 Week 2: Digging Into the Caucuses

 -Interview with Mary Richards

- Primaries, Caucuses and Conventions

-Caucus stories of the first Caucus and other caucuses

Week 3: Role of Media and Technology

-Iowa Political Scientists Meet 

  -Interview with Dave Price

- "Anything for a Vote" 

 Week 4: Future of the Caucuses

Well, that's all for today, folks! I hope to see you tomorrow on School Stories (Where School Is ALWAYS In Session!)!

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