8 Reasons caucusing sucks – but you should probably do it anyway
Today is Super Tuesday, the largest day of voting in the country before the national presidential election in November. Colorado is one of 13 states participating in Super Tuesday with Democratic and Republican caucuses being held at 7:00 pm tonight — though in the Republican caucus, voters in Colorado wont be voting for their preference ... we’ll get to that below.
While 9 of the 13 states participating in Super Tuesday have primaries today, the other 4, including Colorado, have caucuses. These political gatherings are often mocked for being inefficient, exclusionary and resembling the way people voted in 17th century colonial New England or ancient Rome.
But what’s really so bad about caucuses? Besides having to go hang out in a public school gym to argue about politics for 2 hours, are they so bad? As it turns out, tons of shit is wrong with them, but you should probably still participate if you can.
Unlike primaries that occur throughout the day, caucuses happen at a specific time (in Colorado its 7:00 pm). So if you can’t make that, you have no way to participate. Plus, caucuses take at least 2 hours, so you have to set aside an entire evening to go argue with Hank from down the street about abortion and corporate tax rates.
These scheduling issues have a huge impact on the turnout of young voters. Young people generally have weird schedules and are too busy working or having premarital sex to go sit in a stuffy gym at a set time.
Independents Can’t Participate
You can only participate in a caucus if you are registered to a political party (usually only Democratic or Republican most of the time). This prevents a huge amount of people from participating. In Colorado, more people are registered as Independents than are registered as Democrats or Republicans. By having a caucus in Colorado, it prevents 37 percent of the state's registered voters from participating in the country's future.
People Suck In General
Going to a high school gym or church basement to discuss politics for 2 hours with people in your neighborhood sounds terrible. Because it is. Have you ever tried to discuss politics with the lady in your building that has 7 ferrets and hoards newspapers from the 1980s? It never goes well. Caucuses force you to interact with people from your community that you’ve intentionally ignored for the past several years.
It’s Awkwardly Public
Given the public nature of caucuses, there's the chance that people will directly affect your vote. There is nothing stopping someone from heckling and threatening to murder you in your sleep if votes don't go a certain way. You might find yourself changing a vote because you want to date that hot blonde across the room that’s voting for Hillary. It's a subconscious mind-fuck.
Colorado Has No Same Day Registering
In the Iowa and Nevada caucuses, you're allowed show up that day and register with the party you would like to vote for. Which is you know, logical. In Colorado, you had better be registered with a political party by JANUARY 4th! Like, 2 fucking months ago.
This prevents a lot of normal people from being eligible to participate. Political junkies knew they had to register, but the average person was too busy living life and being normal to know about the deadline.
The Colorado Caucus Doesn’t Really Determine Anything
The Colorado caucus is a unique type of crazy because delegates are unbound. This means that after spending 2 hours in an elementary school cafeteria arguing with your neighbors about Hillary Clinton’s habit of eating young children, your vote might not count for anything.
In most states, delegates are either awarded to be presidential candidates based on the proportion of votes the candidate receives, or all delegates in the state are awarded to the candidate that wins the caucus. Not the case in Ol’ Colorado — in our state delegates can go and vote for whoever they want at the Democratic National Convention. Woo “democracy”?
Republicans Aren’t Even Voting For Their Presidential Preference
In today’s Republican caucus, voters won't even be voting for their preference. This year, the Republican National Committee decided caucus results must be bound. Meaning, delegates must pick the candidate that received the most votes when they vote at the Republican National Convention in July.
The Colorado Republican Party decided that gave caucus voters too much influence and said fuck that ish’. So instead of voting for the person you want to be president, you will be voting for delegates that will eventually go to the National Convention to vote. Isn’t “democracy” great?
Caucuses Only Exist Because They Are Cheap
One of the biggest reasons states choose to have caucuses over primaries is because caucuses are much cheaper to organize. Since caucuses happen at one specific time instead of throughout an entire day, and don’t really involve any ballots, caucuses work out to be a lot cheaper than primaries. Granted, caucuses are a lot less effective than primaries, but states don’t care about that as long as they are saving money. Which is a lot like saying its better to buy a $30 knock-off iPhone from China than buy the real thing if it saves you a couple bucks.