In Defense of Caucuses
This was a very thoughtful comment from "nebraskajohn" in response to my post on caucuses the other day: I get really tired of ...
This was a very thoughtful comment from "nebraskajohn" in response to my post on caucuses the other day:
I get really tired of hearing about how undemocratic caucuses are (I hear it a lot from the Hillary campaign lately, but also lots of other places). First let me point out that a party selecting its leaders & standard bearers is not that same as an election. That most parties tend to do so in election format for most offices is a product of our love of Democracy in America-- but the goal is to a) nominate candidates who represent the best ideals of our party b) nominate candidates who would be good public servants in office, c) nominate candidates who will advocate for ideas in line with our party (as opposed to the other party) and d) nominate candidates who will be able to win the general election.
There is no inherent reason why a large primary is the best way to find and nominate such candidates.
Secondly- there are three groups who make a party function. 1) The party faithful / activists / volunteers / grassroots who do the hard work of keeping things going. 2) The big financial backers who keep the lights on and doors open 3) the public who vote in the general election for a party's candidate.
A primary allows group 3 (the public) to have a double say. They get to have a say in the nomination, and again in the general. This is especially true of open primaries where independents and even members of other parties can vote in your party primary. The old school nominating conventions of the pre 1970's reforms (and especially the 19th century) gave group 2 (the $$ people) a double or even tripple say. That's because in order to be a viable candidate, one must have already woo'ed the finical backers of your party and secured substantial support. Once in office, the financial backers continue to need to be courted, and continue to have a major influence. I don't think anyone would argue that the rich have too little say in public policy.
But the grassroots of a party is continually the group that gets left out and spit upon. Often ignored by the party staffers (who will always side with the financial backers who pay their salary) and the party leadership (who disproportionately are members of the upper class already)-- the people who give their blood and sweat to keep the machine running, are often ignored when it comes time to pick a leader.
Caucuses allow the party faithful to have a bigger say in who gets nominated, and that's not undemocratic at all.
Imagine a 4H club at your local college. How should they elect their next club president? Should they open the vote up to everyone who has ever signed up to be on their mailing list (which would turn into a popularity contest)? No. They should have a vote of those people who show up to the meetings and make the club run.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Obama Takes On Zoning Laws to Address Housing Shortage1 hour ago
To Keep Drug Prices Down, States May Pay Based on Effectiveness1 hour ago
The Never-Ending Debate About Fluoride in Tap Water50 minutes ago
Flint Water Investigator Resigns After Drunken Driving Arrest46 minutes ago
New Rules Issued for Municipal Courts in Missouri40 minutes ago
Portland Converts 600 Bathrooms to Gender-Neutral30 minutes ago