Monday, December 26, 2011

Undecided in Iowa

Having enjoyed the status of "America’s sober, decisive First Voters" for decades, Iowa Republicans are now riding a rollercoaster of indecision in trying to choose from a dismal slate of GOP 2012 hopefuls. They fall in and out of love with their candidates with the speed of a Kardashian. WaPo interviews a few confused Iowans and concludes they can't decide whether to go for ideological purity or electability. I think it's a little more complicated than that.

For one thing, almost half of them get their information from Fox "News". To the extent that they're internet savvy, they apparently rely on far fringe right wing websites and viral emails to form their opinions. And those Iowans who don't go on-line, are missing being personally wooed by the primary candidates.

As one local Iowa official laments:
"We just haven't had as much face time," Republican chairwoman Trudy Caviness in Wapello County said. "That's why we're so undecided."
Indeed, the GOP hopefuls "have barely visited the state." There's a number of reasons for this that I laid out in a longer post at the Detroit News.

The short version is retail politics have changed. The old maxim about all politics being local isn't true anymore. National campaigns are mostly embracing the 50 state strategy now. They can't tailor their messaging to specific audiences because there's a million "citizen journalists" with cell phones just waiting to create a viral video out of even the smallest discrepancy in their talking points. Big media will give them free exposure for any campaign generated messaging with national appeal. And thanks to Citizen United spending, outside interests can tailor the devious attack ads without candidate accountability, which changed their overall campaign tactics.

I suspect we're witnessing the waning days of Iowa's influence on presidential politics. Personally, I don't see that as necessarily a bad thing. [graphic via]

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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Blogger merlallen said...

Iowa's influence is a good thing for sane people. It forces Republican'ts to pander to bigots and dumbasses, which make them look even worse to rest of us.

4:46:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Well, that's one way of looking at it. Not sure it doesn't breed ignorance though, which isn't good for anyone.

10:33:00 AM  

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