Op-Ed: Filing Lawsuit On Discrimination Grounds to End Iowa, NH First-in-Nation Status


By: Yossi Gestetner

No, I have not yet retained an Attorney. But yes it is time to end this “tradition” of Iowa voting first in Presidential Elections in form of caucuses followed a week later by the New Hampshire Primary.

Many pundits like to point out that the winner of Iowa does not always go ahead to win a party’s nomination. This is true. However, Iowa – a state with three million people where minorities are steeply underrepresented compared to the rest of the nation – does indeed help shape the outcome of the nomination. Tim Pawlenty is gone due to Iowa, and Rick Perry may be out of the game by the time people read this also due to Iowa. Then comes New Hampshire, a state with a mere 1.3 million people where minorities are also grossly under represented, and the winner of the nomination is predicable from there onward.

This craziness has to stop for two simple reasons:

First, the above two states according to the 2010 Census have a total population of 4.36 million people, which is less than 1.5% of the country’s 308 million people. If the big states are ready to be controlled by the small ones, we may as well dissolve the House of Representatives where the bigger states have more representatives (versus the Senate which is in place to give more power to the smaller states).

Second and more importantly, Blacks and Hispanics are a mere 7.9% in Iowa and are a poor 3.9% in New Hampshire, versus 28.9% of the nationwide population. On the flip side, the two states respectively consist 91% and 93% of Whites and they get to decide who will be the President of a country where Whites are only 72.4% of the population. These differences should be grounds for discrimination and Civil Rights lawsuits to force the parties to change the system in a way that more states, reflective of the overall population, get to vote on the first day of a presidential campaign.

As far I am concerned, many redistricting maps are adjusted due to minorities being under represented by smaller margins than the above stats. Therefore, if political leaders do not have the courage to end the system by simply admitting the silliness of giving for a few hundred thousand people the power over 300-plus million people, then indeed this should be stopped on the grounds of civil rights discrimination. I intend to God-willing further review this issue with Federal Law and Civil Rights experts.

(Source: Gestetner Updates)


  1. It’s up to the political parties and the state legislatures. Technically, the political parties are private organization (this was in the Supreme Court case upholding a “white’s only” primary). There is no legal requirement for a party to even hold a primary or to have caucuses. The traditional way was for the party leaders to get together and pick a nominee – so candidates went around talking to the county-level and state-level party leaders.

    If New York wants to be the first primary, there is nothing to stop it from doing so. Indeed, the reason the primaries have move up several months is states keep moving to the front of the line, so Iowa and New Hampshire move up even earlier.

    In all fairness, having the initial primaries in small states allows a “dark horse” to establish credentials, and thereby attract the funds to campaign in the big states. If the big states were first, or there was a national primary, Romney would have an insurmountable advantage (whereas based on polls, several other candidates have managed to overtake him for at least part of the race).

  2. Without going one state at a time, only the very rich will be able to run around nationally, and goodbye to the non-establishment little guy. Someones got to be first, so let get over it that it’s Iowa and NH.

  3. How about first go against the electoral college. Thanx to them, all money is spent in only 10 states. Why should NY loose out on have money spent there?

  4. For many reasons, this article is not worth the paper it is not printed on. I will point out only a few of the problems with this article, which is full of unfounded conclusions.

    1. In the second paragraph, the author writes: “… Iowa … does indeed help shape the outcome of the nomination. Tim Pawlenty is gone due to Iowa, and Rick Perry may be out of the game by the time people read this also due to Iowa.” Tim Pawlenty was gone several months ago, because he was getting no support anywhere and could not raise the funds to campaign. Rick Perry is (or shortly will be) out, and Michelle Bachmann has “suspended” her campaign. But Iowa has nothing to do with the inability of these candidates to reach the nominating convention. Pick a state – any state, big, small, medium – to hold a primary, and some of the candidates are going to be winnowed from the field.

    Perry weakened his candidacy when it became clear that he could not not speak coherently or remember his own proposals. Bachmann – an Iowa native from the same town as an infamous serial killer, not a famous movie star with a similar name as the killer – Bachmann, who was supposedly a “favorite daughter” of Iowa, finished last, perhaps because she could not get any facts right. And if the first primary were held in a state with a minority population served by this web site, Bachmann’s pronunciation of “chutzpah” (she used the same initial consonant sound that starts “chicken”) would not have helped her with the Yiddish-speakers. There is simply no reason to suggest – as the author does – that if the opening primary were a state more aligned with racial/ethnic mix of the US as a whole, Pawlenty, Bachmann and/or Perry would still viable candidates. And a tougher question is: Is there a state whose racial/ethnic mix matches that of the whole nation? The author does not tell us, and I do not pretend to know.

    2. In the last paragraph, the author states that the current system gives Iowa and New Hampshire power over the rest of the US. Historically, Iowa’s caucus winners have rarely become president, or even a candidate, and New Hampshire’s primary winners are not necessarily assured of a nomination or election as president.

    3. The author does not propose any alternative to the current system, let alone explain how a different system would result in different – or better, or more democratic – candidates or presidents. I believe there are some deficiencies in the present system, but if you want to know what they are, do not read this article.

  5. On another note, why do some states still caucus? The process is fraught with opportunities for inaccuracy, not to mention the public nature of the individual’s vote. They actaully write names in on little notepaper, like post-it notes, then those notes get collected and distributed and counted several times. One can imagine how 8 of those might have gotten lost last night!

  6. This is about the most ridiculous theory I’ve heard in a long time. The only more ridiculous theory is bugnot’s; the Electoral College is explicitly established by the constitution, so how can it be unconstitutional?