Thought for today: 2024-01-16

This piece was in today’s 1440.
Caucus Day

Former President Donald Trump won the Republican caucus in the Hawkeye State yesterday, garnering 51% of the votes after caucusgoers faced icy temperatures and cast their ballots for the first test of the 2024 presidential primary season. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came in second place (21.2%), ahead of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (19.1%). Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (7.7%) ended his campaign and endorsed Trump. See full results here

The Iowa caucus (see history) is typically recognized as having a pivotal role in shaping the outcome of presidential campaigns, either building or breaking a candidate’s momentum. However, winners of the caucuses aren’t always the eventual nominees of their party, as was the case in the GOP races in 2008, 2012, and 2016, and the Democratic race in 2020. See a breakdown here

This year’s fight to win the Iowa Republican caucus was the most expensive on record, with candidates’ campaigns and affiliated political action committees pouring in more than $120M on ads in the state; Haley spent the most at $37M. Yesterday also marked the coldest caucus day on record, as an arctic blast swept across the US.

Seen in The 1440:

Reading this piece made me think – “What could local non-profits do with $120M?”

It’s startling to think that this amount went into advertising so a single person could win a popularity contest designed to promote the next person that will speak over our country for the next four to eight years.

The saddest part is that the majority of the advertising had small or no effect that can be measured. The person who spent the most did not win.

I can guarantee this – if you gave that $120M to local, vetted, responsible non-profits, you’d see change.

I can similarly guarantee this – the $120M that was squandered here will amount to no change, as seen in recent years.

As I sit here at my desk praying about our country’s future, this gives me anxiety. We need change.