Three Thoughts Inspired by this Week’s Iowa Primary


    ( – promoted by lowkell)

    Thought # 1: It borders on scandal that –every presidential cycle– certain states get a grossly disproportionate say in choosing presidential nominees. I have nothing against Iowa and New Hampshire, but JUSTICE is one of my paramount values, and the current situation is far from just.

    I gather that the political parties are afraid to do anything about it, but here’s what I think should be done:

    There should be a breakdown of the states according to a few variables, such as: 1) small state, big state, 2) degree of diversity of population (or representativeness of the nation as a whole in terms of ethnicity, urban or rural, etc., 3) geographic region.

    Every cycle, the schedule should be composed with a cycling among the states as to which go first, which later. The earliest primaries should be from the small state category, so that candidates with less prominence and money have a chance to present themselves through retail politics. Thereafter, the groupings should be of similar KINDS of states, but in an order that changes from cycle to cycle.

    Currently, two states get the big roles EVERY time, and these two states are not representative of the country in various crucial ways.

    This is not just. It is a form of disenfranchisement.

    Thought # 2: I continue to think that the big problem faced by the G.O.P. is that the propagandists of the right have generated a crazed base that’s misinformed and out of touch with reality. The result is that candidates have to choose between a) being crazy b) acting crazy, or c) being politically irrelevant for the GOP primary process.

    I have no fondness for Mitt Romney, but if the Republican Party were a normal political party– the way it was in, say, 1988, or even as late as 1996– he could and would have presented himself in an entirely different way. His overweening ambition would still have existed, but it would not have driven him to manifest such a complete lack of principal or integrity. He could have been much more himself, and come out of this process looking to the nation like a competent, bright fellow holding basically mainstream ideas– which he likely is.

    And most of the rest of the current field would simply never have bobbed to the surface. Instead, we’d have other more or less normal American presidential candidates like, say, Mitch Daniels of Indiana.


    Thought # 3:

    It is puzzling to me, and somewhat troubling, that despite the G.O.P. presidential nominating mess –despite the widespread, and I think valid, interpretation that the big winner in Iowa was President Obama– the betting on Intrade on Obama’s re-election has not budged. The probability of his re-election has been in the 50-52 percent range for some weeks, and I don’t understand why the Republican troubles have not increased those numbers.

    Was this Republican disarray already fully included in the calculations of the Intrade bettors a couple of months ago? Do people think that the G.O.P.’s serious problems do not affect the likely ultimate outcome in November? Is there some kind of disconnect between the news on the Republican side and the way people are assessing President Obama’s chances?

    It puzzles me. What’s the reason?


    Andy Schmookler is running for Congress in the 6th Congressional District of Virginia, challenging the incumbent Congressman, Bob Goodlatte.  An award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, Andy moved with his family to Shenandoah County in 1992.  He is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.  


    To learn more about Andy, please go to his website. You may also follow Andy on Facebook and on Twitter.  


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