The Caucus Conundrum


Buzzy is at the Table

Good Morning, Breakfastpoppers. Today is Wednesday, February 3, 2016. Our traveling friend, Buzzy, is at the breakfast table this morning. He attended the Iowa caucus and the experience left him scratching his head and in need of an aspirin. Buzzy and I would love to see you at the table this morning. We are preparing delicious omelettes filled with ham and cheese. There will be plenty of Bloody Marys available, so please join us, if you can.

The Caucus is a Crock

Thank you all for joining Pop and me this morning. I felt a strong need to discuss what I witnessed at the Iowa caucus. My choice was to talk to my friends over breakfast, or head to a shrink's couch. I chose you. The caucus was a spectacle. It was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a demonstration of democracy. It was not accurate, scientific or even fair. It was a circus and the clowns were out in full force. The process left me yearning for a real primary, but the caucus is accepted as part of the primary election process. It is very different from a primary which offers eligible voters a ballot. The caucus is a free-for-all which offers voters a chance to attend a political event. The caucus process is exhausting. I attended as many as I could, and by the time it was over I could barely move my wings. The people of Iowa caucus for hours. Why they don't yearn for a simple snap of a switch in a voting booth is beyond me. Actually, the Republicans caucus by listening to speeches and then by voting just as they would in a primary or an election. The Dems are a whole other animal. The total number of voters at a caucus are counted, which is the strangest thing to witness. People raise their hands and the count begins. Sometimes it begins more than once, because people come and go and the numbers change. Are they accurate? It is impossible to imagine that they are. The process involves a lot of screaming and confusion. The people of Iowa seem to enjoy the whole thing, but I'd rather attend a Springsteen concert if I'm looking for a good time.


Does Accuracy Matter?

When it comes to votes, this bug is a stickler for accuracy and honesty. The caucus process doesn't really lend itself to those values. Just look at the Clinton-Sanders results. We will never really know who won the caucus, because the process for counting votes and reporting them are right out of the old west. When in doubt about who the actual winner is, just flip a coin. If this is democracy in action, it is democracy for dummies. The winners don't necessarily go on to win anything. It really is much ado about nothing. The Democratic caucuses have picked candidates who have gone on to win the nomination in seven of nine races. Of course, the Dems prefer to anoint a winner way in advance and not confuse the voters by offering alternatives. The Republicans, since 1980, have gained the nomination only two times. Many consider the caucuses a great beginning to the election process. To me, it looked like chaos on a grand scale.


The Pundits Blew It

Part of the fun of the caucus is predicting the winners. This year all the pundits blew it. Cruz won the hearts and minds of the people of Iowa, something which came as a surprise to many. Trump came in second, which was a surprise to Trump. Rubio came in a solid third. On the Democratic side, the success of Sanders is astounding. I had no idea that there were so many Socialists in America. Of course, Clinton is also a Socialist so I suppose the Dems can claim they are consistent in their choice for a leader. Frankly, if either Sanders or Clinton moves into the White House, I will turn in my wings and head for the hills. Iowa is just the beginning. This election process seems to be getting longer and longer. By the time the election comes around, voters may be too exhausted to vote. Let's hope the Dems sleep through the election.

Buzzy's Song

Fly me to the moon

And let me live where I am free

Things are so strange right now

I think we're up a tree!

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Comments 31 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

Naw, we Dems don't sleep that much. I wouldn't count on that happening.

I agree, the caucus is a strange animal. It is a remnant of the old town hall meetings when the whole town could fit into one room and the procedure was expedient. We've moved beyond those days but hey, people in Iowa don't get out much, and this is kind of exciting for them. Gives them a break from listening to crop prices on the radio...and before some chastised me for that statement, my family is from Iowa and I've lived it. :) Carry on, Pop!

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

good Morning billy,

I'll make sure Buzzy reads your comment, as soon as his headache goes away!

Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 11 months ago from Moundsville, WV

Pop and Buzzy,

I find Sanders outright admission that he is a socialist refreshing. My dear late mother changed her registration from Democrat to Republican after McGovern's nomination in 1972. She said the socialists had completely taken over the Democrat party.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

Good Morning Tom,

Your mother was ahead of her time. See you at the Inn.

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 11 months ago from Rural Arizona

Good Morning Patti - I hope I am not the only one who found the caucus process to be confusing and unorganized. I learned that the Dems and the Republicans follow different rules at the caucus which makes it even more confusing. And then to use a coin flip to break a tie is insanity in my book.

