My National Review colleague Jim Geraghty has been on something of a jihad against the caucuses of late. One of his chief complaints is how small the caucus-going electorate is. Iowa’s total population is just about 3 million, but nowhere near that many people vote in the caucuses. On the GOP side, somewhere between 80,000 and 120,000 people show up. Turnout has never exceeded 23% of registered Republicans. (The numbers for Democrats aren’t all that different.) “Iowa has .97% of the United States population,” writes Geraghty. That means that “if anyone drops out after Iowa, 99.03% of us will never have the opportunity to cast a vote in support of that candidacy.”

And this doesn’t even factor in the incandescent stupidity of the non-binding pseudo-event known as the Ames straw poll, which weeds out contenders months before the caucuses…

Why not rotate the first in the nation status every four years? If partisans are worried that such a system would tilt in one party’s favor, it would be easy to set up a mechanism where instead of Iowa and New Hampshire, we split the first two contests between a reliably red state and blue state. Given the demographic factors at work, that would all but guarantee a split between farming states and urban ones. Or we could declare that whichever state had the closest results in the previous general election could go first the next time around, guaranteeing swing states get first crack.