By Malena Marchán @mmmarchan
The weekend arrives and we’re about to see pictures of almost all the candidates preparing barbeques and chowing down hot dogs at the Iowa State Fair, where a million people will be in attendance during the next 11 days.
Actually, aspiring candidates are seeking the vote in this valuable state that starts out the process for the primaries.
Read also: 5 things from today about the campaign
But ever since the campaign began, the candidates have given much attention to this state that has 3 million inhabitants and an economy based on agriculture. What’s the reason for all this?
Iowa is the first state in the process of primaries and caucuses, which will be conducted at a date yet to be determined in late January or early in February.
Because it is the first political event, its caucus “has a lot of media coverage,” explains Arnoldo Torres, an analyst and expert in public policy.
The results of the Iowa caucus “determines the amount of money a candidate will be able to raise,” he comments. And this is precisely because of the journalistic interest it generates; the greater the coverage, the more the money, explains Torres.
Another reason for Iowa’s importance is its characteristic as an undecided state. This small state represents a total of 6 electoral votes that can fit like a glove in case of a very close race.
Despite all this, the person winning in Iowa does not necessarily become the country’s president.
For example, in 2012 Republican Rick Santorum won by a narrow margin against Mitt Romney, who ended up winning the party’s nomination.
In 2008, Mike Huckabee was proclaimed the winner in the state, but the final victor was John McCain.
On the Democratic side, Tom Harkin won in 1992; however, the candidate turned out to be Bill Clinton, who would end up becoming the country’s president.
“Iowa does not represent the United States’ reality,” the expert affirms. “Iowa is a state that lives off agriculture, while most of the country is urban,” he points out.
It is not well populated, and f urthermore is it not very diverse ethnically. Hispanics represent 5.5% of the total population, in other words, 168,806 people.
Of this number, only 52,000 are eligible to vote, but many do not show up at the polls. There is only one town where Hispanics are a majority, and that is West Liberty with 3,700 inhabitants.
Lea esta historia en español: Por qué Iowa es tan importante en campaña.