I wonder what would happen if we just didn't have them anymore?

I really wish we could just go to popular vote and do away with the electoral college and all the other crap.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

Dear Mike,

Nothing bad would happen if we didn't have them anymore. The iowans might get bored and feel less important, but the rest of the nation would be just fine. I happen to agree with you about a popular vote. Maybe that's just too fair for most politicians. See you at the Inn.

Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 11 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Good morning!

Thanks for exposing the caucuses as the joke they are. It is inconceivable that this is actually used to choose anything , let alone a potential POTUS.

Frightening and interesting times we are in.


taxlarry 11 months ago

I thought the caucus was a ridiculous decision method. So, now we go from farmers to socialists in NH. I don' know why NH is so important. How many voters do they have? Give NH to Bernie. They deserve each other!

lambservant profile image

lambservant 11 months ago from Pacific Northwest

Pop, the caucus circus and mentality is a blatant expression of the decline and chaos in our culture, gov't. and political process. Clowns, stuntmen, tightrope walkers, acrobats, bearded ladies, ringmasters, dog and pony shows, and not enough lion tamers. The voters in our country have the opportunity and privilege of sorting through the madness and buffoonery and casting a wise and intelligent vote. Unfortunately, our culture enjoys reality show drama and entertainment way too much. I do pray such people realize that the state of our union is in grave jeopardy and must take this seriously. Circus that it is, I love my country enough to want do what I can to change it if only in a small way.

maven101 profile image

maven101 11 months ago from Northern Arizona

It is a tale...Told by idiots...Full of sound and fury...signifying nothing....Larry (with apology to William)...

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

Good Morning Deborah,

I think these times are more frightening than interesting. Now we have to endure New Hampshire! See you at the Inn.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

Good Morning taxlarry,

I think Bernie has it! You're right they deserve each other, but the rest of us don't deserve Bernie at all! See you at the Inn.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

Good Morning lamb servant,

I do believe there are people in this country who truly want to turn things around. I just worry that there may not be enough of that kind of voter. I have spoken to a few people. They are highly educated and woefully ignorant when it comes to the candidates and the issues. If Hillary or Bernie get to the White House, we had better skip town! See you at the Inn.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

Good Morning maven,

Your comment is perfect, so perfect that William would approve of the context in which you used it! See you at the Inn.

bradmasterOCcal profile image

bradmasterOCcal 11 months ago from Orange County California

Food Morning to you Pop

Now that I have consumed most of a box of donuts and a bucket of coffee, I can WEIGH in on this hub.

I have no idea what is a Caucus?

I enjoyed your description of the Iowa caucus, and my imagination drew me to a picture in my mind of a cattle staging area before they are put on their journey to becoming a meal.

Coin flipping reminded me of Cow Tipping.

Why is Iowa or NH even involved in modern day presidential candidate selection?

Even when it became a state in 1946, it wasn't a main demographic of the country. Today, it has less than 1% of the population in the country.

Take a look at its specific population.


2010 resident census population (rank): 3,046,355 (30).

Male: 1,508,319 (49.5%); Female: 1,538,036 (50.5%).

White: 2,781,561 (91.3%); Black: 89,148 (2.9%);

American Indian: 11,084 (0.4%); Asian: 53,094 (1.7%);

Other race: 56,132 (1.3%); Two or more races: 53,333 (1.9%); Hispanic/Latino: 151,544 (5.0%).

2010 population 18 and over: 2,318,362; 65 and over: 452,888 median age: 38.1.


? Why would the rest of the US care about the results in Iowa or NH, or better yet, Why Should they care?

Coin Flipping!

,,,,,,,,, It sounds a lot like Gambling

I don't favor either party, but the democrats seem to do more that can be scrutinized.


Now that there is no longer a USSR, the democrats can feel free to use those letters for their new US ideology.

U is for United

S is for States

S is for Socialist

R is for Republic

While the States today are not really United thanks to the political parties.

The State Powers have been reduced by the Rise of the Federal Government.

Socialism started with FDR and SOCIAL security.

Republic was meant to mean by the Majority, but today the tail wags the majority.

Finally, the Millenniums appear to be the most Naive generation of Americans. The older generations used to follow Johnny Carson, but today the MIls follow Cable News, Polls, and Pundits.

