Are the Iowa caucuses still useful? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Are the Iowa caucuses still useful?

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The 2016 presidential election is just around the corner, and as candidates make their formal announcements, so come criticisms of the Iowa caucus system.

The caucuses, long regarded as an litmus test for presidential hopefuls, face similar scrutiny every four years. The events, when Democrats and Republicans gather separately to stump for their candidates, are seen by some as defunct. Others believes Iowans no longer represent the country's ideals as a whole.

“If the process started in any other state, you'd see a different outcome,” said KWWL Political Analyst Chris Larimer.

The position as first in the presidential circuit is a coveted one, said Larimer. It draws big names to small towns.

“We get a chance to candidates up close, and that's something other states don't get,” he said. “If you talk to folks in other states, they're absolutely fascinated and blown away by them.”

Still, there are some who'd let Iowa slide — among them this week, and Esquire magazine columnist, who wrote the Iowa caucuses are “…like beginning the process of electing a pope at Chuck E. Cheese.”

“I think they're jealous,” Larimer said.

Still, he admits the caucus system isn't perfect, noting issues with proper reporting. Still, he said it's an established part of an election.

“It's a process, and it's the first part of the process,” he said.

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