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Why Iowa clings to the top of the campaign calendar, despite a spotty record of picking candidates

Why Iowa clings to the top of the campaign calendar, despite a spotty record of picking candidates

Ted Cruz discussed the pain of his parents’ divorce. Ben Carson recalled losing a young patient in surgery. Mike Huckabee described the anguish of administering the death penalty.

“If that doesn’t sober you up to reality,” the former Arkansas governor said to pin-drop silence from a crowd of hundreds of Christian conservatives, “nothing will.”

It’s hard to imagine such a raw, confessional conversation taking place almost anywhere but Iowa, where every four years White House hopefuls descend to bare their ambitions, present their visions and reveal a bit of their souls in pursuit of the nation’s highest office.

They come and...

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