Editorial: GOP should ditch Iowa Straw Poll
Iowa Republicans should get rid of the Iowa Straw Poll.
Seattle Times Editorial
Here is some early advice for Republicans looking ahead to 2016: Get rid of the Iowa Straw Poll.
Take the words of Iowa’s Republican governor, Terry Branstad, who says this party fundraiser is a false political test in the long campaign for the presidency.
The national media cover the Straw Poll because it’s a mock battle before the first real one, the Iowa caucuses. The campaigns take part — at least some of them — because the media are there.
National political reporters are careful to point out the circularity, and that the battle is symbolic only. (Still, they go.)
One reason for the irrelevance is that the party charges $30 for a ticket to vote, which favors the most zealous supporters. Last year’s winner was Rep. Michele Bachmann, who spent $2 million to beat Rep. Ron Paul. The party was not about to nominate either of them.
Mitt Romney had fought over the poll four years before, won it and lost the nomination. In 2011, he refused to waste his money on the poll and came in 7th, and won the nomination.
Get rid of the poll. It’s a sideshow.
The more interesting question is why Iowa should have the first caucuses at all. Someday, it would be nice to have the first political test for presidential candidates, such as a primary, in the state of Washington. That way, the candidates could pledge fealty to some gods other than corn in its ethanol and sugar aspects.
Come to the Evergreen State and kowtow to trade with China, the storage of nuclear waste in Nevada and the permanent deductibility of the sales tax. We are saner here about things like marijuana and same-sex marriage than in the flat expanses of the Corn Belt.
And we promise not to set up anything as zany as the Iowa Straw Poll.