Aw, shucks, I missed it

The Iowa state fair happened this past weekend, and it was a disgusting spectacle. Iowa has an oversized political reputation, solely because it has the first primary in the presidential election, so every Republican candidate shows up to shake hands and kiss babies and pretend they care about a small farm state, rather than because they enjoy fried-cheese-onna-stick or want to weigh in on the qualities of prize pigs.

There were two spectacles worth noting. One was the way the press fawned over this event, comparing the size of the crowds for various candidates and acting as if this was meaningful. A good healthy journalism wouldn’t care about the opinions of a self-selected mob of yokels and how many corn dogs they ate, they’d be talking about policies and records and, in one case, criminal history. But no, this was a celebrity spectacle with no weight at all.

The second was…Trump is back to lying again and hyping the imaginary size of his crowds.

I don’t think I can take another year of this bullshit. Narcissistic serial liars are so 2020.

By the way, the Stevens County Fair took place here last week — I couldn’t go, I’m trapped in a small room in our house cultivating chronic pain, but Mary went, and she said there was less knee-jerk MAGA nonsense and fewer Trump flags waving than last year, so that’s a slightly positive development. Also, Trump didn’t show up.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    solely because it has the first primary caucus in the presidential election…


  2. cartomancer says

    I could probably google it, but why exactly does the US have such a long, drawn-out election process? Is it a hangover from a time when travel and logistics were more difficult, or is it a creation of modern spectacle-driven media? Or something else? Most countries (including much bigger ones, like India) manage the process from start to finish in a few weeks – why does the US insist on taking the best part of two years?

  3. birgerjohansson says

    Cartomancer @ 3
    Even failed states like Britain can handle this process faster. 😊

  4. says

    The state fair scene gives candidates a chance to show how like regular people they are. The common clay of the midwest. You know…morons.
    Of course, Trump can’t do anything that isn’t “like never seen before in America.”
    Meanwhile, DeSantis is showing his relatability with the tried and true “I’m a big sports guy” ploy, running an ad proclaiming his “game plan for America.” It features a cute diagram of a football play with the players represented by X’s and O’s, just like a real coach would use. Unfortunately, the offense is in an illegal formation with only six players on the line of scrimmage, while the defense has only ten players on the field, two of whom are offside. So, offsetting penalties, replay the down.
    It’s going to be a long 15 months.

  5. moarscienceplz says

    “why exactly does the US have such a long, drawn-out election process?”
    For the same reason we spend four months buying crap for other people, most of which will be utterly forgotten by 8 PM on December 25: it generates lots of $$$.

  6. Walter Solomon says

    I plan on ignoring all politics and then voting Democratic for everything in November 2024. US politics are too cretinous to give it so much of your attention.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    cartomancer @ # 3: … why exactly does the US have such a long, drawn-out election process?

    It crept up on us. When Sen. George McGovern (D-SD) announced his presidential run in 1972, he broke a record by declaring in November of ’71, a full year before the election: before that, nobody started an overt campaign before the January of that election year. Unfortunately, of all the things McGovern did, nothing else set a precedent.

    The original concept (though not spelled out in the Constitution) had it that “public men” wouldn’t even hint at a desire for the presidency, but would wait for the Electors chosen by state legislatures to call on them to serve. That pretense lasted about two generations, until Andrew Jackson (inaugurated 1829), though some still performed a similar theater for decades later. (Behind the scenes, of course, party operatives started hustling hard as soon as George Washington made it clear he did not want a third term – Aaron Burr in particular pioneered much of the methodology still used today and won the vice-presidency by delivering New York for Thomas Jefferson in 1800.)

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    As for the Iowa State Fair™, Filipkowski’s xweet omitted the very best part (via Lalee Ibssa via Digby:

    Gov. Ron DeSantis walks through a crowd chanting “We love Trump” and “We want Trump”

    [video link at link]

  9. robro says

    cartomancer @ #3 — Why so long? To triple down on an answer, moarscienceplz @ #8 got it: Money…and more precisely greed…which is the driving force in almost all US politics. The rationale has been that it costs a lot of money to run for president or even state wide campaigns you have to start early to get the dollars flowing.

    Of course, because running for office is so costly, it’s a huge corruption opportunity. As my dad would often say, why does a person spend a few million dollars to win an office that pays only a few hundred thousand…promises made for money, promises kept when in office. Part of the solution would be public funding and limiting how much can be spent. There is some for the first, but there’s no limit and enacting a limit is deemed a “free speech” limitation. Can’t take away the billionaires right to twist politics to their ends.

