Why so Complex?

Since I don’t live in Iowa (I think I drove through it once) I didn’t know much about the caucus rules. I ran across this article which describes them in some detail. Basically, the Democrats use complicated, arcane rules to govern their proceedings:

What you’ll do is get up out of your seat and you’ll go walk to the corner or space by the wall designated for the candidate of your choice,” Chelsea Waliser, an organizer for Sen. Barack Obama, told potential caucus go-ers during a recent Obama rehearsal caucus.

This is describing the so called “Visibility Threshold”. By contrast, the Republicans use a simple straightforward (tried and true) methodology: secret ballot. Why do the democrats have to make this so bizarre and complex?

Democratic caucus rules also make polling very difficult. Unlike a regular election, when a voter can immediately leave the polling place after he or she casts her ballot, a caucus go-er may have to spend hours caucusing before his or her vote counts. Plus, caucus go-ers without a viable group may end up switching their support to a candidate who had been trailing in standard polls.

Here’s a little rule that applies to most things in life: if you want people to do something, make it easy for them to do. This sounds like a lot of trouble and it looks like a time consuming game. Who has time for games, O Dems? I suppose it does make the element of surprise stronger but it did John Kerry no good in 2004.

Arcane rules have huge impact on outcome



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