Colorado has been in chaos… CHAOS I TELL YOU! Who knew something as mundane and let’s face it, as boring as a caucus could cause such CHAOS and MAYHEM in the political world? (try to say caucus causes chaos five times fast). Let’s face it, we’re experiencing a reality show circus-style election cycle where the leading GOP believes Planned Parenthood does good work and he loves the individual mandate in Obamacare nothing should be all that surprising.
For the last several days I have seen so much nonsense, like how “WE THE PEOPLE” weren’t allowed to vote in Colorado and that THE ‘STABLISHMEN and ‘ELEETZ are trying to silence us and steal our voting rights. IT’S ALL A PLOT I TELL YOU, A PLOT STARTED 156 YEARS AGO TO STEAL THE ‘LECTION FROM TRUMP (ugh, using that many capital letters is literally painful for me)! After trying to debate this with literally hundreds of Trump supporters I thought maybe it was time to make this really super simple, use a bunch of single-syllable words and explain what a caucus is and how it works.
See, I’m a giver… let’s get started.
Ok, so what is a caucus?
Well boys and girls, a caucus is a meeting of the members of a legislative body who are members of a particular political party, to select candidates or decide policy (so a bunch of Republicans or Democrats). It is also a group of people with shared concerns within a political party or larger organization. Yup. That’s it.
Still with me? Rock star. So what’s the purpose of a caucus?
So glad you asked… the purpose of caucuses is to elect precinct committee persons and delegates to county assemblies. That means people vote for other people to act as delegates… THE PEOPLE VOTE. Got it? The people, not some mythical establishment monster pooping on the Constitution and laughing maniacally as he destroys your VOICE! Nope. Just people. I know, crazy.
What happens at a caucus?
During a caucus, a bunch of insiders and puppy-kickers sit around making fun of Trump and brag about the money other candidates bribed them with… OK NOT REALLY. Here’s the boring reality of a caucus, attendees (aka NORMAL PEOPLE) elect officers who will be responsible for organizing political activities within the precinct (or where PEOPLE LIVE throughout the state). Caucus attendees also elect delegates and alternates to represent the precinct at the political party’s county or district convention. Boring again, right? And hey, if you are a candidate and you make an effort to be involved guess what, you’ll do decently. Moving on.
Who can vote in a caucus?
Listening to Trump supporters , clearly only people who hate Trump and know the secret evil establishment Satanic handshake in Colorado were allowed to vote – just kidding. Basically in order to vote in any precinct caucus you must be a resident of your state, have registered to vote 29 days before the caucus and be affiliated with the party holding the caucus for at least two months prior. That’s it. And sure, if you’re a Democrat looking to take a dump on the GOP and sabotage us during our primary season you won’t get far in a caucus, but otherwise, seems pretty easy.
How are delegates selected?
Voters (again, PEOPLE) in each group are invited to give speeches supporting their candidate and try to persuade others to join their group. At the end of the caucus, party organizers count the voters in each candidate’s group and calculate how many delegates to the county convention each candidate has won. I know, you probably thought they sacrificed small animals and drank blood but nope, they give speeches, try to persuade others to their way of thinking, and then delegates are awarded. Ooooh shady right?
How do they figure out how many delegates each candidate gets?
In the GOP each state chooses either the proportional method (based on PERCENTAGES) or a “winner-take-all” method of awarding delegates. Each. State. Chooses. This is key. Not every state does this the same way, and sure it can be confusing BUT if you even just Google your state and “primary process” you can find it pretty easily, and I bet you can even find the rules! *gasp* Under the winner-take-all method, the candidate getting the most votes from a state’s caucus or primary, gets all of that state’s delegates at the national convention. Make sense? Nothing villainous here folks, nothing sneaky. If you want to be involved you just have to make the effort to be involved.
Is that it?
Pretty much, yeah. And sure, there are more steps like a convention but let’s start here because obviously far too many people (including certain candidates) are confused or being deliberately obtuse on this process and we need to keep it simple.
See? If you just spend a teensy bit of time educating yourself on this process it’s obvious no one cheated in Colorado and that the only reason Trump didn’t do better was for the same reasons his supporters are angry now, he didn’t bother to learn the process. Sloppy, disorganized campaigning was his downfall, not the devious puppy-kickers at the caucus.