Having lived in both Iowa and New Hampshire, I’m defensive of the fact that the presidential nominating process begins in both states. The vote count debacle for Democrats in Iowa’s caucus has caused many to call for abandoning the caucus tradition, with New Hampshire getting thrown in as collateral damage.

The Boston Globe editorial page opined that “demographically” both states “more resemble 19th-century America than they do the America of today.” It suggested Illinois as a more appropriate state for first-in-the-nation voting.

And therein lies the rub. Iowa and New Hampshire have always had their critics, but what’s the alternative? In Illinois, a state of 12.7 million, candidates would not be forced to engage in the retail politics essential to winning smaller states. Instead they could just carpet-bomb the airwaves with ads. Consider: In the 2018 gubernatorial race a billionaire Democrat successfully spent $171 million of his wealth to unseat the near-billionaire Republican incumbent, who spent around $70 million of his own money.

Would that be preferable to holding house parties across New Hampshire? Early Iowa results showed billionaire Tom Steyer with .3% of the vote. Yet in South Carolina, with over 5 million people, his heavy spending had vaulted him to polling in the double digits.

The more people, the less retail politics matters. Steyer’s fellow billionaire, former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, is counting on this, by bypassing early states and hoping to buy victories in big states like California, where television ads alone can win the day. Is that what we want?

And lest the Globe characterize Iowa and New Hampshire as places where rubes drive around in horse-drawn carriages, let’s acknowledge that demographic diversity can include things like age. New Hampshire has the nation’s second-oldest population, while a recent New York Times article was entitled “The Graying of the American Economy Is on Display in Iowa.”

As a country, we must come to grips with our aging society. Is it not an essential task for presidential candidates to address how we will serve the long-term care needs of a “Silver Tsunami” of Baby Boomers? And aging will also inexorably drive increased ethnic diversity, as immigrants replace retiring workers, as they have in Iowa, or assist in providing long-term care services. The future of long-term care – particularly – depends heavily upon immigration, as demographers and advocacy organizations like the Paraprofessional Health Institute note.

It may be that the logistical nightmare of the Iowa caucus needs to be abandoned, but that should not mean that Iowa itself falls to the back of the line. Those criticizing the state might contemplate the contents of their refrigerators and pantries. Once upon a time agriculture, as opposed to agribusiness (note the distinction), meant something to this nation, and its politicians, as it did to both sets of my grandparents – who had family farms.

As President Eisenhower once said, “farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” Where else, but Iowa, are you forced to address the concerns of family farmers?

Our presidential nominating system is not perfect, to be sure. But try to find a perfect alternative.

Monday, February 17, 2020
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IN THE SEVEN presidential elections since 1992, the Republican presidential nominee has won the popular vote exactly once. The lone GOP candidate to receive a majority of the national vote was George W. Bush in 2004. Bush’s election-day victory over Democrat John Kerry, who had, in most obse…

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MATT SCHLAPP, chairman of the American Conservative (cough) Union, which hosts the annual CPAC conference, tweeted that he was disinviting Mitt Romney from the confab this year because he “could not guarantee his physical safety” after the senator voted to convict Donald Trump in the impeach…

Saturday, February 15, 2020
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FROM the day he entered the race, Joe Biden was the great hope of the Democratic establishment to spare them from the horrifying prospect of a 2020 race between The Donald and Bernie Sanders.

Friday, February 14, 2020
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
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“SHOUT OUT, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet!” said the prophet Isaiah, which we read in church on Sunday, but nobody shouted. We are flatlanders, brought up to be still and behave ourselves and listen to instructions, but if the instruction is to shout out and raise your …

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

LAST MONDAY’S Iowa caucuses were an epic failure for Democrats. Thanks to a star-crossed ballot-tabulation program written by alumni of the Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns, final results were still unavailable as of early Thursday morning. The party that is desperate to control every Ame…

It’s comforting, no doubt, to believe that Donald Trump has survived the impeachment trial because he possesses a tighter hold on his party than did Barack Obama or George W. Bush or any other contemporary president. In truth, Trump, often because of his own actions, has engendered less loya…

During his floor speech explaining his vote to convict Donald Trump, Mitt Romney was overcome by emotion and paused to compose himself. The intense moment came when he spoke of his devotion to God, saying: "I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am." Lump in throat. Lon…

Sunday, February 09, 2020

JUST AS he has done throughout his business career and personal life, Donald Trump bullied his way through being only the third President in history to be impeached. He was not removed from office by the Senate — not because he was found “not guilty”, but because he threatened, stonewalled a…

Saturday, February 08, 2020
Friday, February 07, 2020

Brendan W. Williams, M.A., J.D., is the president and CEO of NH Health Care Association in Pembroke.