Welcome to the 2020 presidential election. If you’ve been keeping up with the news, then you’ve already heard about the complete disaster that is the Iowa Caucus. Everyone is freaking out and running around in a mad panic trying to figure out what happened. But the first step to that is understanding what the Iowa Caucus is and what it means.
For the democratic party this election season, they have to choose a nominee that will face Donald Trump in the general election. The nominee is chosen by whichever candidate has the most delegates. There’s a certain number of delegates per county, so however the county votes in either the caucus or the primary decides how many delegates each candidate gets.
Most everyone is familiar with a regular voting primary; people go into a voting location, show proof of identity and voter registration, they go up to a booth, vote for who they want, and the vote stays anonymous.
But in a caucus, each county instead has people come into a designated place. Common locations for caucuses are high school gyms, churches, etc. Anywhere they can fit in about 200 people. People come in, and are told that each part of the room represents a different candidate and they have to go stand with their candidate. In Iowa, in order for a candidate to be considered for any of the delegates for that county, they have to have at least 15% of the people at that specific caucus event. If someone’s preferred candidate doesn’t meet that threshold, they’re allowed to realign with a different candidate. At the end of the night, people get to do their final realignment, and the percentages of people per candidate decides the number of delegates per candidate.
The Iowa caucus is especially important because it sets the tone for the rest of the primaries. It’s the first of every election cycle, followed by the New Hampshire primary. Candidates who do poorly in the Iowa caucus tend to drop out in the following days. The results of the Iowa caucus also influences people in other states to vote a certain way.
For example: Joe Biden’s number one selling point is his “electability,” but if he does poorly in the Iowa caucus, people in other states begin to doubt the “electability.”
Update, written a couple hours after the above written: only releasing partial results is misinformation. Like stated above, people are influenced by elections and only releasing 62% of the vote is 38% of information that isn’t being told.