American political theater made its first curtain call this week with the Iowa Caucuses. While the candidates have been on the trail for well over a year, this week’s vote finally moves from latest polls and talk shows to at least some form of true voter reflection. In all my years, I can’t say I’ve ever really understood the process we go through narrowing down the candidates in order to select one or two to represent their political party in the race for the presidency.
A number of things bother me about the process, but with so much on the line in our country these days we simply have to get it right in this election. I think that thought has been weighing heavily on Iowa Republicans as they consider the candidates. But just voting the person they think most likely to defeat President Obama shouldn’t be their focus. The goal must be to elect the person best suited to unite the country and address the issues we face.
A hundred years ago when election coverage was limited and candidates needed time to travel the country, the state by state process may have made perfect sense in order for the voting population to know the candidates and have an opportunity to see and hear them. In 2012, there are few surprises as there is little we haven’t already learned about the candidates vying for the office. We’ve seen and heard about their blunders, missteps, tears, successes, failures, and scandals. We had the opportunity to watch 20-plus debates, seen and heard the arguments, pro and con. We’ll watch state by state until New Yorkers finally get a chance to register their wishes on April 24. Thirty-four states and voting territories will express their opinions before we get the opportunity to register our two cents.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.