Wow, Iowa!

The first time that I was shown up by residents of Iowa was when I was interviewing for a postdoctoral position at the University of Iowa.  The taxi ride from the small airport into Iowa City passed field after field of corn, playing into my presuppositions of a rural and thus conservative state.  But the conversations that I had were pleasant enough.  And then someone asked me, "What's up with you guys in California and that anti-immigrant law?"  

My supposedly liberal home state of California had just recently passed proposition 187.  Prop 187 was an idiotic bill designed to deny undocumented workers social services, health care, and public education.  I say idiotic because even if you dislike undocumented workers, you wouldn't rationally want to deprive their children of education, nor deprive their families of health care so that they're forced to use the emergency rooms.  The denial of these most basic of necessities would make things even more expensive for everyone in the long run.  187 passed, much to my shame, but was overturned by a federal court.

And here was this guy in Iowa who couldn't understand what had gotten into us.  Neither could I.

So I should have learned my lesson to not discount Iowa.  Yet as the Iowa caucus came around, I didn't say it but I wasn't really expecting much.  It didn't matter what the polls said, I barely paid attention to them, the Bradley Effect was much on my mind.  Perhaps Obama would have a chance of winning in the more cosmopolitan, more progressive states, but surely not in Iowa.  

Color me absolutely and happily mistaken.  The voters of Iowa have sent a challenge to the rest of the United States, especially to the so-called liberal blue states.  Maybe the Bradley Effect is over?  Maybe race will no longer be the dominating factor in public elections?  

She says, hopefully...

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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative