Iowa Caucuses: Why are they so important?


Graesen Joyce

The Iowa Caucuses mark the beginning of the 2020 presidential campaign.

The Iowa Caucuses took place this week on Monday, Feb. 3. This event gains national media attention every four years as the Iowa Caucuses are the first to cast ballots on potential presidential candidates. What exactly makes them so important? Many consider the Iowa Caucuses to be an indicator of who will win their party’s nomination and eventual support for president. 

This is important for a number of reasons. First, if a candidate does not do well in Iowa, people consider them to be behind in the race for president and stop donating to their campaign. Without donations, many presidential candidates simply do not have the money to continue their campaigns. The primary function that has evolved from the Iowa Caucus is to separate the candidates who have a real shot at success from the rest of the field. Each year, the Iowa Caucuses successfully trim the field down to a handful of hopeful candidates still vying for a chance at their parties nomination. Using them as a springboard, candidates can launch their campaign into overdrive citing their win in Iowa as a projection of their upward mobility. 

Although the Iowa Caucuses cut down the number of hopeful candidates, they don’t necessarily indicate future success in winning the presidency. Out of the eight past democratic nominees, five have won the Iowa Caucuses. Candidates who won include Walter Mondale, Al Gore, John F. Kerry, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. Out of those five, only Obama has gone on to win the presidency. There is one outlier as Bill Clinton won the nomination for the Democratic party and the presidency in 1992.

The Iowa Caucuses give us a sense of how the campaigns of various candidates are shaking out. Giving us a glimpse at the potential candidates for each party and how much the people truly support them. The Iowa Caucuses are the official beginning of what ends up being a long presidential race.