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Iowa Caucuses: A Lot of Media, Not Much Democracy

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THE IOWA CAUCUSES CONSUMED NATIONAL MEDIA, especially the Republican race. They spent oodles of money, time and personnel to cover this first-in-the-nation “primary.”

The cable networks, Fox, CNN, and MSNBC, we’re all over it – hour by hour, day by day, week by week. And, of course, last night, caucus night, they OD’d on coverage.

But here’s the reality they neither did not nor will report:

Of 1,060,896 Iowa Republicans registered in the state’s four congressional districts, only 186,795 showed up at their party’s caucuses to vote for their party’s 11 candidates.

So, for all the time, money, and personnel media devoted to Iowa, only 17.6 percent of Republicans bothered to attend their party caucuses.
So, for all the time, money, and personnel media devoted to Iowa, only 17.6 percent of Republicans bothered to attend their party caucuses.

Or, to put it another way:

For all the time, money, and personnel the 11 Republican candidates devoted to Iowa, only 17.6 percent of their party’s registered voters bothered to attend their party’s caucuses.

One of the scenes from last night that will stay with me – from six hours of watching MSNBC – was Rachel Maddow, gushing to Brian Williams (remember him?) that 496 Iowa State students turned out to vote at their caucus, when only a couple hundred were expected. Ms. Maddow, gushing, as only she can gush, told Mr. Williams that this is what democracy is all about.

Really?

Ms. Maddow should know Iowa State has 36,001 students.

Or, 35,505 couldn’t be bothered with so trivial a matter as voting.

Rather than “gushing,” a more appropriate response from Ms. Maddow would have been tears over the state of our democracy.

On the other side, the Democratic Party has 1,080,883 registered voters. I can’t report how many voted because the only published figures I saw were the ones you saw, Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders in a 49-49 percent virtual tie.

One other aspect of media’s OD on Iowa, did you either read or hear that the biggest political grouping in the Hawkeye State is neither Democrats nor Republicans, but Independents, who number 1,244,095 – not one of whom was allowed to vote in either the Democratic or Republican caucuses.

And this is the “democracy” Rachel Maddow gushes about.

So I will tell you what media won’t, you cannot sustain a democratic society when so few people participate in voting.

America is in denial!

Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.

The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


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189 comments
Kirk
Kirk

Just a comment on the numbers. The article states that there are 1,060,896 Iowa Republicans registered in the state’s four congressional districts. It also stated that the Democratic Party has 1,080,883 registered voters while independents have 1,244,095 registered voters. Well according to US Census bureau, the 2014 population estimate for Iowa is 3,107,126 residents. The registration numbers cited add up to more then the entire state population. And if you look at the Iowa Secretary of State web site, it says are 584,111 registered Democrats, 612,112 Republicans and 726,819 Independents registered as of January 2016. That would make the percentage of Republicans who actually voted, closer to 30.5%. Still not stellar but better than 17%

Russ Bischoff
Russ Bischoff

– Although, I like that Sanders has helped to bring some of the core economic issues out into the light of day – He's way too far to the left and can be more easily marginalized by both parties and the corporate media as some crazy old loon, which he actually may be – Let's face it, if it wasn't for Trump our bought and paid for puppet politicians and media would still be talking about peripheral social issues rather than the core issues that have destroyed the real American economy and the future of the American people – And Trump will not allow himself to be marginalized or pushed aside.

Russ Bischoff
Russ Bischoff

– Although, I like that Sanders has helped to bring some of the core economic issues out into the light of day – He's way too far to the left and can be more easily marginalized by both parties and the corporate media as some crazy old loon, which he actually may be – Let's face it, if it wasn't for Trump our bought and paid for puppet politicians and media would still be talking about peripheral social issues rather than the core issues that have destroyed the real American economy and the future of the American people – And Trump will not allow himself to be marginalized or pushed aside.

Russ Bischoff
Russ Bischoff

Geoffrey Lubic – I hear you – But, at this point we need a major change in this country – And Trump appears to be the guy to get us headed back in the right direction – We can't afford more of the same old lame " Good Ole boy business as usual BS " anymore.

CharlesCates
CharlesCates

Doing it that way secures a fair election by not letting you control both sides. You can't vote for the easier to beat candidate in the primary in order to get your candidate elected

ChetEvors
ChetEvors

Simply ridiculous that all people can't vote unless you choose a party, for anyone should be able vote whenever or for whoever they want and each vote should be counted tell they are done no matter how long it takes. 

Dissident Politics
Dissident Politics

Indeed. We got lots 'n lots of media coverage. Not much content however, at least not much that I could see. Maybe real substance was there but I just missed it.

