WTF, Iowa?

The Tradition

HR King
Apr 23, 2002
96,952
68,875
113
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa caucuses are never simple. Voters spend hours in high school gymnasiums or public libraries, starting their night by declaring support for their preferred presidential candidate. That’s followed by a feverish round of lobbying in which supporters of eliminated candidates are pressed to make a new pick by the evening’s end.

This year, the caucuses could be even more chaotic.

New rules that will be implemented for the Feb. 3 contest could give presidential candidates an unprecedented opportunity to spin the results. In previous years, the Iowa Democratic Party reported just one number: the number of state delegates won by each candidate. For the first time, the party will this year report two other numbers — who had the most votes at the beginning and at the end of the night.

The additional data is a nod to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and his supporters, who argue the previous rules essentially robbed him of victory in his 2016 race against Hillary Clinton. That contest ended in a narrow delegate victory for Clinton in Iowa.

Party officials in Iowa and at the national level argue the new process will enhance transparency. But as the caucuses approach in less than three weeks, there’s a growing sense that the new information will breed confusion by giving multiple candidates the chance to claim victory.

The Iowa caucuses are supposed to set the tone for the contests that follow, ultimately helping winnow the field. If multiple candidates can claim success in Iowa, it could prolong the fight for the Democratic nomination.

“Adding additional numbers is going to make it more confusing for news organizations and people watching the caucuses,” said Derek Eadon, who worked as Julián Castro’s deputy campaign manager, was a top Iowa aide to Barack Obama in 2008 and is now supporting Sanders. “People are going to want to know who won, and I don’t know if there’s consensus on one number that people will use to declare that.”

What’s happening in Iowa will also play out in other states that hold caucuses, including in Nevada on Feb. 22. Three numbers will be reported: the first round of votes, the final vote total after low polling candidates are eliminated and what are called state delegate equivalents. They represent the number of delegates each candidate will have at the party’s state convention in June. That, in turn, determines how many national convention delegates each candidate receives.

The Associated Press said Thursday it will base its race call of the winner on state delegate equivalents, because delegates are the metric used to decide the eventual winner of the nomination. Iowa and national Democratic Party figures emphasize this is the number to watch.

“This is a contest for delegates,” Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price said. “Campaigns will highlight whatever number is the most advantageous for them. But in the end, what matters is the delegates that come out of Iowa to the national convention, and (state delegates) will remain the best indicator of that.”

David Bergstein, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, echoed that.

“The only way to become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee is by winning a majority of national convention delegates,” he said. “We strongly encourage anyone who wants to understand who is winning the race for the nomination to pay attention to those results.”

The question is whether candidates will follow their lead.

Sanders’ chief adviser, Jeff Weaver, said his team is “trying to win all three” categories of results. But he also suggested the campaign will emphasize the raw totals from the first round of votes no matter the eventual outcome.

“At the end of the day, the first impression is probably the most accurate portrayal of who won the night,” Weaver said.

There’s a chance a candidate might win the most support during the first vote but lose out on the final alignment — and ultimately the delegate count — after supporters for candidates who are not viable realign after the first round of counting. This is a scenario that could play out for a candidate like Sanders or former Vice President Joe Biden, both of whom are expected to be viable in the largest number of precincts statewide.

Michael Halle, a senior adviser to former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, told reporters this week that the caucus metric that matters for the campaign is ultimately the delegate count. Biden’s team expressed the same.

“Delegates are ultimately how the nomination for the Democratic Party will get decided, so delegates are obviously an important part of what comes out of the caucuses,” Biden campaign manager Anita Dunn said.

For lower-tier candidates such as Tom Steyer or Andrew Yang, the initial vote numbers could be crucial. If they don’t hit the 15% support needed to win any delegates but still turn out more individual caucus-goers than expected, for instance, they could point to their initial support as evidence they remain competitive in the primary.

A candidate who’s losing in the overall delegate count may try to make an electability case by highlighting his or her geographic strength, pointing perhaps to his or her raw support during the first or final alignment in counties that went from Obama to Donald Trump in 2016. A number of operatives suggested Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar or Buttigieg may frame the caucus results in this way.

The changes reflect a hangover from the 2016 campaign that looms over Iowa Democrats.

Some Sanders backers argued the publicly reported outcome of the caucuses, which showed Sanders and Clinton nearly tying in the delegate count, with Clinton slightly ahead, didn’t adequately reflect the raw number of voters turning out to support the Vermont senator. That perceived disparity between Sanders’ support on the ground and the delegate outcome — a disparity that is not backed up by publicly available data — fueled charges from his supporters that the caucuses were tilted in favor of Clinton.

Four years later, some Iowa Democratic operatives are concerned that if Sanders wins the most support in the state but loses the overall delegate count, that could again drive charges that the caucus process is stacked against a particular candidate.

Sanders’ Iowa state director, Misty Rebik, said that “the popular vote is very important. We fought for (the reporting change), and we’re proud of that.” Rebik suggested the campaign is going to tout the first alignment numbers no matter the outcome.

“We want to emphasize that the way that we beat Donald Trump is by having the biggest, largest grassroots coalition, and that’s through pure numbers,” she said.

https://apnews.com/43354ef73124d58d94ca434b9016b4a7
 

The Tradition

HR King
Apr 23, 2002
96,952
68,875
113
Not sure what the problem is with people of a party coming together to discuss who their nominee should be. Seems like that's how it should be done rather than have the media do it and just have the sheep show up and vote.

