The extreme media attention given to the early voting states can be unpopular — some say it skews the race in a way that ignores true electorate preferences. For example, Iowa, the first state, is extremely homogeneous (the population is 95 percent white) and cares a lot about corn subsidies.
But it's not all negative. The early states hold candidates responsible to groups of sophisticated voters who cannot be bought off by deep pockets. In addition, the Democratic Iowa contest doesn't use secret ballots, so voters must articulate reasons for supporting a candidate. Finally, the attention given to early small states is one of the few chances for these states to remain relevant on the national scene.
This year, it might all be different! The realities have been turned upside down. Neither party has a clear frontrunner, and it might come down to Super (Duper?) Tuesday when 24 states vote. Mass media campaigns and big states might actually wield some influence, for better or for worse.
So what do you think — is the US nomination process good for democracy?