Those Crazy Caucuses

cornBy some kind of twisted logic, the caucuses in Iowa today will impact the lives of millions of Americans who couldn’t find Iowa on a map.

Hardly anybody lives in Iowa. Do you know anyone who does? I was there once a long time ago, covering a contest between a Canadian owned tractor and an American machine.  As I recall, the Canadian one won.

I remember driving through a tunnel of corn – miles and miles of corn on both sides of the road. We stopped for a drink and a bite at a road house. It was made of rough-hewn wood and seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. There was a live band – country music of course.

In such a place you would expect the “evangelical vote” to be big.  What else do the inhabitants have to do but go to church?

Yet, as the media and the political powers have decreed, these rustic innocents set the stage for regime change in the world’s number one democracy.

The media are there in full force today. They were there all weekend. Even those lazy layabouts at MSNBC who never ever work on weekends were there yesterday and the day before, prognosticating like crazy.

From what they have to say, and from the various polls they excitedly cite, it’s a razor-thin competition between Hillary and Bernie, with Martin O’Malley as the king (or queen) maker. Apparently his handful of supporters could determine the outcome.

Yes, I know that’s a confusing concept but – hey – it’s the caucuses remember? The trusty Iowans don’t just pick a winner. They keep voting until there’s a clear majority. Any candidate who doesn’t get 15 percent of each vote is chopped and that candidate’s delegates get to go with some other candidate.

In other words, if there are 100 people caucusing at some location and 14 or fewer say they’re voting for O’Malley, then O’Malley would get zero delegates in that precinct and his supporters would get to choose Hillary or Bernie.

Of course, the O’Malley voters don’t have to accept their candidate’s recommendation. They can make up their own minds.

Republican caucus goers are expected to settle on Donald Trump, with Ted Cruz as second choice. But with all those evangelicals caucusing, who knows what will happen?

They picked Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012. Remember?

The weirdest thing is how much the caucuses in tiny Iowa will influence the presidential primaries.

The winners will get so much media attention they will head into the rest of the campaign season with enhanced credibility. And, conversely, the losers will be left with so much ground to make up that some of them will probably quit the race.

How the caucus works

More on the evangelicals