"Umm.... thank God I never had to take Caucus in high school. I barely got through Algerbra. (insert cheesy rim shot here) "
So, if you live in Iowa, you more than likely have a good idea by now that today is the day of "The Caucus" (insert dramatic, ominous music here) - if you don't, then you've probably been living under a rock until such time as all of the politicos have left your fair, if bland, state. You've also more than likely missed out on a TON of free dinners and political swag, all of which can be sold for a fair profit on E-Bay.
For the REST of us, however, the caucus has always remained a bit of a mystery. And while I've ALWAYS believed that our ENTIRE primary system MUST be redesigned, there is something very engaging about the caucus itself - a "stand-up-and-be-counted" purity that strikes to my very grassroots core.
Whether Iowa should be viewed as representative of the United States is another issue entirely, of course.
The caucus itself really isn't as confusing as it seems, and the format is one that is very intriguing to me, relative to current polls, and how worthless they actually are in predicting an outcome in Iowa.
Here's a quick lesson in "caucus" for those of you in the dark:
If you prefer something a bit more slanted toward a specific candidate, you can't go wrong by watching the explanations by the Obama Campaign, the Clinton campaign, or the Edwards campaign.
Provided that the weather cooperates and people actually care enough to go to their respective caucus sites, there is something fascinating about people actually gathering together, discussing the issues that directly affect them and their community, and then taking a stand for the candidate of their choice. I can't think of a more transparent form of voting - at least on a local level. While precinct captains may try to lure undecideds to their corner of the room with free and discreet handjobs, I'm sure it's nothing on the level of a Diebold-ian nightmare.
The other intriguing factor in the Iowa Caucus, relative to the 2008 Election, is the notion of the "second vote."
For those who caucus for a candidate who doesn't get to around 15%, there is an opportunity to join another caucus group, in essence giving their support to their "next favorite" candidate.
So, let's think about this for a moment. Currently, you can find polls in Iowa that show Clinton, Obama, and/or Edwards all in the lead, or at least sharing a portion of it.
But surely there are those still supporting a candidate like Dennis Kucinich, as an example. Iowa would actually be a GREAT state to live in for this fact - one could actually support the candidate that they TRULY support, while still not losing their opportunity to be heard. Kucinich, following the example, certainly will not meet the threshold necessary to garner delegates. His supporters, then, are allowed to switch their allegiance and support their next candidate of choice. As a voter in a caucus system, one could actually vote once on principle, and then vote again, if necessary, based on pragmatic realism of who actually stands the best chance of winning.
I've got to believe that, given this system, Barack Obama is going to come out as the hands down winner in Iowa at the end of the day. Clinton can probably take the hit in Iowa, but if the Iowa race registers significantly on the New Hampshire radar, it could signal one of the greatest upsets in recent political history, and one that PTF has been advocating for over a year.
And that, my friends, would be the sweetest form of democracy we've seen around these parts for quite some time.
Posted by FleshPresser at 1:12 AM /