Political Super Bowl
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the play-off games leading up to the political super bowl. The entire process is about drama and entertainment. Only A-list celebrities get coverage; candidates who talk about slightly unpleasant issues aren't welcome in the package offered to the public. Those who don't promise the moon on a silver plate get little attention. Are we electing a President, or a movie star?
Why should the Iowa Caucus horse race determine who comes out of the first turn? That sways the rest of the betting. Candidates want a good start - and voters want to be on the side of a winner. Like it or not, victory in Iowa creates momentum for the winner, carrying him through the remaining hose races.
Yet polls change daily, placing a different candidate on top. Private and public opinion polls leading up to the New Hampshire primary all showed Obama with about a 10% lead. They were so wrong.
Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina… none are a microcosm of this country. Yet after losing in Iowa and New Hampshire, candidates drop out of the race. Chris Dodd and Joe Biden dropped out because of poor showings in Iowa. What if voters in California (which has 1/4 of our population) wanted to vote for them? In many presidential elections, the party's nominee is decided before many states hold their primaries.
The betting continues and more candidates fall away. Giuliani and Edwards dropped out after Florida - just days before Super Tuesday's election that is 40 % of the national vote.
At the Iowa Caucus there were 8 Republican candidates (Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson) and 7 Democratic candidates (Hilary Clinton, Barak Obama, Mike Gravel, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson). Most of the nation has not had a chance to vote. Yet we're already down to just 3 Democrats (Clinton, Obama, and Mike Gravel - yes he is still running, though he's had no coverage and few know who he is) and 4 Republicans (Huckabee, McCain, Romney and Ron Paul).
The candidates all try to convince voters that each has the best package of personality, experience, values, ideas, vision. All have spent lots of money trying to get your vote: An estimated 2 billion total will be spent by November, according to estimates by CNN.