Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Reason to give a second middle finger to the Iowa caucuses

As if all the reasons I outlined below weren't enough to hate the Iowa caucuses, the New York Times just ran an excellent story about how they don't even work well for the people of Iowa:

Because the caucuses, held in the early evening, do not allow absentee voting, they tend to leave out nearly entire categories of voters: the infirm, soldiers on active duty, medical personnel who cannot leave their patients, parents who do not have baby sitters, restaurant employees on the dinner shift, and many others who work in retail, at gas stations and in other jobs that require evening duty...

“Just as nonrepresentative as Iowa is of the country, Iowa caucusgoers are nonrepresentative of Iowa as a whole,” said Samuel Issacharoff, who teaches election law at New York University.

And just as with everything else about our idiotic election system, there's no argument to be made in favor of the caucus that remotely justifies excluding soldiers and single parents and waiters. Here's the best anyone could muster for the Times:

“It’s magic to see people stand up and declare their support for a candidate, and it’s a community activity,” said Gordon Fischer, a former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party.

So that's why we elect people the way we do in the United States? Because it's "magic?"

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