Steve Hansen: The silly season is in full swing


By Steve Hansen
Former QCS Managing Editor

The eyes of the nation, the world and the media are on Iowa and New Hampshire as we all breathlessly await the results of the first two state primaries as our Quadrennial Silly Season of national political campaigns lopes into full sprint.

These happen to be the first of the primaries that test candidates for national office, and they carry importance far more than they deserve.

The reason for all this importance seems to be tradition alone, which is one more reason, aside from the unrealistic ideological purity contests currently being waged, to call this the Silly Season.

These two relatively small states do not really reflect the electorate as a whole. Using them as predictors is like basing predictions of the BCS championships on how college teams performed in 1975, when college teams have 100 percent turnover every five years or so.

Neither Iowa nor New Hampshire really “looks like” the United States.

New Mexico looks more like the nation than either Iowa or New Hampshire.

As a whole, the U.S. is about 80 percent urban and 20 percent rural.

New Hampshire is 60 percent urban and 40 percent rural.  Iowa is 64 percent urban and 36 percent urban.

New Mexico’s population is about 77 percent urban and 23 percent rural.

Both New Hampshire and Iowa are 94 percent white. The nation is about 77 percent white.

About 83 percent of New Mexicans are white.  New Mexico’s 47 percent of the population that claims to be Hispanic or Latino speaks to diversity, which is more a hallmark of the national population than 94 percent white in the states with the first primaries.

Nationally, according to the Pew organization, 48 percent of Americans either call themselves Democrats or lean that way.  Nationwide, 39 percent either call themselves Republicans or lean that way.

In New Hampshire, 43 percent of residents lean or identify as Democratic, while 40 percent identify or lean as Republican.

In Iowa, 42 percent identify or lean toward the Republicans and 40 percent identify or lean toward being Democrat.

In New Mexico, 45 percent call themselves Democrats or lean that way, and 38 percent say they’re Republican or lean that way.

Could it be that New Mexico could better predict winners and losers on the national stage than either New Hampshire or Iowa?

Maybe New Mexico should host a big, early primary.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:

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