We’re rapidly hurdling into election season, folks. On one hand, that’s awesome because we’ll get truly amazing content like this:
But the other side of the campaign season coin is that soon the we’ll be mercilessly inundated with ads, profiles, yard signs, text messages from Bernie volunteers, toxic comment sections, you name it.
But here’s the kicker: on February 3rd, and probably for weeks leading up, the American politicial spotlight will be centered on…
Iowa, a largely-agricultural state with no major cities (sorry Des Moines), gets to set the course for perhaps the most important election in modern American history.
“Why Iowa?” you might ask. Well this should have been obvious but:
But in actuality, Iowa wasn’t even picked for a real reason! It happened in 1968 after the Democrats decided they wanted to space out the primaries. In order to space them out, they had to make room for Iowa’s (ridiculous?) caucus schedule, which requires more time than regular-ass primaries that every other state has.
Why should Iowa get to wield enormous power because of what amounts to what is (almost) a clerical error? Because their antiquated process takes longer than everyone else’s? Please. It doesn’t make any sense.
Instead, I propose that the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively, move Illinois’ primary to January 28th, making it the first primary in the country.
Think of how cool that would be. CNN would come to town. Al Roker would do the Today Show’s weather report live from the bean. Champaign-Urbana would wield more political power than its ever has before.
But the sole motivation for hosting the first primary isn’t only born out of vanity – it also makes sense logistically, geographically and statistically.
Much like Iowa, Illinois is located in the middle of the country, so it is centrist by definition *checks box* nailed it.
Beyond that, Iowa is far from representative. Alternatively, it’s harder to find a more wholly representative state in the entire union than Illinois. From the Scandanavian-influenced north (basically Wisconsin) to the river delta south (essentially Mississippi), the cultural diversity of Illinois greatly outweighs most (if not all) states in America. This is backed up statistically.
Illinois has industrial hubs, like Decatur and Danville, that are being forced to find new ways to evolve from a manufacturing past, much like the rest of America.
Illinois is dominated by agriculture; its population concerned with tariffs and soybean prices, some of the most hotly-contested issues of the current administration. Illinois is also dotted with small towns that are slowly bleeding population and resources, like much of the country. Most of Illinois is ‘flyover’ county, for better or worse, in truth or in jest.
But perhaps what’s more unique is that is that Illinois also has a world-class city in Chicago, which provides a massive cosmopolitan population. With this comes diversity that is more in-line with national racial make-up. Illinois, for example, is 71.5% white, while Iowa is 91.3% white. The United States of America is 72.4% white.
Furthermore, 81% of Americans live in urban or suburban areas. In Iowa, 64% of the population lives in “urban” areas. In Illinois, it’s 88%. I’m not a big math guy but one seems closer to the national average than the other.
Plus, this wouldn’t even be bad for the parties that choose Illinois. In fact, they should be incentivized to have the most representative state set the course for a sure-to-be-insane primary cycle, and Illinois fits the bill. Wouldn’t this give the parties a better idea of which candidates appeal to broad bases of Americans?
The decision is made at the party level, though, and both parties have penalized states for moving their moving their primaries up before (2008, Florida), so there’s not much hope.
But for all parties involved, the choice should be clear: make Illinois the first primary. Do it now and do it fast. Send Anderson Cooper to Champaign. Bring Hannity, too.
Look out New Hampshire. We’re coming for your spot if we can’t get Iowa.