    Chump is the shinning example of this. He has been campaigning practically since he lost the last election and right now he is raking in money from his idiot base for his “campaign”, tho much of the money is paying his legal fees. He doesn’t have to campaign, and rumor is he might not even attend the first debate which is soon.

    BTW I read an opinion piece the other day that started with how Iowa was once Democratic stronghold, so the Iowa caucuses were a big deal for Democrats before it was for Republicans.

  10. tacitus says

    why does the US insist on taking the best part of two years?

    Because that’s the length of time between elections, and unlike in the UK, there’s no restrictions on the amount of money or the length of time candidates can campaign for.

    Members of the House of Representatives are elected every two years. The first thing successful candidates do after election night is get on their phones and start fundraising for their next election two years hence. It never ends.

  11. robro says

    tacitus @ #14 — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez commented after her first election that the very first meeting with her fellow congressional Democrats was devoted to…campaigns and donations. Not policy. Not strategy. Not out smarting the Republican agenda, which shouldn’t be that difficult. Nope. It was raising money for the next election which was right around the corner. The two year term may have had its day 100 years ago. OTOH…short terms do promise to “get da bums” out faster but it’s actually never achieved that.

    Apparently there’s even a label for this: careerism. Here’s some unverified stats for length of terms in the US House:

    Between the Second and 12th Congresses (1791-1813), the average years of service for a Member of the House ranged from a low of 1.0 years to a high of 3.7 years. From the 13th Congress to the 47th Congress (1813-1883), the average service fluctuated from a low of 1.4 years in the 33rd Congress (1853-1855) to a high of 3.3 years in the 20th Congress (1827-1829). From the 48th through the 69th Congresses (1883-1927), the average was between 2.4 years and 5.8 years. In the 70th through the 72nd Congresses (1927-1933) during the Great Depression, the average years of service rose to an all-time high, to that point, of around seven years of service.

    One of the highest levels of turnover in the 20th century occurred in the Franklin D. Roosevelt landslide election of 1932, and in succeeding congressional election cycles as Republicans began to regain seats lost in 1932. In the 73rd through the 76th Congresses (1933-1941), the average length of House service fell below six years before trending upward (with some fluctuations) over the next 65 years.

    From the 84th through the 101st Congresses (1955-1991), service ranged from then record highs of eight to more than nine years, with the exception of the 96th through the 98th Congresses (1979- 1985), when service was somewhat more than seven years. In the 102nd Congress (1991-1993), the average House service reached an all-time high of 10.2 years. The average length of service then fluctuated between eight and nine years from the 103rd to the 109th Congresses (1993-2005), except for the 104th and 105th Congresses (1995-1999), when the change in party control saw the average service decline to 7.7 years. Since the 109th Congress (current is the 118th), the average years of service has been greater than 10 years.

    The Senate ain’t no better. If you were to ask me, it’s almost like it’s deliberate.

  12. wzrd1 says

    Alas, I could find no reference in any news about the state fair on whose corn dogs tasted better.
    Pity, at least that would be worth my time.

  13. wzrd1 says

    Historically though, the reason for a long election campaign season was due to the distance by foot and horse to traverse the 13 colonies. Remember, there were no trains back then, so it was either on foot or by horse. Figure 10 – 30 miles per day.
    As the nation expanded, travel distance increased, but travel time decreased as the steam era emerged and steam powered trains increased far beyond the range of a man on foot or a horse could travel in a day, but there was an gap for a time.
    During that time, well, money began to pour in, helping Kansas bleed and only worsening over the centuries.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    Any politician who votes to keep this protracted system should be forced to only travel by horse and buggy between primaries.

  15. wzrd1 says

    birgerjohansson, what utter rubbish! Why waste a horse, when that politician can also walk that same distance alone?
    After all, once you’ve looked at distance of travel, both travel at around the same length of time before requiring rest.
    I recommend drive mode on a Taser to ensure proper compliance. ;)

  16. antigone10 says

    As a connoisseur of state fairs, the Minnesota State Fair is far superior to Iowa’s in every way, but especially logistically. Honestly, I’ve been to 38 state fairs, and Minnesota’s is hands down the best of the bunch.