Every four years we hear it: the many, many complaints that Iowa and New Hampshire are unrepresentative of the nation yet they get to go first in presidential voting. Black, Hispanic and Asian voters are scarce. There are no major cities.
But if you accept that the parties choose nominees, it doesn't matter which states vote first. And Iowa and New Hampshire are really national, not local, battles.
It isn't as if a representative sample of all Democratic or Republican voters chooses the parties' nominees anywhere. Those with clout are the most active members, at the state and national levels -- the politicians, campaign and governing professionals, donors and activists, formal party officials and staff, party-aligned interest groups and the partisan press.
Volunteers who travel to Iowa or New Hampshire to participate have the time to do so and, unless campaigns subsidize it, the money to afford it. Campaign staff and political consultants have complex incentives they do not share with ordinary voters, and the donors have their own motives.