Why Obama Just Won Iowa

The 500 year flood that recently hit Eastern and Central Iowa may alter more than just the countryside of the Hawkeye State. The devastation is likely to send a profound ripple through the country's political landscape and into the upcoming election. With the 2008 presidential race now in full swing both candidates are vying for crucial swing states. Iowa's importance, like its geography will remain a central point of the contest owing to the margin of victory in each of the last two presidential elections (10,059 votes in 2004, 4,144 in 2000).

The affected area is massive but largely decentralized with Governor Culver (D) declaring 83 of Iowa's 99 counties state disaster areas, 42 of these counties have been declared federal disaster areas. People are affected by this event, they are homeless; they are unemployed; they are without basic necessities; they are left with no means of moving forward. The farming year is over; the vast majority of crops have been ruined and there is no hope of salvaging the harvest in most areas. The farmers themselves are covered by the farm bill of 2002 that provides a subsidy in the neighborhood of 70% based on their theoretical yield; but they don't get a free pass as their yield, or lack thereof affects future subsidy awards. But these natural disaster subsidies won't cover the other 79.4% (USDA, 2002) of Iowa's workforce employed by an industry other than farming.

For the vast majority of Iowans affected by the flooding, federal aid will be their only hope. The people of Iowa deserve help just like the people of New Orleans deserved help. The problem however lies in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) complete inability to provide for citizens in need. Whether FEMA's idiocy was a choice or complete incompetence regarding New Orleans the same results or lack thereof cannot happen in Iowa without dire consequences. If for no other reason the Bush Administration should help Iowans for the political expediency of the Republican Party. Under the current circumstances, if aid is not provided, the political climate in Iowa will shift as troubled residents hold the ruling party responsible for their current situation and defect to the Democratic side. The size of this shift would be difficult to predict, but with the margins of previous elections it's a safe bet that Barack Obama has the state locked up unless the Bush Administration provides an unprecedented amount of aid to the people of Iowa; but based on previous encounters, like their response to Katrina, this preposition seems unlikely and thus I feel confident declaring Barack Obama the winner of Iowa's seven electoral votes.

Update: It also doesn't help that McCain was asked by Governor Culver to cancel his visit to Iowa because it would divert attention away from flood relief. Many of the police officers currently charged with handling the thousands of people displaced by the flooding were placed on security detail for the McCain visit. McCain pledged to help the people of Iowa while those actually helping the people were helping McCain instead.

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