DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s too white, too old, and wildly unrepresentative of the Democratic Party. In the era of nationalized politics, even some prominent Iowans feared this was the year their state’s influence over the presidential primary season might finally start to decay.
But a strange thing is happening: Iowa appears to matter more than ever.
A confluence of factors — ranging from the historic size of the primary field to the strategic considerations of top-tier candidates — has turned Iowa into the essential early state in 2020. Since July, candidates have made more than 800 appearances in the state, far surpassing totals in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, according to candidate trackers maintained by The Des Moines Register and news outlets in the other three states.