I get it, I swear I do. Iowa is the first state in the nation to have a say about the presidential nominees. It's a caucus state, which AFAIK tends to skew results away from the center. Mike Huckabee won Iowa in 2008. There's a nasty rumor going around that Mitt Romney's not actually a bigot. So yeah, there are reasons why political horse race fans might care about what that segment of Iowa thinks.
But come on.
Iowa's population is somewhat below average. Even with the extra two votes every state gets just for existing, Iowa only has 6 electors (the average is 10.5, the median is 8). Iowa will get 28 delegates to the Republican national convention, out of 2288 total.
In contested races, the winner of the Iowa Republican caucuses has gone on to win the nomination three out of six times. So that's pretty impressive. I guess.
It's a forgone conclusion that the Republican nominee will be both horrible and religious even if a lot of Evangelicals think he's a heathen.
Could we talk about Florida? That's a huge swing state with an early primary. FWIW, I'll bet there are bigots there, too.
How about Ohio? It's a Super Tuesday state. It's in the rust belt. It highlights the whole 'what the fuck about the economy, assholes?' aspect of this election.
There's another reason I'm tired of hearing about pious Iowans. Yeah, out of all the Iowans who are Republicans, a reasonable fraction of those that plan on attending the caucuses are evangelical Christians. Fun, sexy times.
But while I'm no PhD in Iowology from Oral Roberts University, I have lived most of my life in the Midwest. I detect a certain strain of coastal elitism in the implication that Iowa goes with God.
I mean, only about half of Iowans are Protestant for fuck's sake. And it's not as if Iowa's solidly conservative. It's always had a typically Upper-Midwestern populist, progressive streak to it. In 1933, the governor had to call out the national guard to control rioters who were attacking banks (because, um, the banks were foreclosing on people's homes). Tom Harkin is one of Iowa's two US Senators. He's not Karl Marx, but he's not exactly Chuck Grassley, either.
I'm not arguing that Iowa's a super diverse (hint: it's pretty white) but it's hardly a wasteland of