Monday, February 01, 2016

It all Starts Tonight — The Race for the White House 2016

The first step to the 2016 presidential nomination. It’s the Iowa caucus. I have to say I have a problem with caucuses in general. I don’t think they are particularly open process. Too many people are shut out of the process because they can’t devote the necessary time for the caucus.

Ruth Marcus has a column in the Post today that points out the problems I have with the caucus. These examples show what’s wrong with a caucus:

Curt Johansen, 56, is leaning toward Bernie Sanders, but that inclination is irrelevant. Johansen works evenings dispatching mechanics to help truckers suffering breakdowns, which means he can’t vote in Monday’s caucuses, attendance required, with doors closed at 7 p.m. sharp.

Dustin Jividen, a 32-year-old printer, is all-in for Sanders, as is his wife. Will they caucus? Probably not. His wife works evenings, and Jividen would need to find a baby-sitter for the kids, ages 3 and 8. “I don’t think they would really appreciate standing around for a couple hours,” debating the relative merits of Sanders and Hillary Clinton, Jividen said.

Pat Kerr, 64, a receptionist at H&R Block, supports Clinton. She won’t be caucusing either. “I hurt my back,” she said. “I can’t hardly even walk.”

Here’s a little more from another Post article today:

The rap on these caucuses, which grows louder each election cycle, is that asking normal people to spend several hours listening to political arguments is undemocratic and unfair. Voter turnout suggests that this is right. In 2012, 121,501 Iowans voted in the Republican presidential caucuses. The Republican primary for Iowa’s U.S. Senate race drew out 158,031 total voters. These sorts of contests have usually slanted more toward party activists than late-deciding voters, which is a major reason why Republican elites hope that Iowa can embarrass Trump.

Then there is the fact that the state is not representative as the country as a whole. Very white in general. On the Republican a large group of evangelicals that have a great impact on the results. Thus the reason Santorum and Huckabee won the last two.

But this is the system that we have. The criticisms against caucuses in general and this one in particular have been around for a long time. They will problem be around for a long time to come. The process in all likelihood will not change. And Iowa will remain the first contest of the primary season.

So it’s time to sit back and see what happens because it all starts tonight.

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