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Iowa in the rearview mirror

February 2, 2016

With Iowa now in the rearview mirror, it’s crystal clear that politics as usual took a hit.

On the Democratic side, if the “inevitable” candidate’s victory speech is “I am breathing a huge sigh of relief tonight” it signals something other than inevitability.

If Mrs. Clinton’s victory holds, it is due to the luck of a coin toss rather than the strength of her campaign.  It’s clear that Bernie Sanders capitalized on the dissatisfaction of voters in a state that has traditionally toed the party line.

On the Republican side, 90% of the vote went to “outsider” or nontraditional candidates. This is not a good time to be a retired or sitting governor, and apparently being a failed candidate in prior contests isn’t much help either.

Of the three candidates capturing the so-called top three tickets out of Iowa, one has no political job experience at all and neither of the other two have completed a full term in a national office.

Of course this pregame show  isn’t about the actual general election, it’s about picking the candidate to populate the party tickets in November.

As far as determining without question who is chosen as the actual election nominee, Iowa is reported to control a relatively paltry 70-80 nominating convention delegates in 2016, with Republicans owning 30 and Democrats 44 according to one report and 71 in another. Other outlets cite figures as high as 80 by factoring in bonus delegates.

Suffice it to say, Iowa has not elected a president.

Instead it is defining a trend, and that trend validates the conventional wisdom that voters want anyone but establishment hacks.

Speaking of trends…if the results verify when certified by the state, the big winner may be Microsoft.

As noted above, the current method of picking our nation’s leaders is still based on 18th and 19th century models.

In an effort to be both fair and honest, the U.S. election process is cumbersome  by design, and is made even more so by the limits of human accuracy. Remember the infamous “hanging chad” election of 2000? Or more recently,  waiting days for news that Rick Santorum had won Iowa in 2012?

As noted above, even deciding quickly how many delegates are available involves a process that is nearly incomprehensible to the average voter and that often doesn’t produce an iron-clad total on election night.  In fact, it’s so complicated that courses explaining it are available online.

Without getting too far out in left field, perhaps the election of 2016 will be a baby step toward the day when the only barrier to instant election results will be your access to a digital device and the speed of your internet connection.

Until then, perhaps the best we can expect is by the middle and surely the end of February, economic reality will have narrowed the GOP field to a manageable total, making casting your vote somewhat more consequential.

Until then, we can look forward to doing this all over again in a week in New Hampshire.

Tally ho!

From → op-ed

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