You gotta start somewhere. Iowa is as good or bad a place as any. And it is small enough (apparently) to allow a less-financed/establishment candidate to compete and then launch from there. At least, that's the theory.
If either party started in California, Texas or New York (for example), the money candidate would have an even bigger advantage than currently exists. Romney's PACS have started dumping money into Iowa, we'll see if it helps him get over the 25% ceiling he keeps hitting.
Eat Mor Jonny.
If Romney wins Iowa, the nomination is o...v...e...r, over. If Paul wins Iowa and Romney finished second, it's almost as good for Romney--a lot like 2008 for McCain. But, if Paul wins and one of the three 10 percenters (Perry, Bachmann, Santorum) manages to finish an unexpectedly strong third, maybe they emerge as a challenger to Romney in South Carolina. If I had to put money on one of the three, it would be Santorum. He's about the only candidate left who hasn't enjoyed the anybody-but-Romney bounce and he's a darling of social conservatives, who play a disproportionate role in the caucuses.
In any case, I think Iowa is usually fairly consequential to the overall outcome.
I do agree with your general premise though, that the drawn out process allows us to get to know everyone. Edwards is just not a good example.
I think we all agree that if we have early nominating contests in big states, it makes money perhaps the biggest factor in determining the winner. Starting with smaller states, where the voters really get to know the candidates, probably makes sense. I think the problem though is with Iowa and New Hampshire always getting to go first.
Now, some must be eliminated because, despite a small size, they represent an expensive media market. Iowa and Connecticut are about the same size, but Connecticut is an extremely expensive media market because it piggy-backs onto New York. Same with Delaware and its connection to Philly.
But, states like Rhode Island, New Mexico, Nevada, Kansas, Arkansas, Maine, and Mississippi deserve a shot at being early in the nominating process at some point. I don't see how this would be a bad idea. They are all smaller than Iowa. Heck, if we allowed states even a little bit larger than Iowa then we could get into places like Oregon, Oklahoma, and Kentucky.
The one thing I will say in favor of the status quo is that Iowa and NH are old pros at doing this. The citizens and the media in those states know what retail campaigning is about and they do a great job at cutting through the BS and really getting to know the candidates. I think the citizens of those states take their role in the electoral process very seriously and are studious about the candidates. I am fairly sure you would not get the same thing if we had a dozen or more states rotating through the early voting role.
-Jason "even with smaller states first, money is a HUGE factor. It has greatly curtailed Newt's ability to run a successful campaign" Evans
To piggyback off your point regarding Newt's money-induced limitations, may we attempt discussing the implications of Citizens United and its aftershocks in this campaign cycle, or should we leave that be?
Nevada tried to frontrun NH this time around. One of the people behind this was a girl named... wait for it... Amy Tarkanian. Don't ask; you already know the answer.
You must spread some comments around before flaming the Moderators again.
-Jason "my guidance, as always, put yourself in the shoes of someone who disagrees with your side and see if your post would anger them" Evans
Maybe all that time in Iowa is finally paying off...
CNN has him at 16%.
If he surges, there's not enough time left for his opponents to do much about it.
http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes...nute-momentum/ ) lays out the Iowa situation much better than I can. It's a must-read, but long/short -- if one of the social conservative candidates (Santorum, Perry, Bachman) can get some momentum for that base to coalesce around, they can spring up pretty quickly here at the end.
Eat Mor Jonny.
As a former CNNer, it pains me to say this but the CNN poll is a piece of junk. They only polled registered republicans even though the Iowa caucus allows people to quickly and easily change party or register for a party on Caucus night. Lots of Ron Paul supporters, many of whom are independents, may not be registered GOP today but you can bet they will show up and vote for him on election night. As a result, the poll probably understates Paul's support by 4-6 points.
At least that is what PPP and Nate Silver are saying on Twitter.
-Jason "if Nate says it is so... I trust him" Evans
While his debating skills are in doubt, he and his team are masters at campaigns and timing of attacks. The absolute obliteration of Kay Bailey Hutchison in what many thought would be a competitive primary in 2010 was pretty impressive, regardless of where you stand.
That said, democratic supporters with cash have been funneling money into his campaign because they seriously doubt he could win a general election.
Claiming more disrespect than Rodney Dangerfield got from his wife, Gary Johnson leaves the Republican party to run as a Libertarian. I honestly had no idea he was even running, so good luck, buddy.
"Frankly, I have been disappointed by the treatment I received in the Republican nomination process. I had hoped to lay out a real libertarian message on all the issues in the Republican contest. The process was not fair and open."