The "new rules" appear to create a situation where three different candidates can declare themselves "the winner."
 

Rifler

HR Legend
Jan 26, 2011
21,110
15,302
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Just another example of our society being overly inclusive,.. why don't we just hand out participation medals...
 

Kidhawk2.0

Scout Team
Sep 22, 2012
86
57
18
Caucuses are stupid. To be fair, I've never been to one in person, but I watched one (from beginning to end) on TV when Obama and Hillary were going at it. I couldn't believe how chaotic it was. I want my vote counted...not my second or third choice counted. Primaries are absolutely the better system, in my opinion.
 

ottumwan in tx

HR King
Oct 26, 2002
104,447
16,818
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yh7g2.jpg
 

Old_wrestling_fan

HR Heisman
Mar 2, 2009
9,521
8,481
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Iowa City
Caucuses are stupid. To be fair, I've never been to one in person, but I watched one (from beginning to end) on TV when Obama and Hillary were going at it. I couldn't believe how chaotic it was. I want my vote counted...not my second or third choice counted. Primaries are absolutely the better system, in my opinion.

Agreed. ^^ FWIW, I did attend a Dem caucus way back in the day, 1984 to be exact, and it was somewhat chaotic as I recall, but much more tedious and time consuming.

On a similar topic...I just learned the other day that this cycle will also allow for "off-site" caucus locations...well outside of the state boundaries. This seems odd to me that people, granted, they are Iowans living elsewhere in the world as I understand it, would hold an actual caucus in say, Arizona, and then report their results back in here to Iowa. I suppose it somewhat resembles the absentee ballot option in a regular election...but it seems peculiar to me.
 
May 27, 2010
11,819
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All of the caucuses that I've been to, there really isn't a whole lot of jostling around.

This field seems so even right now, that jostling may have to occur at certain locations this cycle. If my candidate doesn't make the required 15% after the initial assessment, I'll probably just head for home instead of moving over to another candidate.
 
May 27, 2010
11,819
13,421
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Caucuses are stupid. To be fair, I've never been to one in person, but I watched one (from beginning to end) on TV when Obama and Hillary were going at it. I couldn't believe how chaotic it was. I want my vote counted...not my second or third choice counted. Primaries are absolutely the better system, in my opinion.


I completely disagree. You should have the confidence to stand up and support your choice in front of your neighbors, friends and acquaintances (and God as well) like the Democrats do it. The spineless Iowa Republicans instead hold a secret vote. If they did it like the Dems do it, I'd attend just so I know who the Trump supporters in my neighborhood are so I could kick them all in the nutsack if I encountered them in my neighborhood.
 
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Old_wrestling_fan

HR Heisman
Mar 2, 2009
9,521
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Iowa City
I completely disagree. You should have the confidence to stand up and support your choice in front of your neighbors, friends and acquaintances (and God as well) like the Democrats do it. The spineless Iowa Republicans instead hold a secret vote. If they did it like the Dems do it, I'd attend just so I know who the Trump supporters in my neighborhood are so I could kick them all in the nutsack if I encountered them in my neighborhood.

Not completely true. The format for the last Rep primary I attended had a public showing of hands for the candidates under consideration. FWIW, I remember it well, as it was that night, after being surprised by seeing so many people stand up for Trump, that I first began to think that he might really be able to win the R nomination.

This was a fairly small gathering, maybe 30'ish people. It may well be different in other larger venues.
 

ottumwan in tx

HR King
Oct 26, 2002
104,447
16,818
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I completely disagree. You should have the confidence to stand up and support your choice in front of your neighbors, friends and acquaintances (and God as well) like the Democrats do it. The spineless Iowa Republicans instead hold a secret vote. If they did it like the Dems do it, I'd attend just so I know who the Trump supporters in my neighborhood are so I could kick them all in the nutsack if I encountered them in my neighborhood.
what's the use if the DNC and media is just going to over ride all your efforts?
 

joelbc1

HR King
Gold Member
Sep 5, 2007
66,070
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you can’t always get what you want!
Caucuses are stupid. To be fair, I've never been to one in person, but I watched one (from beginning to end) on TV when Obama and Hillary were going at it. I couldn't believe how chaotic it was. I want my vote counted...not my second or third choice counted. Primaries are absolutely the better system, in my opinion.
Primaries and caucuses are apples and oranges.
Caucuses as “primaries” are the product of Watergate, and an economic grab by Terry Branstad abs the Iowa Democratic/Republican parties. Caucuses are the way the political party does its administival business...with a poll thrown in. It’s purpose is to choose delegates to the county, district, state and national convention.
 

Herkmeister

HR Legend
Gold Member
Dec 17, 2006
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Exactly. I don't think Floridians should exactly be the ones to criticize other states. They can't even figure out basic voting.

In Iowa, we didn't even know what a hanging chad was until Florida demonstrated their ineptness. :cool:
 
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hawkcub

HR Legend
Jul 18, 2005
13,888
3,921
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I completely disagree. You should have the confidence to stand up and support your choice in front of your neighbors, friends and acquaintances (and God as well) like the Democrats do it. The spineless Iowa Republicans instead hold a secret vote. If they did it like the Dems do it, I'd attend just so I know who the Trump supporters in my neighborhood are so I could kick them all in the nutsack if I encountered them in my neighborhood.
Damn those Republicans for doing it how every other vote for public office does it.