Kill the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses? Wait a Hawkeye minute.

University of Iowa students caucus on Feb. 3, 2020, in Iowa City.


Iowa is in a battle to preserve our first-in-the-nation status — and it is not one we are about to give up.

Doubters and detractors will say the failure to provide timely caucus results proves that we should lose our esteemed status. To which we say, wait a Hawkeye minute.

True, the results of the roughly 1,700 Iowa Democratic caucuses were not produced on time. But it is important to remember the choice the state party made: Announce results knowing they might be inaccurate, or wait until the integrity of the outcome could be confirmed. Most responsible journalists demand accuracy over speed. 

It is easy now to understand how this situation arose. The Democratic National Committee demanded that Iowa expand its reporting numbers, providing not only the final results of delegates won by a presidential candidate but also the raw totals from when the caucusers in a precinct first met.

Faced with the choice of losing first-in-the-nation status, the Iowa Democratic Party went along with the request, even though the job proved too hard to accomplish with the phone app obtained by party leaders.

OUR VIEW:Put Iowa caucuses out of their misery

University of Iowa students caucus on Feb. 3, 2020, in Iowa City.

But none of this diminishes the value of the Iowa process. Our state retains the features that have made it valuable to the country at large:

►A small enough population base that real voters get to see, hear and measure the fiber of those who would be our next president.

►Terrain that is affordable to travel even for the long-shot candidate, who otherwise would be lost in a New York or California.

►Politics that are open, honest and not governed by a kingmaker.

Although not a diverse state, Iowa has voted with diversity, rewarding a black American, a woman and now an openly gay former mayor with significant support.


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