Any talk of the 2016 presidential election makes me plug my ears, cover my eyes and go running from the room. However, when such talk involves the GOP doing something it has never done before — say, ending the Iowa straw poll — I’m all ears.
In an interview last week with the Wall Street Journal, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad suggested the state GOP do away with the “obsolete” Ames Straw Poll because it “has outlived its usefulness.”
GOP campaign consultant Charlie Black agreed.
“It’s just something that’s gotten totally out of control,” Black told Fox News. “It’s been bad for years, but no one has had the guts to say it until now.”
Honestly, other than serving as an important fundraiser for the Iowa GOP, which has to fund the Iowa caucuses because they aren’t run by the state, what is the point of the straw poll? History is showing that it certainly isn’t picking winners.
The Journal article reminded us that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota won the 2012 straw poll, placed sixth in the January caucuses, and then, of course, dropped out of the race. And she paid for Randy Travis to entertain her supporters in Ames!
Fox News pointed out that Mitt Romney didn’t even compete in this year’s straw poll and still placed second in the caucuses. But in 2007, he “spent millions and won, only to struggle to a second-place caucus finish, [and] a month later, he quit the race.”
Come on, Iowa. It’s time to put the straw poll to rest. Still hold your carnival-like party in August, but do away with the vote!