The rhetorical, anonymous “they’s” have been out in full force the last few days, whispering in the ears of the mainstream media that Iowa is too white, too evangelical, and too rural for its caucus to accurately reflect mainstream America. The Christian Science Monitor (link opens a PDF file) disagrees:
There is no denying that the Hawkeye State is something of an outlier here. But race and ethnicity are not the only factors that determine whether a state is representative of the US as a whole. It may not be the most important, either, politically speaking,” says the Monitor. “On other demographic measures – income numbers, union membership, seat belt use, high school graduation rate, and so forth – Iowa is much more like the rest of the nation.”
In fact, Iowa is the 12th-most representative state, say political scientists Michel Lewis-Beck of the University of Iowa and Peverill Squire of the University of Missouri. In 2009, they took 51 different indicators of social, cultural, political, and policy activities and measured how Iowa compared with the rest of the US, including such things as state average income, consumption of alcoholic beverages, percentage of vanity license plates, and voter turnout. Their report concluded that while Iowa is whiter and older than other states, on most everything else, it was among the more average states in the US.
The whole racism angle, as tiresome as it is, is actually interesting in this case because it dove-tails so well with the Democrats’ apparent abandonment of the white working class in their 2012 campaign plans.
I’ve got to hand it to elitist East Coast liberals for their remarkable consistency. White Americans who lack both an Ivy Leage worldview and a top 5% income (categories where most Iowans would fall, I would imagine) just don’t matter any more. They aren’t “America.” And it’s simply not worth trying to appeal to their bitter, gun and Bible-clinging ways in order to win their votes.
In 2008, liberals made fun of what they called the “bigot belt” – the swath of counties in midwestern and southern states that voted even more strongly Republican than they did in 2004. Nowadays, it seems like a more appropriate name should be the “see-I-told-you-so belt”. And I’d look for it to widen considerably in 2012, courtesy of the real bigots on the Left.