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Trump declares he has the power to keep Iowa the nation's first presidential caucus (he doesn't)

Trump declares he has the power to keep Iowa the nation's first presidential caucus (he doesn't)
Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

President Donald Trump on Tuesday declared himself in charge of which state gets to hold the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Claiming it is an “important tradition,” Trump announced, “As long as I am President, Iowa will stay where it is.”

No president, including this one, has the power to unilaterally declare when the states hold their caucuses or primaries, and certainly not for both parties.

Iowa, under understandable and now tremendous pressure to relinquish its status as  first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state, is unlikely to give that up without a fight. It’s the law – literally.

“Since 1976, both parties have held their first presidential nominating contests in Iowa, and the Iowa state legislature passed a law saying that its caucuses need to be held at least eight days before any other nominating contest,” according to the National Constitution Center. New Hampshire, which like most states holds primaries and not caucuses, has a similar law.

This is the third time in a row Iowa has produced a disaster. In 2012 the Iowa GOP caucuses incorrectly handed the win to Mitt Romney instead of Rick Santorum, who weeks later was named the winner. The results were never fully counted. In 2016 the Sanders campaign doubted the results when Hillary Clinton won, given the thin margin.

Trump has no power over the process, nor should any president.

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