What is the Iowa Caucus? Why Does It Matter?

What is the Iowa Caucus? Why does it matter?

The Iowa caucuses are electoral events for members of the Democratic and Republican parties in the state of Iowa. Unlike primary elections in most U.S. states where registered voters go to polling places to cast ballots, Iowans gather at local caucus meetings to talk and vote on the candidates. In both the presidential and midterm election seasons, registered Iowan voters vote in a per-precinct caucus for the party of which they are registered as a member. The caucuses are also held to select delegates to send to conventions and party committees, among other activities.

As the Iowa caucuses get closer, it is important to engage in the political process. Whether or not you care about politics, going to school in Iowa comes with some unique opportunities because presidential hopefuls come through Iowa in order to try to get Iowa voters on their side. 

"Iowa caucuses have a poor record of picking presidents, but they play the important role of winnowing the field. In only one instance in the history of the modern Iowa caucuses has someone finished lower than third and gone on to win a party’s nomination (John McCain finished fourth by a whisker in 2008). That’s the source of the phrase that presidential candidates have 'three tickets out of Iowa.'"(Des Moines Register)

As college students in Iowa, we get a unique opportunity to be able to vote in the caucus, meet presidential candidates, and engage in the democratic process. 

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