Thursday, January 3, 2008

It's Horse-Trading Day In Iowa Today

Iowa's caucus rules are arcane, to say the least. And yet, that old horse-trading system has a massive effect on our election process, especially if you are a Democrat. Here's how it works.

When the Democratic caucuses begins tonight, promptly at 7:00 p.m. in the 1,781 precincts across the state, caucusii, as I like to call them, will walk to the corner or area by the wall designated for their candidate of choice.

Next, party officials will determine if a candidate meets the 15% "threshold" requirement. Now, here's where the horse-trading begins. Supporters of candidates garnering less than 15% of the vote are "persuaded" to re-cast their votes for a 15%-and-up candidate. Luckily for those caucusing Iowans, there aren't many Italians in Iowa.

Once everyone has decided where to vote ("If you want feed for your livestock, Arnold, you dang better mosey on over to my side of the wall"), a second tally is taken. The results are then sent to Democratic state party headquarters via snail mail.

And how do Republicans do it? By secret ballot (surprise, surprise) and, since there is no viability threshold, each vote is simply tallied and the number of votes each candidate gets is reported to party headquarters. Boring!!

Now, I'm an Independent. If I lived in Iowa, I'd probably sign up to be a Democrat for a day. Their caucus sounds like a lot more fun. And hey, if I can get a deal on my livestock feed in the process, why not? (Oh wait, doesn't that attitude make me a Republican?

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