Why Does Iowa Get To Be The Bellwether For All of America?
By Marley K.
The questions are Why Iowa, and why still in 2019?
Why does Lily White Iowa get the honor and White privilege of selecting candidates for President? I read an essay on Medium during what was the worst Black History Month ever that made a brief note about how America worships Whiteness all the time, including during the National Presidential Primary process. I never thought about it until she mentioned it, but after some research, I discovered she was correct in her assessment. Since 1972, Iowa has held the first presidential nominating contests in the country.
Iowa always gets to “give” us our next President. Their influence and opinions matter most.
America is supposed to be a melting pot where all men are equal, yet our nation’s politics are steeped in White Privilege and in White Supremacy.
Why are Iowans entrusted to inform people in non-White places (like South Florida or New York City) on who we should support, based on their issues, needs, lack, desire, and implicit biases? I don’t expect the GOP to change because that’s their base all day every day based on nothing more than skin tone. But why hasn’t the primary process (the path of the primary process) gone through the places which reflects the true demographic makeup of American taxpayers and future taxpayers in 2019?
Why isn’t doesn’t the road go through Guam first, or Hawaii sometimes? Why doesn’t the pathway to the Presidency go through Dearborn Michigan, or Ft. Lauderdale, Florida first? Why not Baltimore, New Mexico, or Montgomery, Alabama? Why doesn’t the road ever pass through Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, or Washington, D.C?
Why does the same group of people get the pleasure of picking who I need to lead me even though clearly our privileges, our needs, and our desires for the nation differ? Even as America evolves, our political processes do not. Does anyone have a problem with that? Does that seem fair? There isn’t even a superb reason anyone can concoct for Iowans being first, not even themselves apparently. Iowans decide for White people living in the most rural state Iowa because that’s all they know. Do they understand South Florida? Little Haiti, Little Havana, Hialeah, Opa-Locka, or Lauderhill?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau Quick facts, As of July 1, 2018, Iowa has a population of 3,156,145. A total of 91% of the population is White alone, only 3.8% of the population is Black, 2.6% is Asian, 6% is Hispanic, and the rest of the people identify as other. Only 5% of the population is foreign-born. Only 27% of the population have Bachelor degrees or higher, 91% of the population has a high school diploma.
What makes them better or more qualified than any other state in the Union?
And what about the Democratic Party? The party is supposed to be so diverse, so inclusive, and so forward-thinking — but the more I examine the party, the more I see it’s no different from the GOP. Watching Cory Booker, Kamala Harris panders to Whiteness for votes in Iowa is quite eye-opening. When it was just Obama, it was not that noticeable. It’s always noticeable when GOP candidates of color and all the female Presidential candidates pander in the sea of Whiteness in Iowa. I can recall watching Ben Carson and thinking about how he must feel doing that.
Apparently, he is doing just fine (lol). No need worrying about him. He is clearly right at home. But other serious candidates of color like Alan Keyes, Herman Cain, or Marco Rubio. How did these candidates feel being judged by people who likely have never interacted with another person of their color in their entire lives? It’s hard to measure up to Whiteness, and these people likely find it difficult to support a Black person who is not biracial (i.e. Obama had a White momma and grandparents).
Why does the Democratic Party allow this practice to continue? Why hasn’t there been a shift in the party’s thinking to make clear they are what they say they are?
Because they really aren’t what they say they are that’s why.
The only difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is the way each party talks to the voters. Instead of speaking hate angrily, Dems speak nicely, and positively. They don’t profess to be protectionists and White nationalists like the GOP; they profess to be more inclusive and diverse. The words of party leaders may be different, but the actions and the intent of both parties are the same. Both parties whether we want to admit it or not are interested in nothing more than protecting and coddling the Whiteness both parties have deemed priceless.
Realistically, the power at the top of both parties looks the same. They go by the same rules and they use the same code. They both are steeped in the same traditions — pandering to Whiteness.
Going to the Whitest parts of Whiteness like Iowa says to People of Color without verbally saying it all that our points of view do not matter. People of Color apparently are fine with the process. It’s not questioned nor is it challenged. Our silence is consent.
I probably would have never given Iowa or the primary process a second thought had Trump not been elected President and White Nationalist-in-Chief and if domestic terrorism wasn’t on the rise. But since he’s the Grand Wizard of my lifetime and he has minions ready and willing to do his bidding, I have been forced to test every system responsible for my well-being, including my political ideologies. I have been examining America for the last few years, and what I have found time and time again is that Whiteness is priceless.
Who the parties go to first determines who runs our national politics. They do to the Whitest (and angriest) of the White spaces and states first. They are a priority. They matter.
Are People of Color not intelligent enough, serious enough, loyal enough, dedicated enough, or rich enough to pander to? Or is it People of Color don’t possess enough power for the Democratic Party? America is not just White and it never has been despite what our whitewashed history tells us. Our political processes should do a better job of addressing diversity to ensure all voices are heard.
For much of this nation’s history, race has been the greatest barrier to a common vision of community. In the minds of many, race is partnered with poverty, which considerably higher poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics persist. Upward mobility has been fleeting for many communities of color. If you look at where our political processes, things like going to Lily White Iowa to focus on their needs and wants first, you begin to see why.
Out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t have a seat at the table where your voice can be heard, other people get to make the decisions for you. Those people are likely going to be White, and most likely a male. With Christian values too — maybe.
If the Presidential Primary process is going to always seek out White people first, they are going to listen to those people on where and how to invest resources (tax dollars). This translates into basic investments nationally into industries, including manufacturing, energy and agriculture. Maybe your area is suffering needs something different. Politicians running for President don’t know and don’t care because all the focus is on Iowa and states like Iowa.
All other communities get crumbs, leftovers, and remnants. Communities of Color are afterthoughts. Don’t listen to what politicians say, watch what politicians do. The actions matter. Their actions impact our lives.
As we go through these unprecedented times, I’m questioning everything, including how in the hell we got here with Donald Trump. For starters, I want to know why Iowa, and why none of you fighting for equality have an issue with it?
Just another step on the journey to knowing my evils.