I wish to congratulate The Courier for its Sept. 15 editorial of the Iowa Caucus situation, although I wish all news media would stop referencing the “Democratic Party.” The Democratic Party is anything but democratic, and the Republicans aren’t any better. I’ve had experience with both. However, there are a plethora of forces at work to eliminate Iowa’s “first-in-the-nation” caucus system beside the inadequacies you cited concerning party leadership.

They are the 48 states that look at the bonanza Iowa reaps every four years in money and prestige. New Hampshire sits with us. So, here we sit surrounded by our old buddies, greed and envy.

It isn’t hard to understand why greed and envy exist, or why other states want a piece of the pie, preferably a great big piece which the high population states could garner easily if the playing field was leveled. They certainly are circumspect about loudly and directly attacking Iowa and New Hampshire, but they are at work to change the nomination system. They can’t prevent New Hampshire’s primary from closely following Iowa’s caucus (state law) so that plants us squarely in their sights. There also is an internal unorganized faction best labeled, “Who gives a damn?”

For people who haven’t really cared or prefer not to think about it, there really is a bonanza flowing into Iowa every four years. Think about it. Each candidate has a clique that precedes him/her into a locality and leaves a small number behind to analyze the effects of the candidate’s visit. Lodging must be obtained, high-priced lodging at that. They must emanate an air of prosperity. Food and transportation must be procured, although party regulars can handle the latter. Halls must be rented. You see, a candidate’s visit is (hopefully) a cataclysmic event, and expensive. In a year like this with more candidates than voters, Iowa lodging facilities are stabilizing their annual budgets. It isn’t just lodging and sustenance in their expenditures. Broadcast and print communications get a huge shot in the arm, and there are 48 states missing out on that.

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A bit earlier I listed the twin to greed, which is envy. This is a little hard to define, but especially on the East Coast people don’t even know where Iowa is (“I have a cousin in Cleveland. Do you know him?” So help me God, that happened to me!) They learned one or two sentences about it being a farm state during grade school geography class and that is it. They know nothing of our northern European culture, our factories, top flight universities, and civilized lifestyle. Why should that backward place get all of the attention? Envy sets in. Irene and I were in the Smoky Mountains and stopped for gas. “We don’t see many of those license plates.” You see, we are a mystery, and mysteries are cause for alarm.

Party regulars in other states also envy party regulars in our state. For many of those, their positions in the party are the only status symbol they have, and to know our party regulars have a heightened chance of rubbing elbows, shaking hands, and talking to candidates who may possibly gain the highest office in the land can cause a little knot in the pit of their gut that matures to full blown envy. They join the businesspeople who think Iowans are too insignificant to enjoy all our notoriety has bestowed upon us.

Well, what is Iowa to do to maintain its place in the universe? Come on, Smith, come up with one of your solutions, crazy or otherwise! Frankly folks, I don’t have a clue. The forces against us are enormous, and we as Iowans are not united. Some couldn’t care less; in fact some would welcome not being deluged with mail, television, phone calls, billboard messages and people knocking on their doors.

Democrats and Republicans, it’s your slippery slope and I’m afraid we’re all in for a slide into the abyss of being ignored.

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Stanley Smith is a former Cedar Falls City Council member.


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