What Do the Iowa Caucuses Mean?
Don’t read too much in to Mitt Romney’s narrow victory in the Iowa caucus. There’s no question that the relatively small state of Iowa has an outsize influence both on the presidential nominating process and—as a result—on the national political agenda. But that doesn’t mean that the roughly 120,000 Iowans who voted in this year’s caucus will determine by themselves who the eventual Republican nominee will be.
As Fordham professor Monika McDermott explained earlier this week, winning the Iowa caucus hardly guarantees winning the Republican nomination. Consider that the winners of the last five contested caucuses were George H.W. Bush in 1980, Bob Dole in 1988, Bob Dole again in 1996, George W. Bush in 2000, and Mike Huckabee in 2008. Of those five just two—Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000—went on to win the Republican nomination that year. Of course, both George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole won the Republican nomination 8 years after winning Iowa. In other words, the winner of the Iowa Republican caucus is just as likely to win the Republican nomination 8 years later as they are the year they actually win the caucus. So maybe, as McDermott said—I think she was joking—we should expect Mike Huckabee to win the Republican nomination in 2016.
It’s not that I have doubts about Mitt Romney’s ability to win a national campaign. Nor is it that the race was a virtual tie, which in a sense is victory for Rick Santorum. The truth, as McDermott said, is that it’s still early in the nominating process. Iowa caucus voters are hardly representative of the party as a whole. Among other things, as Big Think’s Kris Broughton says, Iowans as a group are considerably more white than the general electorate. In addition, the way the caucus is structured tends to discourage ordinary rank-and-file voters from participating. As a result, the Iowa caucus tends to be dominated by more politically active—and more conservative—Republicans. In 2008, 45% of Iowa Republican caucus voters identified as themselves as “very conservative,” compared to just 21% of New Hampshire Republican primary voters. That may be why conservative candidates tend to outperform their poll numbers in the Iowa caucus.
Mitt Romney may yet win the nomination. Like most political observers, I think that he has fewer serious weaknesses than his major rivals. But the Iowa caucus is the just the first part of a long winnowing process. It provides a substantial boost for candidates like Santorum who outperform their expectations. And candidates who can’t compete at all in Iowa—particularly conservative candidates like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann—probably don’t stand much chance of winning the nomination. But whether Romney will actually go on to win himself it is still anyone’s guess.
Could this be the long-awaited solution to economic inequality?
Under capitalism, the argument goes, it's every man for himself. Through the relentless pursuit of self-interest, everyone benefits, as if an invisible hand were guiding each of us toward the common good. Everyone should accordingly try to get as much as they can, not only for their goods but also for their labour. Whatever the market price is is, in turn, what the buyer should pay. Just like the idea that there should be a minimum wage, the idea that there should be a maximum wage seems to undermine the very freedom that the free market is supposed to guarantee.
Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.
- According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
- Cross-breeding with other ancient hominids gave some subsets of human population the genes to contend and thrive in colder and harsher climates.
- Behavioral and dietary changes also helped humans adapt to cold climates.
It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back
- In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
- Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
- The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points
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