Thursday, January 18, 2007

READ: Thursday, January 18 is...

Foundation Day (Lima, Peru)
St. Prisca (Texco, Mexico)

Interestingly enough, today's lone read deals with the foundation of the caucuses.

John Deeth
has a great post up this morning, possibly the best one I've ever seen him write, on the potential impact of non-anonymous voting in a Democratic presidential race where a woman and a black man are top contenders. Absolutely worth a read, and possibly worth picking up again to reconsider after the caucus.

I've heard several arguments against the caucuses lately, not the least of which is this whiny one from Geraldine at Iowa Progress about how poor Poweshiek County only gets to send 21 delegates to state convention. (The logic is pretty simple. It's the DEMOCRATIC Party's state convention, so they decide representation based on how many Democratic voters are in your county. More votes in the election = more votes at state convention.)

Another argument is that they don't accurately represent the vote totals of lesser candidates. For example, I've had several people tell me that Kucinich was only a vote or two away from getting a delegate in several Des Moines precincts in 2004, but didn't reach the threshold and therefore got nothing. It's a fair argument and I think it's relevant to a point, but at the end of the night Iowa Democrats have bigger concerns than accurately displaying the support of candidates who finished fifth or worse.

Deeth's argument, on the other hand, is probably the most credible threat to a fair caucus. I think the possibility that voters going against Clinton or Obama will be labeled prejudiced will net them some votes. But there's more to it than that. How many voters won't want a fight when they get home so they'll just follow their spouse into a preference group? Or their boss?

In the end, I like the caucus structure for its unique nature and feel, which is what drew me to my first caucus as a student in 2004. But I worry about the accuracy of its results if voters feel the need to go along with others in the room.


1 comment:

Joe said...

You ok, man? Post something so we know you're ok!