After an unusually warm December, winter has finally come to Iowa as the election season officially begins. The milder temperatures last month allowed candidates to hold their events outside—where they were overcrowded on sweltering 50 degree days—but now the temperature has dropped to the normal Midwestern chill. It is 12 degrees in Des Moines right now, and this morning, I needed to defrost my car for the first time in the three weeks that I have been here.
I'm not mentioning the cold just to draw pity from our readers in Texas. In our insane political system—where 100,000 Iowans set the stage for the rest of the election season—small differences in turnout matter. The caucuses are already designed to discourage high turnout. You can't show up at a time during the day like in a normal general election. Instead, you must devote your entire evening to listening to each campaign's stump speech and then writing down your name on a piece of paper. Any extra small factor that deters voters from making the trip to the local gym can change election results.
Mitt Romney is likely to suffer most from frigid temperatures. His supporters lack the devotion of a typical Ron Paul fan and may end up being fair-weather friends. Luckily for Mitt, there's no rain or snow in the forecast and temperatures are expected to jump to the mid-30s by this evening.