Commentary News

On The End of The Iowa Straw Poll, Twitter And You

iowa straw poll is dead
Jason Dias
Written by Jason Dias

Here’s Jason Dias on the death of the Iowa Straw Poll and the so-called Republican Twitter takeover. Analysis.

aNewDomainjason-dias-anewdomain — The Iowa Straw Poll is dead, and really only the comedians are grieving.

iowa straw pollWhat will John Stewart do? No more shots of presidential hopefuls eating phallic fried foods in a sexually suggestive manner.

As this Time magazine article suggests, the event won’t be held this year because it is not really relevant. It basically never picks the winner. It’s a fundraising opportunity, but it costs more than candidates can afford. 

What the article doesn’t say is how not going to Iowa will strengthen Republican politics.

See, the straw poll brought out just one kind of voter: the most Republican of the rural voters. And it forced candidates to cater to those individuals to capture their votes. Changing your platform or even a few planks to please a few voters is a bad idea, and what we’re learning is that these particular voters really are just the few. They don’t represent the general electorate in any meaningful sense.

Maybe we’ll start to see the death of other special-interest conventions. 

This is a win for Republicans, who want to reclaim the executive branch in 2016. It allows their candidates to stay just a little more centrist, to appeal more to the average voter and less to enthusiastic rural conservatives.

It’s not all good news this week in politics, though.

Last cycle, I heard a PAC ad on the radio, calling one of our local Democrats a “war-on-women candidate.” 

Buried somewhere under the headline was the idea that the Democrat was a one-issue politician using negative campaigns and the war on women tagline against the Republican candidate. 

But the point of the ad was clearly to muddy the waters about who was more socially regressive.

iowa2 (1)

People aren’t by and large very educated voters. They cast their ballots along party lines in primaries and on which candidate seems most personable in general elections. 

It turns out whether gas prices rose or fell in the last three months has more to do with whether a presidential incumbent wins or loses than most other factors.

It’s like gluten-free foods. Almost none of us need them. The average Jane doesn’t even know what gluten is. It’s just the latest thing in food paranoia, like carbs were a decade ago. 

People hear “war on women” in ads or on Fakesbook, get mad about it, but they don’t really do any research about what it means. 

If a PAC can turn that language around and make you hate the Democrat when it’s really the Republican promising abortion bans and personhood amendments, you bet they will.

So the relevance of that to this week’s news is Republican stump speeches targeting income inequality. They’ve declared war on the poor, promoting poverty by targeting for funding cuts social programs like food stamps to fatten subsidies for their own factory farms and tax breaks for their rich donors.

With socialist and populist agendas gaining ground – supporters begging Elizabeth Warren to run and Hillary Clinton having to shift her agenda left on account of Bernie Sanders entering the race – Republican candidates want to confuse the issue. They aim to confuse you about who has the interests of the working poor really at heart.

The answer to that is, really, nobody. We can point to the Affordable Care Act, but in the last election Democrats ran away from that accomplishment in droves. What else has national politics done about unemployment, underemployment or the minimum wage? 

Make no mistake: these issues are permeating public consciousness right now, to the point that the big exploiters of American labor are taking notice and raising wages. Less than workers are demanding, and not for the general labor pool – WalMart wants you to buy, for example, that $13 an hour for managers and specialists is close enough to the $15 an hour their workers are lobbying for.

Some cities and states, though, are on top of this. There is a rash of minimum wage reforms quietly creeping through the nation. Soon we’ll have good data on how wage reforms affect economies.  Here are state minimum wages and a little look at city changes:

iowa straw poll

Ultimately, it would be great if the 20 or so Republican candidates for president could all take a long, honest look at this issue rather than just stumping about it to confuse things. And if Democrats want to really be the party of the people, they must do more to refute all attempts by anyone to confuse the people, if they really hope to be their party.

For aNewDomain, I’m Jason Dias, nobody’s candidate for president.

Image one:  Blogs.WSJ.com, All Rights Reserved
Image two: WashingtonTimes.com, All Rights Reserved

This is the End: Seth Rogen & Jay Burachel give us Bro’ Humor on Gluten & Colonics, Video: DukeofConDao YouTube Channel

Image three: Arktimes.com, All Rights Reserved

About the author

Jason Dias

Jason Dias

Jason Dias, PsyD is an existential psychotherapist who breathes words. He's a senior columnist at aNewDomain.