Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Greens in Iowa won't be caucusing this week

With all the attention on the Iowa Caucuses -- the first "voting" in the 2008 presidential election -- I was curious to see what Greens in Iowa are up to. Just coincidentally, today is the first day that Iowans are able to register on government forms as members of the Iowa Green Party.

As can be seen on the Being Green in Iowa blog, there is some resistance within Iowa itself to the very idea of caucuses in Iowa: "As Greens we value both grassroots political efforts and democratic procedures. I think it is clear that the caucus is almost as grassroots as you can get in many ways. I think it is also equally clear that it is about as undemocratic as you can get in almost as many ways."

The caucuses require a minimum of 15% support for a candidate at a caucus site to get votes from the site. This forces campaigns to form alliances and makes it almost impossible for lower-tier candidates to get their share of votes (Dennis Kucinich has apparently directed his supporters to back Barack Obama on the second count). Caucusing is also more onerous than voting, as it takes much longer than simply touching a screen. So it isn't surprising that turnout is usually 6% of voters (according to Being Green in Iowa). It is only surprising that we pay so much attention to the results.


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