In less than one week, the much awaited 2012 presidential election will kick off with the Iowa Republican caucuses. In reality, this tradition takes place in a state with disproportionate importance in the election calendar.
The Republican presidential primary has been long and unusually public, with numerous debates on a variety of subjects. It has been a race to show who is most conservative, all in an effort to earn the support of Tea Party sympathizers.
Because of this, presidential candidates have issued proposals and voiced ideas that will surely change radically if a candidate is in the general election and needs the vote of independents in order to reach the White House.
In this regard, it is unconceivable that at this point-with a decrease in the immigration flow and a record number of deportations-the large majority of candidates are using this issue to manipulate the fears and ignorance of the party’s base, making undocumented immigrants the scapegoats.
On the other hand, until now all the races to the White House begin in Iowa, a state that does not represent a diverse society racially and ethnically, nor an urban society like the one where a majority of Americans live. In the case of Republicans, Iowa’s residents are also more conservative.
However, for political reasons, for years Iowa’s voters have had the rare privilege of seeing candidates up close and being able to ask them questions.
Also, the caucus election system tests a candidate’s organizational capability.
Winning in Iowa does not guarantee a presidential nomination. Nevertheless, winning there raises a candidate’s profile on the road to the New Hampshire primary.
2012 will be a key election year with essential decisions to set the course to bring the U.S. out of the economic crisis. It all starts in one week.