Iowa matters less than ever in 2020

In the new year, with the caucuses rapidly approaching, no candidate (save for Delaney) is embarking on an Iowa-or-bust strategy. Back in 2008, between Dec. 1 and the caucuses on Jan. 3, the top candidates spent at least 23 of the campaign’s final 34 days in Iowa. But this month, Buttigieg isn’t scheduled to return until Jan. 12, and in the meantime has spent three days in the Super Tuesday state of Texas. After a couple of days in Iowa at the start of the year, Klobuchar went to Nevada and New Hampshire. Sanders left last Sunday and won’t be back until this Saturday. For the first half of the month, Warren is campaigning in the state only on the weekends, while last Tuesday she held a rally with Julián Castro in New York. Biden hasn’t been to Iowa since Sunday, relying for now on a bus tour of surrogates.

To borrow the language of Drew Magary, a columnist for Medium’s Gen magazine who recently complained about Iowa’s excessive influence in presidential politics, why aren’t Iowa’s “trucker-hat voters who, by now, probably have Jake Tapper on speed dial” being fussed over as much as in the past?

Because the Democratic National Committee wanted it this way, and engineered changes to the process that have sharply reduced the influence of the Iowa caucuses, along with New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.

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