DUBUQUE, IOWA - NOVEMBER 02: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to guests during a campaign stop at Hempstead High School on November 02, 2019 in Dubuque, Iowa. The 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses will take place on February 3, 2020, making it the first nominating contest for the Democratic Party in choosing their presidential candidate. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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.

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