I realised today that yours truly, who took competitive civics (in the fall-winter of ’00-’01, no less) and AP US Government in high school,* has no clue what happens at the Iowa caucuses, in terms of process.  None.  This is a little scary, as I consider myself at least slightly educated, and this is a rather important event.

So when I heard about it on the radio this week, I was completely boggled.  The truth is probably that your average citizen doesn’t care how it works as long as it does and someone gets whatever place.  But since the whole process strikes me as completely off-kilter, I’m providing a link to a FAQ about the Iowa caucuses.

What that FAQ doesn’t mention is that, in an odd reversal, the Democrats’ caucus process makes NO SENSE.  It consists of standing in different parts of the room and badgering  people from different parts of the room into supporting your part of the room…er, candidate.  Then the organizers decide which candidates are ‘viable’ and then the supporters who aren’t can pick a viable part of the room, or merge and make one of their candidates viable.

So, in a nutshell, the Republicans write things down on a wee ballot.  The Democrats play a game of political Red Rover.  And this has all come about in the last forty years.  Riiiight.  Your political system at work!

At least you don’t have to worry about hanging chads.  Just castigating Chad for doggedly supporting Kucinich.**

* Other things I did in high school: a production of The Music Man.  I spared you all from more than the subject line, when it comes to giving Iowa a try.
** This blogger would stand in the Obama part of the room. As it were, I hope to simply mark a ballot.

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