Caring About Caucuses
Democrat or Republican, what's so important...or depending on your view, unimportant about the Iowa caucuses? The two party leaders I spoke to say Iowa may not be a good indicator of who the GOP nominee will be, but both Republicans and Democrats in Florida can still learn a thing or two from the caucus in the Midwest.
“Caucuses can be really the most hard core of any political party going out in the snow, the rain, whatever, to go caucus and choose somebody,” says Stafford Jones, Chairman of the Alachua County Republican Party.
So the dedicated caucus goers can be a sounding board for Republican voters in the Sunshine State. But democrats? Iowa is important to them because the Republican nominee eventually be the one they will work to beat.
According to Alachua County Democratic Party Chairman, John Reiskind:
“There are consequences, national consequences not only to who we choose to be president but who we choose to be the nominees of our major political parties.”
But using Iowa as a litmus test for the political race may not be entirely accurate. Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 went on to win the GOP nomination after winning Iowa-- but they're the only two in the past 25 years.
“The odd thing about Iowa," says Reiskind, "is that each time a candidate becomes popular, as we get to know him or her, they lose their popularity, in this case with the Iowan caucus goers.”
And while front runners trade places in the run up to the Iowa caucuses, the advice seems to be to take all the gear shifting with a grain of salt.
“It is important to pay attention," says Jones, "to see how the process works and again to see how the candidates react throughout the process. There’s a lot to be learned from that, to learn how the candidates react and that can be for voters in Florida you know, picking up on those kinds of cues they can apply to their own decisions.”
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