January 4, 2008

I want to move to Iowa

I am a nerd.

Last night I sat enraptured while watching the Des Moisnes Precinct 53 caucus for the Democratic primary. I gazed as the residents of this district organized themselves into groups for the candidate of their choice. I watched as the precinct leaders hopped from one group to another to canvas for more support. I bit my nails as the votes were counted once, twice, and once more.

It was enthralling---and it was on C-SPAN. I am now officially 85 years old.

I never really understood what a caucas was until yesterday. I always thought it was just another word for "primary" or "election." But no, no. A caucus is no ordinary go-to-the-local-elementary-school-and-cast-your-vote thing. It is an event. Residents of a precinct gather into a nearby school or library or someone's home and they split off into groups to show their alliegance to a certain candidate. Bodies are subsequently tallied up and the number sent to the precinct leader at the front of the room.

The Democratic caucus in Iowa is even more complicated in that it has two rounds. Candidates must garner at least 15% of the vote to be considered viable. If they fail to meet that 15% threshhold, then the supporters of that candidate must choose someone else. That's why a person's second-choice is so important amongst Iowa democrats. And that's why Dennis Kucinich urged his supporters to turn to Barack Obama in case he didn't meet viability. (I was confused about that.)

The whole process made me a bit misty-eyed about the whole democratic process and I wished that come February, I could participate in a caucus down here in North Carolina. The whole thing seemed so inspiring---as if the entire community came alive for one night to choose the next presidential nominee. But alas. I will just have to settle for that ordinary ballot machine.

(Yay Obama and Edwards!)

3 comments:

  1. C-
    Thanks for explaing how a caucus works, I'd also been wondering about that. I tried to read up on it a little bit, but never found a very clear answer. And no, you don't really want to move to Iowa. At least New Hampshire has something else to do besides elections and corn--they have skiing, too.

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  2. That makes a lot of sense. I'm doing this on Saturday (FIRST CAUCUS IN THE WEST!) and I feel like I'm not just going into it blindly now.

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  3. Iowa is pretty sweet! I caucused. I'll talk to our landlord and see when he has an apartment ready.

    See you at 3005 Woodland Ave, Des Moines!

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