For most of the past year, Iowans have been listening. On Monday, they will do the talking.
In addition to conducting party business at individual caucus sites across the state, the people of Iowa will cast the first votes of the 2020 campaign for president before attention shifts to the Feb. 11 New Hampshire primary. For the obvious reason, Democrats will get the lion's share of attention this year.
Call us biased for our home state if you wish, but we can't conceive of a better place for this process to begin than America's heartland. When presidential campaigns descend on Iowa every four years they find a well-managed state, in which honest government is a tradition, filled with educated, engaged Americans who care passionately about their country, who take seriously their responsibilities as voters and who put candidates to the test. This is a state in which you don't have to be a millionaire to run for president. Everyone gets an equal first chance on an even playing field to sell himself or herself by engaging in true retail politicking at the grassroots level.
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Still, because we do not ignore or diminish the reality of criticism from outside Iowa about our state's coveted status, we understand this state must remain vigilant in protection of its leadoff position (both Democrats and Republicans have started their nomination process here since the 1970s).
One way Iowa can strengthen its hold on No. 1 - and, in turn, properly meet its obligation to the rest of the country - is produce strong turnout on caucus night. Low turnout feeds criticisms about small population and dominance by the fringe. As we have said prior to caucuses of the past, we believe it's important, if not imperative for Iowa to get as many of its informed citizens to participate as possible.
So whether you are Republican or Democrat and whether you are driven by candidate, delegate or platform decisions, let your voice be heard tomorrow night.
Troy Price, state chairman, anticipates his party's wide-open presidential race will result in more Democratic caucusgoers this year than in 2008 when a record 239,000 Democrats participated.
That's one good sign that with the nation's eyes upon us, Iowans will rise to the occasion once again.