Iowa? New Hampshire? How about Pennsylvania being first for a change?

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By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

So….does anyone know the outcome of the Iowa Caucus?

In truth, does it actually matter?

Which leads to this point: it’s time for Iowa and, frankly, New Hampshire, to take a back seat on this first-in the nation primary/caucus crap.

Truthfully, a state that often finds itself with a meaningless primary should really be first.

Pennsylvania.

Hey, it is where America was literally invented — first with the Declaration of Independence and later, with the U.S. Constitution. More importantly, it’s a big, diverse state that will better test the mettle of would-be presidents and their campaigns.

Honestly, what has Iowa given the world beyond Field of Dreams and all that High-Fructose Corn Syrup that has made America sick and fat and ethanol, which makes our cars run like crap?

Not much. Honestly, who would notice if the U.S. traded Iowa straight up for Manitoba?

New Hampshire isn’t much better. It is really ethnically white and frankly, an awful place to spend time in February. It’s lovely in May and June, so maybe the primary should be then.

And while Pennsylvania isn’t heaven on Earth in February, it is a crucial swing state with a representative population. Additionally, as the state is so important in the general election, it offers benefits from having early ground organizations in place for the two campaigns that win the nomination.

Probably more fair, would be rotating the first state among a half dozen key swing states, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and Arizona seem right off the top of my head, with the rest following shortly thereafter.

With the national media losing its crap based on the results of two largely non-representative states, focused on the day to day horse race — apparently Joe Biden is dead and Bernie Sanders is going to win the nomination and get wrecked by Donald Trump — states where the national election will really be decided are left out in the cold.

How different would the narrative be if Biden opened the election season with a big win in Pennsylvania? Would the stories be about Pete Buttigieg’s teetering campaign after a weak showing among Pennsylvania’s African-American voters? Would an insurgent Elizabeth Warren be putting pressure on Sanders after a poor Pa. showing?

Just a thought.

***

For those of you panicking about the state of Biden — and yes, he has many friends and supporters in Chester County, as he lives literally minutes away and spends lots of time in the county with friends and family — I’d wait a bit before launching into full lemming mode and racing off the cliff.

Yes, the Iowa numbers — which were about as expected — seem to be hurting Biden in New Hampshire. But polling in NH is notoriously inaccurate in past primaries, so even those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. If Biden ticks back up and is within shouting distance of Sanders and Buttigieg, he should move on to the Nevada caucus and South Caroline poised for victories, which will again put the narrative on its head.

If Biden gets crushed in NH, and then sees a hangover in Nevada (maybe) and South Carolina (less likely), then his entire campaign will hang on Super Tuesday.

But the political obituaries by the national media are just a wee bit premature.

***

The biggest political news in the county broke Friday night when state Sen. Andy Dinniman announced he would not seek a fourth term in the state Senate.

To say Dinniman was the power in Democratic politics for the last three decades might actually understate his impact. From party chair, to long-time County Commissioner to the last decade and a half in the Senate, Dinniman was never far from the headlines on the issues that mattered — and a force to be reckoned with behind the scenes.

My first encounter with Andy was in late 2001 or early 2002 on the phone — and he was yelling at me.

Loudly.

I was a rookie committee person and zone leader in the Kennett Area and had declared for Ed Rendell in that year’s gubernatorial race. Andy was — and remains — close to Bob Casey Jr. He was, shall we say, forceful, and made it clear in no uncertain terms I was making a mistake in supporting Rendell. Although Rendell went on to serve two terms, my supporting him and working for his election remains the single biggest mistake I made in politics. While Casey, now a U.S. Senator, has proven to be a deeply ethical, strong leader, Rendell….well, not so much.

And to be sure, when Casey was defeated in the primary, no one worked harder than Dinniman to elect Rendell.

Despite this initial, uh, disagreement, Dinniman must have seen something in me, and from there on offered support and benefit of his deep pool of wisdom. Much of what I learned about politics in Chester County came from Andy — the longtime West Chester University professor remains a brilliant teacher.

Andy and his wife Margo — a force of nature in her own right — deserve some quality time away from the spotlight of politics.

While this might make the 2020 race to fill the 19th District Senate seat more interesting — I’m told long-time Dinniman staffer and Phoenixville Democratic leader Don Vymazal is going to run to take over for Dinniman — this marks the end of an era.

Andy’s leadership — especially on the Mariner East II pipeline – will be missed. But I have a feeling even in retirement, he’ll find a way to make his mark. The people of Chester County owe him congratulations and many thanks for his decades of service.

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