The Big Wide-Mouthed Frog Theory of Iowa Politics

Posted: July 13, 2015 | By: Iowa Caucus Project Staff Tagged: About the Caucuses
Author:  Chris Larimer Associate Professor, University of Northern Iowa July 13, 2015 If there is one lesson the Iowa Caucuses have taught us, it is that name recognition alone will not carry the day (see, for example, the failed candidacies of John Glenn, Ted Kennedy, and Rudy Giuliani). Candidates must be accessible and approachable. Put another way, candidates must adhere to what I call the “big wide-mouthed frog theory of Iowa politics.” This theory is derived from the children’s book, The Big Wide-Mouthed Frog, by Ana Martin Larranaga. In the book, we learn of a wide-mouthed frog who encounters various animals during his travels, including a kangaroo, koala, possum, and finally a crocodile. Upon meeting each animal, the frog asks, “Who are you, and what do you eat?” Despite being much smaller, the frog feels no apprehension about approaching these animals and peppering each one with questions. So it is with the Iowa Caucuses. Voters expect to be able to approach (with relative ease) candidates running for the highest office in the land, and will often do so with little hesitation. Candidates who appear less comfortable with such encounters are at risk of losing support to candidates who can. As the Los […]