Iowa Caucuses Preview

By Johnny Seabright

Have you heard anything on the news recently about an “Iowa Caucus” but have no idea what that means? Well, hopefully I can help!

What is the Iowa Caucus?

During every election season, each political party (the Democrats and the Republicans) have primaries to decide who their official nominee will be. The candidates for the Republicans campaign against each other, and the candidates for the Democrats campaign against each other. The reason Iowa is important is because Iowa is the first state to hold their vote. Iowa has been the first state to vote for the nominee since 1972, and historically the winner of Iowa from both parties has had high success rates. In other words, if you are a candidate and you win in Iowa, chances are decently high that you’ll go on to win the primary and become the official Presidential Candidate.

What is a Caucus?

There are two ways a state can hold their vote, a Caucus and a Primary. A Caucus is a system where local communities gather together to decide which candidate they will support. Groups of people will gather together in public spaces and divide themselves up by which candidate they will support. They can do this by raising hands or splitting themselves up in the room. That group will then decide where the majority is and who they will support. If there is no clear winner, the group can decide not to support anyone. A primary is a general election where registered voters cast their ballot and privately choose who they want to support. There are variations of primaries such as open or closed primaries. In an open primary, a registered voter can vote for a candidate from either party (i.e. vote for one Democrat and one Republican) while in closed primaries one can only vote for the party they are registered to.

Where is Iowa?

Somewhere in the middle of America.

What is Iowa famous for?

Who are the favorites to win?

For the Republicans, the race seems to be between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. There are over a dozen candidates in the Republican debate, but the polls have been showing Donald Trump and Ted Cruz far ahead in Iowa. Trump’s campaign strategy has been to hold mass rallies in urban centers across the state while Ted Cruz has pledged to visit every single county in Iowa, sometimes speaking in cities with mere hundreds of people.

For the Democrats, it’s neck-and-neck between Bernie Sanders(!) and Hillary Clinton. Bernie has been leading a grassroots movement across the entire country and exciting millions of Americans with his passion for improving the lives of middle-class citizens in America. Hillary has decades of experience at all levels of the government and is arguably more “electable” than Bernie.

What happens after the Iowa Caucus?

In the weeks after the Iowa Caucus, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada hold their own primaries. States will continue holding their primaries until one candidate has received enough electoral votes to be named the presidential candidate (you can see all the dates for the primaries here: http://www.uspresidentialelectionnews.com/2016-presidential-primary-schedule-calendar/, Oregon isn’t until May 17).

You can check the most recent polls at: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/ia/iowa_republican_presidential_caucus-3194.html

 

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