And good riddance, Ames
A piece out today in the Wall Street Journal details the fact that the Ames Straw Poll is a weak indicator of presidential candidate viability, and an even lesser fundraiser for the local party.
This is not idle speculation. Michele Bachmann managed to squeak a win in the very last episode of the poll. Ron Paul managed to lose by a mere 150 votes. Both candidates were never viable presidential candidates, let alone Republican nominees.
Bachmann went on to surrender shortly, after a humiliating loss in Iowa, the state that had just before crowned her Victor of Ames.
Mr. Paul went on to execute a credible run, but never had the momentum, or support of his party to pull off a larger win. His participation in the first Republican debate, in which Gary Johnson took part, should be sufficient in hindsight to make the point plain.
As the Journal notes of the Ames’s prescience, “[i]ts track record as an anointer of GOP nominees falls far shy of impressive. Only two victors, Bob Dole in 1995 and George W. Bush in 1999, went on to win the Iowa caucus the next year and then the nomination in November. And only one, Mr. Bush, went on to become president.”
However, there is a further point to this that hasn’t yet been made explicitly, at least as far as I have managed to see: the money that the Ames circus generated is now less important than it was in the past.
Long a fundraiser for the surrounding chapter of the Republican party, it generated cash needed functional cash. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad states it well: “It has been a great fundraiser for the party but I think its days are over.”
In the age of Citizen’s United, the sums that the Ames Poll could generate are now paltry, and rear-view. The financial game of politics has at least been temporarily changed.
This absolves us of the need for such a blatantly money-grubbing farce.
And good riddance, fried butter and food-on-a-stick.