To What Extent Are Caucuses An Appropriate Means Of Selecting Candidates

751 words - 4 pages

To What Extent Are Caucuses an Appropriate Means of Selecting Candidates 

Although most states hold primaries, caucuses are another way political parties nominate candidates for election. Caucuses are a series of meetings held across a state. At these meetings, party members discuss the candidates, and then openly vote for state delegates who represent the candidate they support. Those state delegates, in turn, choose delegates to attend the national convention, where they are expected to support the candidate whom they had pledged to support.

One reason why caucuses are an appropriate means of selecting a candidate are that caucuses could reinvigorate interest in the nominating ...view middle of the document...

In 1988, only 16% of the Democrats delegates were selected in this method. In addition, because of the time required, public nature and sometimes arcane procedure, turnout is usually very low, often around 10% and so can be seen as undemocratic and inappropriate for a democratic election. In Iowa only 19.8% of republicans and only 5.4% of the states electorate voted in its 2012 caucus.

Because of the large number of meetings (in Iowa, for example, approaching 2,000), candidates with extensive organization and money may have an advantage; Barack Obama’s nomination in 2008 depended on his string of successes in caucus states. Thus capable politicians who do not have the sort of funding as their opponents may not succeed as they should. However it may be argued that this extends to all American elections, and should not be applied to Caucuses alone. Another disadvantage of caucuses is that due to the effort required to partake in them, they attract only committed party supporters and are unreflective of the electorate in the state. This may enhance the standings and opportunities of partisan candidates, which may disadvantage moderate candidates, such as the Republican Christian right in Iowa, often producing outcomes which support more extreme candidates like Rick Santorum.
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