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The Iowa caucus
is great for one thing: the economy of Iowa. Aside from that it is quite meaningless. Rather a silly episode for starting out the campaigning, but it is the beginning.
BTW: Did you know that in 2004 less than 6% of eligible voters in Iowa took part in this "not a real voting" process?
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This comment shows a lack of understanding of the American Electoral system. Polls in New Hampshire shown as much as a 10% jump for Barack Obama's numbers after his win in Iowa, and have shown a considerable drop in Romney's lead in the state, some polls showing that Romney is no longer leading. If the Iowa caucuses had little to no affect on the next president of the United States, would those running waste their money, and more importantly, their time on the process? Absolutely not. It is true that in 2004 about 6% of those eligible actually caucused, and that 6% is the most concentrated contingency of well informed voters in the World. These people not only understand the issues, but the meet the candidates, look them in the eye, and demand answers, that is the true power of the Iowa Caucuses, anyone who disputes the power of the Iowa Caucuses clearly does not understand the process.
Sorry, but it really does more for the Iowa economy than anything else. Yes, there is a large group of foolhardy souls who wish to vote for the perceived winner but that is an issue bigger than Iowa--though the caucuses demonstrate the philosophy quite well.
Take a look at the impact of campaigning for the caucuses on the Iowa economy and compare it to the impact of the caucuses on election outcomes and let us know where there is a more significant impact.
Iowa is a beautiful place with wonderful people, but the special 6% are not deciding the future of such a great nation.
You are somewhat correct, yes, the caucuses are a tremendous boom for Iowa's economy, and no one, not even Iowans will argue that they "pick" the next president of the United States, however Iowa shapes the race in a tremendous way. If Obama wins the New Hampshire Primaries, he is likely to win the Democratic nomination, this would not have been possible had he not won the Iowa Caucuses. Now, if you looked at national polls, Hillary should have had this nomination hands down. Increasingly Obama has the upper hand and the caucuses were the start of it. Again, if the caucuses were so unimportant, the campaigns would not spend the time or money in the state. If Obama ends up winning the presidency, history will point to Iowa as the beginning point. And while Huckabee is still a long shot, don't be surprised to see him as a vice presidential candidate... possibly with John McCain. Could that have happened without the caucuses? I don't think so.