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Caucus Confusion: Reflecting on the First Votes of the Democratic Party

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

By: Megan Masilungan

As Super Tuesday approaches, the Democratic Party has been focusing on which of their candidates will be able to win the 2020 election. The Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary have been important leading up to the election because as the first caucus and primary, respectively, they determine which candidates are the most popular.

However, the Iowa Caucus was considered a debacle where technological malfunctions caused issues in collecting votes. With almost a 24-hour delay in announcing the results from the Iowa Caucus, President Donald Trump tweeted: “The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like when they ran the country.”

Furthermore, the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary show Americans whether or not to continue supporting their favored candidates; it’s also when more candidates begin to drop out after disappointing results.

As the Iowa Caucus has been important for decades as the very start of the presidential nomination process, there have been calls to remove Iowa’s status of being the first caucus.

Voters should have faith in a democratic society where they don’t have to worry about

inconsistencies and announcements of results being delayed.

In light of this fiasco, Iowa and New Hampshire also should not begin the nominating process because the populations aren’t representative of the entire country. Both the populations of Iowa and New Hampshire are predominantly white, significantly more than other states in the rest of the country. As the votes of those from Iowa and New Hampshire are valued more than other citizens who vote later, the Democrat party sends a message that whiter states, such as Iowa and New Hampshire, have more political influence over states with more diverse populations where more voices from different backgrounds can be heard.

With the 2020 presidential election approaching, there has been a looming question over the Democratic party: which candidate will be able to defeat President Trump? The results of the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary have shown a tight race between Senator Bernie

Sanders and Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, while popular candidates of Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden have not been performing as well.

I believe that the Democratic party has been solely focusing on which candidate can win the 2020 presidential election against President Trump, instead of who is most qualified to be President. With Sanders and Buttigieg both having close results in both the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, I believe that for the rest of the election in a Democratic nominee, Democrat voters will be split between either a more liberal or moderate candidate. This causes many supporters of certain candidates to end up voting for neither candidate in the presidential election if their favored candidate does not win the party nomination. It may seem like a human characteristic where we choose to be uninvolved if who we favor doesn’t win; however, elections that choose candidates that fit our ideals won’t be truly democratic if we don’t follow our civic duty as citizens to vote.

For example, candidate Andrew Yang has recently dropped out of the race after finishing with disappointing results in both the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary. He has become popular on the Internet among younger voters for his stance on universal basic income. This has caused some members of the Yang Gang, a name given to supporters of Yang, to announce that they will not be voting for any Democratic candidate. This mentality mirrors the 2016 presidential election where many dedicated supporters of Sanders refused to support former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton against President Trump. As Sanders called for unity among the Democrat party, some of his supporters were strong in their position that they would only support Sanders as president. As the term “hyperpartisanship” has been frequently used these last few years, it’s also evident how dedicated supporters pledging complete loyalty to only one candidate can do more harm than good; by doing so, there’s a push to being divided rather than uniting as a country towards a common goal. As the beginning of the nominating process for president should be held in more diverse states, we also need to be able to trust our government in ensuring that a disaster like the Iowa Caucus won’t happen again.

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