With the elections coming up, the candidates need as much support as they can from the major states. But why is it that the voting usually starts not in the major states, but rather in Iowa?
The elections start with the Iowa Caucus. The Caucus works by doing an open voting session. The people show up to their precinct and enter into a room, where there they physically move to a spot to which delegate they support. A candidate needs at least 15% of the votes to remain viable and if a candidate is not viable, then the voters realign themselves with a candidate that is viable (CNN). Although it may seem odd to most people, this is how the Iowa Caucus works, but the question is, why is it that the critical states are not targeted more in the beginning? The reason can be dated back to the 1968 Democratic Convention.
It was a tough year at that time due to the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and a presidential candidate, Robert Kennedy. President Lyndon B. Johnson withdrew from the race as well and his vice president, Hubert Humphrey joined the race. Since he publicly supported President Johnson’s views on the Vietnam War, it caused anti-war protestors to become upset. Due to the protestors being upset, it led to the protestors clashing with police outside of the convention hall that the Democratic leaders were inside of (History.com).
Despite not winning any primaries, Hubert Humphrey won the Democratic nomination, which led to more anger. The Deomcratic party leaders wanted to repair the damages that were made by creating the McGovern-Fraser Commission. The purpose of the commission was to improve the nomination process so that voters can have a direct say and to ensure that there was no dirty work going on behind the scenes. The state party leaders have to give a 30 day prior notice so that everyone can participate. But Iowa needed a bit of a boost (History.com).
Since Iowa has four statewide events that include the Caucuses, conventions, and more,, Iowa needed a head start. What really brought attention to the importance of the Iowa Caucus was with President Jimmy Carter. President Carter’s campaign did not really have the money to compete against the other big states in the early stages of the election so he focused on Iowa. He eventually won the presidency which was a surprise to most people. Due to that, Iowa was deemed as somewhat crucial and Iowa has played huge parts in other candidates like President George W. Bush and Barack Obama (History.com).
Audrey Filipescu (10) said, “I think that they start in the middle because the state will be a swing state and not only that there is a smaller population.” Although Iowa does not seem as crucial or as important, Iowa can still make a difference in the elections.