If you have turned on your phone, gone online, or passed by any newspaper recently you’ve probably heard about the Iowa Caucus, especially this year. The presidential election of 2016 has been on news headlines since the beginning of last year and when it comes to politics, no matter what side you’re on, it’s clear that the election of 2016 will be bigger than ever, but the question at hand is what makes the Iowa caucus important, if anything.
Most news stations cover the Iowa caucus, blog sites offer live feeds, and polls are conducted and kept up to date, but the significance of the caucus itself is small. If I solely listened to the news report I could have sworn that we were electing the next president right then and there. Iowa is a focal point, it doesn’t determine the president, but the media focuses on Iowa because it’s the first state to caucus, even though the Hawkeye state isn’t accurate at narrowing down the candidates. Presidents such as Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton all lost at the Iowa caucus and went on to claim the seat of commander in chief. Iowa being a focal point for political media is an outdated practice that has been popular since the 1970s, the caucus took place before the 70s, but the media actually started focusing on the state around that time. Does this still make sense in 2016? I don’t know, I’m a college student, not a politician.
So far for the Republican party 29 delegates have decided their pick for the nominee, the top three being Ted Cruz with 8, Donald Trump with 7, and Marco Rubio with 7. For the Democratic Party 44 delegates have chosen, 23 for Hillary Clinton and 21 for Bernie Sanders. It is exciting to see actual numbers that mean something, but it should be remembered that for a Republican candidate to be elected the nominee, 1,237 delegates are needed and for Democratic nomination 2,382 are needed.
What can we take from the Iowa Caucus?
Politics is complicated, often times it is as clear as mud. Dividing up slips of paper with names on them can lead to errors, but there are many things in today’s politics that can be considered outdated, Iowa being a focal point, slips of paper being used by delegates, but there’s a thin line between where we should go, and which traditions should stay in place. What we can take from the caucus is that we have a pretty good indication of whose in the top rankings. For the Republicans, Cruz, Trump and now Rubio will be battling it out over the next few debates and caucuses and into the primaries. The Democratic party has Sanders and Clinton head-to-head, being so close that no one can be declared as leading as of yet.
And what now?
Now we hurry up and wait. The last primary will be held on June 7, which means in July the official presidential nominees will be selected. Now that 2016 is upon us, what the candidates do and say can really help or hurt them, and every day and every vote is beginning to count.