The Iowa results were interesting to me for a number of reasons. First of all, Obama came out as the Democratic winner. The fact that he did so well tells me that perhaps some of those old prejudices are going away. Despite being black, white people voted for him. Presumably despite the claim he isn’t “black enough,” some number of African Americans must have voted for him.
Second, the fact that Hillary came in third tells me that many women chose not to vote for her. Rather than voting based on gender, they voted based on other factors. This is good because people seem to be focused on issues, not on race or gender.
On the Republican side, the media had gleefully predicted the demise of the so-called “values voters,” those who look at a candidate’s morals, ethics, and values, and his or her positions on issues that are important to them (such as abortion, gay rights, pornography). Of course everybody votes their values, but “values voter” is a code word for Evangelical Christians of conservative persuasion. What I just said is not redundant, because there are Christians who are theologically evangelicals yet are liberal when it comes to many of these social issues. The media doesn’t understand this, and I don’t think even realizes there is also a Religious Left, not just a Religious Right. But I digress.
On the Republican side, Huckabee won, showing that values voters are alive and well. Hopefully they voted based on his positions on various issues, not just on his faith. The fact that Romney came in second shows that formal religion for many is not as important as values, morals, ethics, and policy positions. I believe this is a good sign. Let’s see what happens in New Hampshire.