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The Iowa State Fair: Why do you have to come here to be president?

Political Theater, Episode 87

Iowa State Fair mascots walk by the Administration Building at the Iowa State Fair on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Iowa plays a big role in presidential politics because of its first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Even by that standard, though, the Hawkeye State this time feels busier, more significant.

There are more than 20 Democrats running for president, and unlike in previous years, no one is writing the state off. There are also several competitive congressional races here. That means a very busy Iowa State Fair, because all these politicians want to meet voters, make their case at The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox, flip pork chops at the pork tent and eat.

Our first podcast from Iowa was a day in the life; we hope it gave you a sense of what it was like to be here. For this episode, we’re delving deeper into the political theater here. We talk to David Redlawsk, who chairs the University of Delaware’s political science and international relations department. A former Iowa resident himself and a political psychologist and expert on voter behavior, he moved here to spend his ENTIRE sabbatical in the state.

When we talked to him at the fair, he explained just what it is about Iowa that makes it the center of the political universe.

Show Notes:

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