I’m sure you’re all wondering what will happen at the Iowa caucuses. I can’t predict. I can tell you what happens at a caucus though.
A caucus is a party discussion about what candidate should run for president. Most people who go to a caucus have put some effort into looking over the candidates and deciding if they have the organization and the message to appeal to voters. A caucus is run by volunteers who see it as a privilege and honor to vet the candidates. When a person goes to a caucus, they need to sign a pledge of support for the party. What happens to people who go to the caucus to support the weakest candidate? I can’t say it doesn’t happen but I haven’t seen it happen and it would be fraud.
At a caucus, people separate into precincts or wards based on address. Each ward has a captain and a secretary that can be voted out by the people. Usually they aren’t though because there is a lot of paperwork that goes with reporting and verifying the results. Once everyone agrees on the captain and secretary, a representative for each candidate will give a compelling talk about why you should side with that candidate. Then the Republicans vote and the Democrats separate into groups to be counted. Each vote or person is counted. Then the number of delegates each candidate will get is determined. These delegates are to go on to a county convention and eventually some will go to the national convention. If a candidate doesn’t have enough votes or people to get a delegate, the people who supported that person can either realign with a different candidate or talk others into joining their camp. Another vote is taken. Then the results get sent to the party headquarters.
Most people leave at this point but those who stay gather resolutions about what the party should stand for. These are voted on and become the party platform. Have you ever looked at your parties’ platform? You should. So should the candidates. Here is the Iowa Democratic party platform and the Republican one.