Monday, February 06, 2012
Iowa Caucuses Scheduled For Tonight!
That's right. Once upon a time the Iowa caucuses were scheduled for tonight. In an ideal world, the Super Bowl would be in January and the Iowa Caucuses would be in February. The NFL didn't oblige, but both parties agreed to a rational 2012 schedule that started a month later than last cycle's insanely early January 3 kickoff. Both parties agreed to the same batting order: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina.
But then Florida had to throw a tantrum again and break the rules. As a result, Nevada got bumped from third back to fifth, and we Iowans had to meet, once again, two days after New Year's. We had to, for the first time ever in a presidential year, meet in the old precincts instead of the new, with ripple effects across every county central committee in the state. (I wound up with three precinct captains in my new precinct, one elected in each of three old precincts, so I need to resign the seat I just won on caucus night.)
With the date not finalized till late fall, we had one month less to prepare. How many counting glitches could have been prevented with five more weeks to recruit and train precinct chairs?
Worst of all, our youngest voters were shut out of the caucus process again. The last presidential cycle we had a caucus on a student-friendly date, January 19, 2004, the Iowa Memorial Union was so full that the University threatened to call the fire marshal. This year, and granted my team was uncontested, we had exactly ONE Democrat show up in dorm-dominated Iowa City Precinct 5--the head resident at one of the halls.
Tonight, with the dorms full and the Christmas vacationers back at work, we are supposed to be meeting for our caucuses. Remember that now. Remember that in August when the state that forced a January date on us hosts the Republican convention.