Iowa GOP is Fighting to Save the First-in-the-Nation Caucus
Amid recent debate and discussion about the Iowa Caucus and the rest of the Democrats’ presidential nominating calendar, what exactly the Iowa Caucus is and what it entails have been muddled.
The Iowa Caucus:
- Fundamentally is the simple act of Iowans who belong to the same political party, gathering in person in their precincts to discuss and register their presidential candidate preference with their neighbors.
- The caucus has always been a grassroots affair run by and for political parties; it is not and has never been a formal primary election run by the Secretary of State or any other governmental entity.
While officials within the Republican Party of Iowa and Iowa Democratic Party have traditionally worked hand-in-hand to preserve Iowa’s Caucus, recent statements by the Iowa Democratic Party members are troubling:
- In a February statement, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Rita Hart explained how Iowa Democrats, faced with utter rebuke to the heartland and Midwest from the DNC and key party leaders including perennial Iowa Caucus loser Joe Biden, would seek to implement “reimagined Iowa Caucuses.”
- What is at the crux of IDP’s “reimagined” approach to the caucus? A caucus determined by a “vote-by-mail process” – thus scrapping the caucus tradition as we know it for what effectively amounts to a primary election.
- And that’s exactly what Hart said she wished Iowa had instead of the Iowa Caucus – in the same February statement, Hart lamented, “Iowa does not have the luxury of conducting a state-run primary, nor are Iowa Republicans likely to support legislation that would establish one.”
Given IDP’s bungled finances and prior operational incompetency, Hart’s desire for the State of Iowa to pay for and run the Democrats’ caucus may make sense if it didn’t miss the bigger picture: Iowa is the First-in-the-Nation Caucus state.
These statements, in congruence with the Iowa Democrats' plan to push ahead to create what would be a de facto, party-run primary election to be held on Iowa’s historic First-in-the-Nation Caucus timeline, puts Iowa on a collision course with America’s First-in-the-Nation Primary State, New Hampshire.
The New Hampshire Primary:
- A bipartisan chorus of New Hampshire party leaders and elected officials have already raised their opposition to Iowa supplanting New Hampshire’s First-in-the-Nation Primary with its own primary election. They have threatened to preserve their First-in-the-Nation status by moving up their primary ahead of the Iowa Caucus, which would in turn force Iowa Republicans and Democrats to move up our (either real or “reimagined”) caucus date – a game of brinkmanship whose only losers are Iowans.
- Recent legislation introduced to the Iowa Statehouse would codify the decades of political tradition that define the Iowa Caucus. It will ensure the Caucuses can continue without being marred by contentious spats with New Hampshire.
“The DNC and Joe Biden have abandoned the Iowa Democrat Party. In an effort salvage their caucus and appease party insiders, Iowa Democrats have developed a plan to turn the Iowa Caucus into a primary – a move that would ignite unnecessary one-upmanship with New Hampshire and its first-in-the-nation primary and ensure the demise of the entire Iowa Caucus and Iowa’s ability to go first as the first-in-the-nation caucus state,” said RPI Chairman Jeff Kaufmann in a statement.
“The Republican Party of Iowa will not stop fighting to preserve the decades-old Iowa Caucus, which gives middle Americans a voice in selecting our next president. Without commonsense intervention from the legislature, we risk losing our state's cherished, First-in-the-Nation Caucus status.”