DES MOINES, Iowa, 4 a.m. – Iowa holds a special place in American political life. It is routinely the first state in which presidential candidates are tested and chosen, and has been since 1972.

Iowans seem to regard their civic responsibility with utmost seriousness. They are aware that the eyes of the world are keenly watching them to see who they choose as their candidates for the White House. Many Americans turn to Iowa for guidance in who should be the 44th President of the United States, but perhaps Iowa does not give resonating advice.

Iowa is one of the whitest states. According to the 2006 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, Iowa’s population was 94.6% white, up from 93.9% in 2000. That same year, the United States as a whole was 80.1 % white. Only four states eclipse Iowa in having a higher percentage of white residents in their population: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia.

For the most part, minorities are conspicuously absent from Iowa’s voting bloc. While that fact may not necessarily translate into candidate preference, perhaps Iowa’s vote should be taken for what it is: Iowa’s vote.

Chris Young