Apparently, I am officially an Iowan, based on the fact that I used the phrase “needs cleaned” this afternoon with Josh and his friend Collin. As in, “this room needs cleaned before Collin goes home.” Eh, it doesn’t surprise me. I use “fixin’ t’ ”, “y’all” and “soda”, too. (I’m fixin’ t’have a soda, y’all) That was my souvenir from living in Texas.
ANYWAY, Tuesday is (was) Iowa’s Caucus. And it’s a really huge deal because, well, it’s a Caucus, and nobody does those anymore (ok, I stand corrected. About a third of the states do them), and also because it’s the first of anything “primary” in the country. New Hampshire is another big hairy deal because it has official “First in the Nation” status.
For those who don’t know what a Caucus is, or how it works, I’m not going to go into detail. It’s complicated, and I don’t even understand it fully. The Des Moines Register has a decent write up at their site, but I will give you a nutshell. The Republicans are pretty straightforward. Their Caucus is basically a business meeting. If you’re a registered R, you show up at the appointed place and time, and have a business meeting that covers Precinct and/or county business, including hearing from the reps that each candidate sends. Then you fill out a ballot and drop it in a box. The votes are counted, and voila! The Caucus is done. Takes about an hour.
If you’re a Democrat, you’re a nutcase. THEIR Caucus requires you to show up at the appointed time and place, join a group for the guy you support, be counted, go politicking for that guy for a while, be counted, rearrange your allegiance, be counted, politic again, be counted, ad nauseum, until one candidate is declared the winner. It’s crazy and lasts a while.
But that’s not why I’m writing this! I just felt the need to address the caucus system because it’s Iowa, and it’s such a big deal, and nobody seems to really know what it is. And now you still don’t. You’re welcome.
My whole problem with this is the fact that, by the time places like California, South Dakota and Utah have held their primaries, the candidates are pretty well chosen, and these states’ citizens, no matter how “important” they are, are really not heard. Those primaries aren’t held until June!
So, we Caucus on Tuesday, and let’s pretend that Ron Paul wins (he’s the front-runner as I write this). Mitt comes in second, and Newt comes in third. Bachmann and Santorum don’t show very well, and decide to throw in the towel. But only Iowa has voted! And maybe New Hampshire! Screw California, apparently.
I think we should have a full-on single day Primary or Caucus. Each state can hold its own version, that doesn’t have to change. But it should all happen on the same day. And NO results should be reported to the press until the close of the last vote. So if that means that Alaska doesn’t close its polls until 8 PM AK time, then the folks in NY will just have to wait until midnight. Tough tootsies, NY.
But truly, this is the only fair way to do it. Candidates can stay home, they can have their Precinct Captains out there doing the jobs they were recruited for, and it’s like a giant Presidential Election, except nobody is eliminated. They’re simply ranked. The results of the Primary/Caucus Day are reported after all the votes are in and counted, and now we know the rankings of all of the candidates. EVERY candidate is considered by EVERY citizen who casts a vote, and nobody drops out of the race because they didn’t do well somewhere else.
See, I should be in charge. If I ran things, they’d make so much more sense! Y’all.