The view from Away

Will someone please explain this to me? (And just what have these people been smoking anyway – just look at their eyes….?)

The New York Times says:

The Iowa caucuses open the Republican nominating contest on Jan. 3. The outcome will not only set the tone for the rest of the early-voting states, but also likely start whittling down the field. Social conservatives carry significant sway, but voters say the economy and finding a candidate to beat President Obama are important factors. The changing fortunes of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum shows how voters are searching for a nominee to confront Mr. Obama. Mitt Romney is trying to resolve questions about his appeal to conservatives. The Ron Paul campaign is real and could surprise. Organization matters, and the results will elevate — or extinguish — aspirations of other candidates.

Wikipedia says

There is a debate over the effectiveness and usefulness of caucuses in Iowa.
An Iowa caucus can last up around two hours, preventing people who must work, who are sick, or must take care of their children from casting their vote. Absentee voting is also barred, so active-duty Iowan soldiers lose the opportunity to participate, as do locally-registered college students who leave the state during winter holidays. The final criticism is the complexity of the rules in terms of how one’s vote counts, as it is not a simple popular vote.
Each precinct’s vote may be weighed differently due to its past voting record. Ties can be solved by picking a name out of a hat or a simple coin toss, leading to anger over the true democratic nature of these caucuses. Additionally, the representation of the caucus has had a traditionally low turnout.

120,000-ish people participated.

Mitt Romney wins by a margin of  0.0066%.

The top 3 candidates garnered 70% of the votes.

The only candidate who looks even vaguely qualified for the Presidency gets a total of 745 votes.

I’m a bit confused about it all. I mean, can someone tell me which conclusions can one draw from this triviality?

What I DO know is that the 4th placed candidate in last year’s farce err caucus went on to be selected as the Republican presidential candidate.

With 13% of the vote.

The same as Newt Gingrich.

A bit of a worry….

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