CharlesCates
CharlesCates

We are destroying our country and our way of life by not watching very closely who we elect into office. When I was a child people, had already started to say "what's the use in even taking the time to care." We have allowed our country to be bought out and sold down the river by unscrupulous power hungry thugs. We don't elect statesmen anymore. We elect president's based entirely on what government can give us rather than honest decent government. This election will probably tell ourselves who we are or if we can exist as a free country. Please take the time to pray about this

rwscid
rwscid

You are wrong. Independents in Iowa can caucus, as can Libertarians and Greens, by simply filling out a piece of paper at the caucus (before the 'voting' takes place). Voter 'registration' means absolutely nothing in Iowa, other than allowing you to caucus, and to vote in primaries. I was a Democrat when I went to the Republican caucus, then became a Republican by signing a piece of paper (which, due to the chaotic nature of the caucus, will probably never even make its way to the Secretary of State's office, which doesn't bother me in the slightest).

I think we should discourage people from voting. This will eliminate people who have no opinion of their own, who have not researched the issues, who are just voting to get a sticker, or because their friend drove them to the polls, or because they consider it some kind of religious ritual that makes them superior to their neighbor.


The percent of people voting has absolutely nothing to do with the success or failure of democracy. The actual laws passed by the elected representatives has everything to do with the success or failure of democracy.

On this measure, our democracy is failing, because we have about 100 times as many laws as we need, and we're getting more and more every day, and the laws are too long for a citizen to read.

Geoffrey Lubic
Geoffrey Lubic

Russ Bischoff I personally think that modern Capitalism has made the Constitution (unless there are ways to negate corporate influence and power through amendments) obsolete. I don't have any answers...just that big influential corporations are the cause and engine behind big intrusive government.

Geoffrey Lubic
Geoffrey Lubic

Russ Bischoff Couldn't have said it better myself about what's wrong with America over the last 30-35yrs. I just not sure that using the "system" and electing Trump will do any good. It's time for a "system" (not just regime) change.

James Kroneman
James Kroneman

Another way of putting it, is Ted Cruz had the backing of about 4.5% of the registered republicans in Iowa. SOME VICTORY!

Russ Bischoff
Russ Bischoff

– Our Constitution is Great – Our Traitorous Trade and Immigration Policies are Not Thank goodness Trump is stepping up for the American People – Because, we desperately need actual Loyal American Leaders who will put the best interests of our own citizens and country first and foremost, especially our veterans. Most Americans realize that they missed the boat by not electing Ross Perot and have been waiting a long time for another loyal American to step up like that and now we a chance with someone even better – Let's not miss the boat again this time. If more Americans would have listened to Ross Perot back in 1992, we wouldn't be in this mess right now – The American people and the real American economy would have been much better off today – I and many other people, who were able to see through all of the left vs right BS, did vote for Perot, because he was straight forward and just used common sense – He got involved because he cared about his country and the American people and didn't like the direction that our political leaders were going in – Turns out that he was right.

Russ Bischoff
Russ Bischoff

– Our Constitution is Great – Our Traitorous Trade and Immigration Policies are Not Thank goodness Trump is stepping up for the American People – Because, we desperately need actual Loyal American Leaders who will put the best interests of our own citizens and country first and foremost, especially our veterans. Most Americans realize that they missed the boat by not electing Ross Perot and have been waiting a long time for another loyal American to step up like that and now we a chance with someone even better – Let's not miss the boat again this time. If more Americans would have listened to Ross Perot back in 1992, we wouldn't be in this mess right now – The American people and the real American economy would have been much better off today – I and many other people, who were able to see through all of the left vs right BS, did vote for Perot, because he was straight forward and just used common sense – He got involved because he cared about his country and the American people and didn't like the direction that our political leaders were going in – Turns out that he was right.

Lee Wheelock Butz
Lee Wheelock Butz

It is Democracy, for those who care enough to participate. Blame the system, the shutting out of voters that don't care to join a party, laws that make it nearly impossible to vote or create change, or corporate and billionaire money, but when it comes down to it, none of those things would be an issue if people made as much time to do one civic duty as they do to camp out for the latest gadget or tickets to a movie. If you're not doing anything to change what you don't like, it must not be bad enough. Everyone can't have what they want all the time, but at least it will be what most want, not just a power-hungry few.

Hank Poulin
Hank Poulin

well, it's an idiocracracy,.. run by special interest and corporate greed,.. it was never intended to be a democracy,.. but a republic,..

William Waugh
William Waugh

In your opinion, should some citizens have more political power than some others?

Eric Ridley
Eric Ridley

How much money is spent in Iowa to get such useless information ? This is a waste of time to everyone except the people of Iowa. How much integrity do you feel is is Iowa?

Walt Steely
Walt Steely

Everyone must exercise their right to vote. It's our responsibility.

