“Democrats Do It Correctly”
The Iowa Republican Party botched their caucuses this past January. First, it declared Mitt Romney the winner, and then it reneged and said that Rich Santorum may have won, finally, it claimed that it didn’t make a lot of difference, or something to that effect. It didn’t. The nation looked in on Iowa and shook its collective head in disgust. Unfortunately, that horrible display of the political process didn’t look good for the Democrats, either.
America doesn’t know what to think of Iowa and its first-in-the-nation caucuses. Coastal and international reporters come in to the state like flies to a cattle feeding operation. I haven’t talked with many out-of-staters who know what’s really going on. The hard fact is that the Republican and Democratic Parties in Iowa do NOT conduct their respective caucuses in the same manner. As a matter-of-fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Eight years ago, a friend of mine from Washington, DC came to Iowa to observe the caucuses. She attended a Democratic caucus as an observer. She found it well-organized, interesting, open, and it gave her a sense of trusting Iowans. This past year she wanted to witness a Republican caucus, so I set her up with someone attending theirs. She was more than disappointed. She was frustrated and embarrassed for the people running the show. Most of the time, the crowd was out of control. It was obvious that if training was available the facilitator didn’t bother going. The straw poll is just that – it’s a straw poll. It has no meaning. On the other hand, Democrats align with a candidate – in the open – for the purpose of selecting a delegate that will carry the candidate’s message throughout the process, from the caucus, into the county convention, and possibly to the district, state, and national convention.
The Republicans hold an election for delegates to the county convention without any connection to a preferred candidate. So for instance, Santorum could have won a precinct with a straw poll with 50 votes, Romney might have come in second with 40, and Ron Paul with 25, but Ron Paul’s people could have won all three of the delegate spots to the state convention. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? That scenario occurred in several Republican caucuses, from what I hear. Democrats know that if you want your candidate’s message to be carried on from the grassroots level of the caucus all the way to the national convention, you have to be consistent with who carries the message – the people you chose as delegates.
Not long ago, the Republicans got together to allegedly fix their problem in Iowa. They are going to meet again on May 30th. If they choose the Iowa Democrat’s model they wouldn’t have to worry about being embarrassed in the future. We do it right! We make Iowa proud!
Wed, June 20, 2012
by Marty Ryan