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Arthur I. Cyr: Iowa caucuses retain distinctive - but not decisive - role

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04.02.2020

“The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye,” a signature line from the classic musical “Oklahoma,” comes to mind concerning the Iowa caucuses for presidential candidates.

A large, tall cornfield can conceal mischievous activities. Joking aside, corn is an important crop but only one among many. Iowa is a relatively small state and also notably homogenous in population.

Yet, tremendous attention is devoted by the media and party activists to the caucuses. The results can significantly shape presidential contests, sometimes decisively.

In 2016, Iowa boosted insurgents in both parties. Democrat Hillary Clinton won the caucuses, but barely defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders’ strong second-place finish gave his long-shot campaign a major boost.

Sen. Ted Cruz won the Republican primary. He was already viewed as a major contender, but Donald Trump finished a strong second giving his unusual campaign tremendous new credibility.

In 2020, the........

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