Today's Wall Street Journal examines the "Iowa homeschoolers vote" noting that Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Herman Cain attended the annual lobby day for the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators yesterday.
The state's homeschoolers are estimated to number around 9,500 families, with the number growing briskly. Alongside Iowa's large evangelical community, homeschoolers helped propel Mr. Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, to a come-from-behind victory in the 2008 caucus. He beat the second-place finisher by a substantial nine percentage points.
Michelle Bachmann, the Des Moines Register notes, once homeschooled her children, and she drew from her experience to speak to the crowd. "It's up to you to decide. It is not up to some bureaucrat to decide what is best for your children," Bachmann said. "I am so tired of the establishment telling us that they know best."
The homeschool movement, which is by no means uniformly conservative, is an ideal get-out-the-vote machine for Iowa Republicans. The caucuses there are not like regular primaries -- they require a serious time commitment at a particular time of day -- in the evening. A personal connection is usually helpful in bringing out Iowans on caucus night. The effect of a concerted effort by a small, well-organized group is magnified by the low turnout -- just 40,000 votes can be enough to win the GOP caucus in a crowded field.