Ron Paul and Rick Santorum Surging, But What Would A Victory in the Iowa Caucus Mean?

On January 3, the United States kicks off yet another knock-down, drag-out fight for the presidency. The first stop on this tour targets the Midwest state of Iowa, the traditional start of the presidential election.

But with Represenative Ron Paul (R-Texas) surging and former Senator Rick Santorum making a run in the polls from out of nowhere, the question is beginning to be asked: Is the Iowa caucus important, at all?

When the Republican Party held their caucas in Iowa in 2008, former governor Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) won — and with a pretty sizeable margin. In 1988, Bob Dole won the Iowa caucus, but he didn't win the nomination that year. In 1980, the would-be president Ronald Reagan lost to his running mate, George H. W. Bush. The talk, then, was the same as it is, now: The "power, established candidates" are making major moves in other states where, seemingly, the primaries matter more. Iowa is being used to feel out the electorate.

Governor Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) threw her powerful endorsement toward Mitt Romney two weeks ago. Her "rising star" status within the GOP meant this support carried weight — completely overshadowing the importance of the Iowa Caucas. Many are actually reporting that the race doesn't truly begin until South Carolina's primary, which takes place later in January. 

Most media outlets, seemingly, are not taking the Iowa caucas seriously. The type of canvass campaigning in Iowa, walking from resident to resident, is tailor-made for Paul's style of campaigning — but it's not creating the buzz one would assume. The national media are keeping a measured tone, and have done so for the past two months. If anything, the race itself, along with the media, have used this time to weed out who can't cut the mustard moreso than who will get the jump to earn the Republican presidential nomination for 2012.

Even though the Midwest is going to be the battleground area where many of the swing states reside for 2012, deciding who Iowans would want as the Republican candidate won't carry much punch. 

Photo CreditCJ Smith