Oh look, I found another donut. What was I talking about, gee this donut tastes good.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

Good Morning brad,

Donuts and coffee are far more interesting than this bizarre ritual of the caucus. I did learn one little tidbit from it. Apparently Ted Cruz really can't stand people from my neck of the woods. That's good to know. As for the importance of these events, frankly it escapes me. If New Hampshire speaks for the country make way for Bernie! See you at the Inn. Do you like nachos?

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 11 months ago from Rural Arizona

I would really prefer that all of the candidates gather in a large stadium and fight it out. The last person standing would be our next President. I imagine this event would draw a bigger crowd than the super bowl.

At least it would be more entertaining and make more sense than this caucus circus show.

bradmasterOCcal profile image

bradmasterOCcal 11 months ago from Orange County California


I live in Southern California, how could I not like Nachos.

When I moved to SCal after growing up in Manhattan, and Long Island it took me a while to like Mexican Food.

NH only has 1.3 million people, and like Iowa mostly white.

Both of them together would only fill half of NYC.

Los Angeles has as many people as the entire state of Iowa, and

San Diego has as many people as the entire state of NH.

Here is what the Chicago Tribune says about the importance Iowa and president campaigns.


Considering whether a sequential primary system, in which early, smaller states such as Iowa and New Hampshire have such a tremendous impact is fair or beneficial to the country as a whole, the authors here demonstrate that not only is the impact warranted, but it also reveals a great deal about informational elements of the campaigns. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this sequential system does confer huge benefits on the nominating process while Iowa's particularly well-designed caucus system -- extensively explored here for the first time -- brings candidates' arguments, strengths, and weaknesses into the open and under the media's lens.


Darn, I spilled my Nacho cheese, oh well

Have a great day.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

Dear Mike,

Great idea.! It would make just as much sense as this whole process, but it would take up very little time!

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

Dear brad,

One man's ceiling is another man's floor......

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 11 months ago from Rural Arizona

Think of all the money we would save not to mention all the smear ads we have to watch on TV. It could just take place on election day and be all over with.

bradmasterOCcal profile image

bradmasterOCcal 11 months ago from Orange County California


Good one

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 11 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

I don't understand, I never have, never will and I'm probably better off. The damned Politicians don't even understand~ANYTHING~ especially how to genuinely represent the people they WORK FOR.

This is the last election I care to concern myself with...Period. I'm actually a bit weary with this one and frankly, I'm wondering why we indulge in the whole insane process. Is it really a PROCESS....a fiasco, an out-of-control Convention, a Circus of Magic shows~~ may the person with the best tricks win!?? I give up. Tell me pop & bugs....WHAT is this?

I envy Buzzy. He has wings and can fly away!

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 11 months ago from Rural Arizona

fpherj48 - You and I are in the same boat on this one. It seems that the one who has the most gold gets to be king. Hardly a day goes by I don't get emails asking for more gold from candidates from both parties.

I often wonder how many of these email asking for money are real and how many are just scams.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 11 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Mike....My guess would be "scams"......How DARE these Politicians ask the "little people" for money? Why? So whoever is elected can ignore us & take us into further ruin?

I'm sick & tired of all of them. Seriously. I can barely stand to listen to them speak anymore. Must be I'm too old to be tolerant. Paula

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 11 months ago from Rural Arizona

Paula - I really wish the election was tomorrow so our new king could be declared and they would just leave us alone for another four years. Like you, I am sick of seeing them on TV and then having some talking head explain to me what they really meant rather than what they said.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 11 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

LOL......Right! But what makes the talking heads think they have anything interesting to say? They're all stupid and lean one way or the other so far, they have to give the news laying down! I'm with you, Mike. Sick of them all!

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

Dear fp,

I agree with you. I am weary and disgusted with the whole circus. I actually feel sick when I listen to all this back and forth garbage. Honestly, an island somewhere away from this sounds divine.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

Dear fp and Mike,

Have you noticed that all the pundits are twelve years old and barely out of braces?

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 11 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

The odds against winning all six coin tosses is 64 to 1. Amazingly, that's about the same odds as Hillary's famous cattle futures investment of $2,000 that netted her over $100,000!

But some folks do believe in fairy tales I guess.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 11 months ago Author

Good Morning Will,

Hillary is the mean Queen in this fairy tale called politics. See you at the Inn. It's Taco night!

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