Don Lukas
Don Lukas

For those who follow this stuff already know that New Hampshire has 1/3 the population Iowa has but 3X the turnout in primaries. Libtards love this kind of crap journalism. At least they only influence each other. .,.,.,., Any one notice that Sleepy Time Jeb spent $2,000 something per vote?

PianomanSLC
PianomanSLC

Libtards? Great stuff to read on a website proclaiming to be independent.  One could say the exact same thing about reactionary... oh, never mind, I don't want to sully myself with the same kind degenerative and childish name calling. 

Wayne Roach
Wayne Roach

Glad you're watching MSNBC, hope you watch Reverend Al on it too.

Michael Gazard
Michael Gazard

Russ the republicans are not running any candidate in this cycle that an intelligent person could find electable.

Robert Bixler
Robert Bixler

What percentage of Iowa Democrats showed up at their caucuses?

Julie Schulman DeLuca
Julie Schulman DeLuca

Our government doesn't work. Our country is broken by corrupt politicians. Give Trump a try‼️ Bill Clinton lied as president to the entire world... George Bush lied...Obama lies about everything... Hillary lies also about everything. I'm giving Donald Trump a businessman a chance...he knows how this lying, corrupt government works. With $19 trillion dollars in debt we need someone like him‼️

Gina Pickell
Gina Pickell

Why were you watching MSNBC? Crap\U0001f44e

Jeremy Roberts
Jeremy Roberts

for those (including apparently the author of this article) who can't figure out how to use google: around 180000 dems turned out for the Iowa caucuses. that's down about 25 percent from 2008.

Kimberley Madea Bardo
Kimberley Madea Bardo

Well,I feel that Hillary Clinton is the wrong person for the job of POTUS! Donald Trump is even worse. Sure, he says what most feel. But that does not make him Presidential Material !!!. He has offended every Nation of Color and THOSE nations have more people and bigger militaries than us. Instead of pushing the Mexicans out, we should be Annexing them in. Most of our Companies have moved there, SO with annexation we can TAX them!!!. Marijuana is now legal in some States, so there is our revenue from that!!! Canada has always tried to be our friends, SO BE THEIR FRIEND!! Do our pharmaceutical trade with THEM!! Soon it's going to be the EAST AGAINST THE WEST and we need those on both sides of us to join us in the fight!!!.We can't do that with idiots like Trump in our highest office offending EVERYONE who is in the position to HELP US!!! If he WINS, I'M investing in ROSETTA STONE. Cos English will no longer be the Primary Language of our country...cos it will no longer BE our country after we are CONQUERED!!!!!

Dennis D. Johnson
Dennis D. Johnson

The folks who really cared came out to vote. The rest could care less, unless it's a popularity contest like the past couple presidential elections.

Leslie Reed
Leslie Reed

Russ Bischoff Trump isn't the answer. He's part of the problem.

Kathy Parslow
Kathy Parslow

Held at 7pm at night, how can they expect to have a truly good turnout? People that work evenings, families that have to get children off to school or daycare the next day, people that have to be in to work at 9, 10, or 11 pm, they are all disenfranchised with this caucus system. Let me vote in a primary any day vs this.

David Tressler
David Tressler

Why so you can continue to pay out to others for their vote! Sorry time is up for Dems in the Whitehouse.

Everett Allen
Everett Allen

this is not a democracy. its a takeover by more criminal politicians who only care about money, not the country. vote trump to change this

Ramses Dizon
Ramses Dizon

There is no democracy here in America. Only a system of controlled propaganda.

Joseph Crook
Joseph Crook

The large majority of Iowans are no longer rural. The large majority live in cities. Iowans generally speak the English language well. Iowans generally believe in God. That used to be very important in America. We represent the views of the general public in America very well. Some of us are conservative and some are liberal. Plenty of presidential candidates have won the Iowa caucuses and ended up being president.

Richard Smith
Richard Smith

Caucuses are a party system process. Always have been. It is an antiquated process which predates reforms of the late 1800s early 1900s in many states to make candidate selection more of an open process. Even then not all states allow primary participation unless you choose a party. I think it's fair to ask that you identify yourself to a party at some level to pick their candidate.

Sarah Tufts
Sarah Tufts

Caucuses are very different than regular voting, it takes hours of commitment that many people, liberal and conservative, just don't have the time or patients for. Hopefully the author of this article mentioned that, otherwise this article is very biased.

William Waugh
William Waugh

I guess just the medical doctors have sufficient count of patients.

Andy Elkie Corbett
Andy Elkie Corbett

Blocking a legal voter is not democratic. Altering the numbers so you're candidate wins is not democratic. Is the requirement to join the democrap party a single-digit IQ?

William Waugh
William Waugh

"your" candidate; no apostrophe, please. You're welcome.