Look, this impeachment trial has transfixed all of us.
This is not because there’s any real suspense over Trump’s eventual acquittal. The sycophantic fealty of the Republican Party preordains it.
No, the spectacle is more about how the GOP is twisting Gordian knots into the very ideas of logic, common sense, patriotism, consistency, legality, principle, and basic decency. Conservatives have overruled all those concepts in favor of hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and fear, supplemented by a lust for power and a flair for Orwellian tactics.
It’s all very fascinating.
However, let’s step back from this constitutional calamity to look at the other major political event occurring soon: the Iowa caucuses.
Yes, next week, thousands of wholesome, downhome, gosh-darn, God-fearin’ Iowans will pull on their overalls, adjust their truckers caps, and mosey on down to wherever it is that one caucuses. Once there, they will take the chewing tobacco out of their mouths long enough to argue for their preferred presidential candidates. And then we’ll have a winner, a frontrunner guaranteed to rocket unimpeded toward their party’s nomination.
Except that’s all pretty much bullshit—and not just the stuff about overalls and chewing tobacco.
You see, only about half of the winners of the Iowa caucus have gone on to win their party’s nomination for president. And that accuracy is likely to decline further in the future, due to demographic changes. After all, Iowa is more than 90 percent white, while the rest of the country—especially the metro areas where most voters actually live—clearly is not.
Still, we fawn over Iowa because our society continues to devote more attention, give more importance, and provide more resources to the rural areas of our nation, despite the fact that rural America is rapidly declining in population, cultural influence, and economic output.
Basically, we just care a lot more about what old white guys think.
For example, how many articles have you seen that consist solely of a reporter walking into some small-town diner and asking the locals for their opinions?
And I’m not just talking about this election season. It is year after year, in diner after diner, that we hear from the supposed average American about the issues that matter to him.
Never do these reporters walk into a pupusería in Los Angeles, or an Indian restaurant in Queens, or a Thai place in Chicago to ask the locals for their insights.
Apparently, that would be elitist, or politically correct, or electorally suspect, or some such nonsense.
The truth, of course, is that the opinion of a Latina in California is simply not viewed as an authentic representation of the “real America.” That status is reserved solely for rural American baby boomers.
You can also see this in the idea that Trump’s tariffs—which affect places like Iowa more directly—are a fabled “bread and butter issue” that genuine Americans talk about around their kitchen tables. However, immigration reform is a “wedge issue” that appeals only to racial agitators and hippies.
Aren’t you happy to have that cleared up?
Still, given enough time, places like Iowa will eventually become so sparsely populated that even the most old-school journalist will ask, “Why are we still coming here?”
That is, of course, unless immigrants and young multiethnic families start moving in to reshape the area. At that point, you may see a reporter walk into a Des Moines carnicería and ask the owner, a Gen Z woman of Mexican and Korean ancestry, what she thinks about the candidates.
I can’t wait to hear her answer.