Iowa in the sun

Florida voters, we have been slighted again. For those of you registered Democrats who are preparing to turn the page, thinking that this is just another election 2000 rant, wait just a minute. Slightly more than 100,000 men and women in Iowa have spoken for millions of Democrats across the country, as they have been for the last 32 years.

Which is not to exclude the Republican party, as the Iowa caucuses usually speak on behalf of Republicans from coast to coast, and would have done so on Monday if they’d really been offered a choice.

As the first major step in the presidential nomination process for the Democratic and Republican parties, every four years the national media flock to Iowa, known as the Heartland, to bring the nation’s attention toward the presidential political scene.

The inner workings of the Iowa caucuses can be as mysterious as the rites of a secret society.

Caucuses tend to attract party loyalists, the Iowa primary is used as a tool to determine who the parties will support to become the next President of the United States.

This year, the power to decide who stayed in the race and who saved their money has been again decided by a tiny pool of citizens in a state whose population is 90 percent white.

Understanding the outrage this practice should incite rests in realizing what the caucus really is- the first primary election in the campaign for the White House.

It is the same as the primary elections that Florida, California and Texas hold.

These states not only better represent the growing trends in minority populations across the country, they also have the power to actually force the election in one direction or another on their own.

The simple difference between the attention focused, money spent and decisions made in the Heartland as opposed to these states is that the Iowa caucus seemingly scratches the itch of primary election outcome anticipation.

The problem lies in the fact that in many ways, the constituency of Iowa is a far cry from being representative of the demographics of America as a whole.

For example, according to year 2000 Census data, only 77 percent of the nation identified itself as Caucasian.

The Iowa caucuses rule out blacks, the ethnic group that Democratic candidates traditionally look to as a major source of support, and Hispanics, the group that the party desperately needs to target in order to form a realistic vision of a Democratic victory.

If the outcome of the presidential election rested solely on the black-and-white of caucus politics, minorities in this country would have been duped yet again, months before we got a chance to cast votes in our own primaries.

Meredith Clark and Kaye Dallas for the Famuan