One significant problem with the contemporary system is the monopoly that is given to Iowa and New Hampshire in conducting the first caucus and primary, respectively. Every presidential election cycle, these two diminutive states exert an inordinate amount of influence over the nomination process. Candidates who perform well in these states can gain a great advantage and can segue a victory, or even just a better-than-expected showing, into great momentum with respect to fund-raising, media attention, and victories in later primaries. Politicians understand this and begin campaigning in these states as much as a year in advance. They listen attentively to the problems and needs of these two state's citizenry, which can sometimes morph into outright pandering to the special interests of the Granite and Hawkeye states. There is "no constitutional basis" (Lansford 39) for this advantageous position but is rather a mere consequence of historical precedence. Moreover, Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of the country as a whole, further exacerbating the problem of them being the bellwethers of presidential hopefuls. For instance, African-Americans constitute 12.3 percent of the United States but only 2.1 percent of Iowa and 0.7 of New Hampshire (U.S. Census Bureau, 2002). They have similar under representation of every major minority group and also posses a more rural population and experience less poverty than the rest of the nation. Therefore, a candidate who has great appeal to urban areas with diverse populations does not compete on a level playing field in New Hampshire and Iowa. Larry Sabato, director of University of Virginia's Center for Politics, succinctly writes, "Put simply, why should two tiny, heavily white, disproportionately rural states have a staggeringly powerful and electorally imbalanced say in the making of the next president? Answering that question is easy enough: They shouldn't" (Sabato 143).