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Turtleboy has been following politics for a long time now, but I have absolutely no idea how the hell the Iowa caucus works. All I know is that the winner doesn’t really seem to matter since people like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum have won these things in the past. Apparently both parties “caucus” differently. Here’s what democrats do according to Wikipedia:
The process used by the Democrats is more complex than the Republican Party caucus process. Each precinct divides its delegate seats among the candidates in proportion to caucus goers’ votes. Participants indicate their support for a particular candidate by standing in a designated area of the caucus site (forming a preference group). An area may also be designated for undecided participants. Then, for roughly 30 minutes, participants try to convince their neighbors to support their candidates. Each preference group might informally deputize a few members to recruit supporters from the other groups and, in particular, from among those undecided. Undecided participants might visit each preference group to ask its members about their candidate.
After 30 minutes, the electioneering is temporarily halted and the supporters for each candidate are counted. At this point, the caucus officials determine which candidates are viable. Depending on the number of county delegates to be elected, the viability threshold is 15% of attendees. For a candidate to receive any delegates from a particular precinct, he or she must have the support of at least the percentage of participants required by the viability threshold. Once viability is determined, participants have roughly another 30 minutes to realign: the supporters of inviable candidates may find a viable candidate to support, join together with supporters of another inviable candidate to secure a delegate for one of the two, or choose to abstain. This realignment is a crucial distinction of caucuses in that (unlike a primary) being a voter’s second candidate of choice can help a candidate.
When the voting is closed, a final head count is conducted, and each precinct apportions delegates to the county convention. These numbers are reported to the state party, which counts the total number of delegates for each candidate and reports the results to the media. Most of the participants go home, leaving a few to finish the business of the caucus: each preference group elects its delegates, and then the groups reconvene to elect local party officers and discuss the platform. The delegates chosen by the precinct then go to a later caucus, the county convention, to choose delegates to the district convention and state convention. Most of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention are selected at the district convention, with the remaining ones selected at the state convention. Delegates to each level of convention are initially bound to support their chosen candidate but can later switch in a process very similar to what goes on at the precinct level; however, as major shifts in delegate support are rare, the media declares the candidate with the most delegates on the precinct caucus night the winner, and relatively little attention is paid to the later caucuses.
Oh, is that? I have a question? What the hell does any of that even mean? Hey Iowa, here’s an idea – everyone votes for their favorite candidate and the winner is the person with the most votes. It’s just so crazy it might work. Nah, that makes too much sense, instead we’ll pick our winners by doing this:
So there are 1,682 precincts in Iowa. The democrats go to all 1,682 and they split into corners. Hillary people go to one side, Bernie people go to the other, and the two guys supporting Martin O’Malley sit in the corner and everyone laughs at them. Meanwhile the “undecideds” walk around the elementary school cafeteria or church vestibule like the walking dead and Hillary and Bernie supporters try to kidnap them to their corner.
This is how democracy works in Iowa.
Oh yea, and it doesn’t really matter who wins, because then you nominate some people to go to the state convention where they can cast their vote for whoever they want to. Got it?
And the Republican caucus is no less of a cluster fuck:
The process of selecting Iowa delegates to the Republican National Convention prior to the 2016 election cycle started with selection of delegates to the county conventions, which in turn affected the delegates elected to district conventions who also served as delegates to the state convention where delegates were chosen for the national convention.
This process rewarded candidate organizers who not only got supporters to the caucus sites but also got supporters willing to serve as delegates to county conventions and willing to vote for other delegates who supported a specific candidate. In 2012, this process resulted in Ron Paul supporters dominating the Iowa delegation to the Republican National Convention, having 22 of the 28 Iowa delegates, with Mitt Romney getting the other six delegates.
Because the delegates elected at the caucuses did not need to declare a candidate preference, the media did not have an objective way to determine the success of individual candidates at the caucuses. The media focused on the secret ballot polling conducted at the caucus sites and have generally referred to this non-binding poll as the caucus. There were irregularities in the 2012 caucus site polling results, including the fact that eight precinct results went missing and were never counted.
Because of the irregularities in the process and the fact that the totals reported to the media were unrelated to the delegate selection process, there have been changes in both how the caucus site secret ballot polling is sent to state party headquarters and in how Iowa delegates to the national convention are required to vote.
Starting in 2016, caucus results have become binding when selecting delegates. Acting in accordance with a mandate from the Republican National Committee, the delegates are bound on the first ballot to vote for candidates in proportion to the votes cast for each candidate at the caucus sites.
Wait……what?? I know I’m a little tired right now, but even if I was loaded up on the booger sugar I still wouldn’t have any understanding of what the hell any of that means. Nor do I care to find out. It’s not worth my time. Because history has shown us that it doesn’t matter who wins the Iowa caucus.
At least the republicans actually vote by private ballot, unlike the democrats who have to openly admit who they’re voting for and get accosted by old ladies who think you should vote for the other guy. The democratic caucus sounds like an awful combination of Jehovah’s witnesses and insurance salesmen trying to pitch you their product. But apparently republicans in Iowa haven’t figured out that voting machines were invented a long time ago:
Little old ladies counting folded up pieces of paper that people wrote on out of a wicker basket. This is the most Iowa thing I’ve ever seen.
So anyway, Ted Cruz and Hillary look like they both won tonight. The fact that Hillary is even being challenged by a 74 year old socialist from Vermont is hilarious. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz is simply too ugly to be President of the United States. That’s just a fact. America doesn’t nominate people like Ted Cruz to be President. If you don’t think this is gonna be a Marco Rubio-Hillary showdown, you just don’t understand America. Look at this face:
That is the face of a man who can be President. This is not:
You can blabber on in the comments all you want, but it’s undeniable. Marco Rubio will be the 45th President of the United States.
The bottom line is that a real state should be able to go first, and they should be required to have a real election instead of a meet and greet at the town library. No one cares about Iowa. They have no influence on national politics, no one important ever comes from there, and all you think of when you hear Iowa is “corn.” Fuck you and your stupid caucus Iowa.
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