Why you SHOULD be nervous for Caucus night
ALTOONA, Iowa — On Feb. 1, 2016, a freshly 18-year-old Austin Sosbee, went to his local elementary school to participate in his first caucus. I have heard over the last few days, people who are very nervous about their first night caucusing, and normally I am the first person to tell them that it will be okay and not to worry. However, I think back on the event and I have decided that maybe you should be nervous for caucus night.
This election cycle was a lot different than the last one. Des Moines was pretty divided over two candidates in the last cycle. There were a few MoM (Martin O’Malley) fans, but most were divided between Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. I remember walking into the event, being very nervous because I was an avid Bernie supporter, but I was not nervous about going and participating in the event. I was nervous about how Bernie was going to perform that night.
Considering this year we are going in with essentially 7 popular and accepted candidates, it is going to be a wild ride for this caucus season. The reason that I say that you should be nervous is what are you going to do if your candidate does not perform in your district. In Iowa, with the 15 percent viability threshold for Democratic candidates, there will be some districts that will require people to have to switch sides and align with another side. This is perfectly natural, but I feel that a lot of people have not taken the time to consider this outcome. If you are a hard Bernie Supporter, what are you going to do if Bernie does not meet the threshold in your district? Are you going to jump into the Warren Camp? What happens if Warren had fewer people than you did? These are the questions that the average caucus-goer will have to contemplate in their time before and during the caucus.
The process itself is rather straightforward and simple, the reason being is that there is plenty of staff that will be there that will guide you through it. However, the most nerve-racking and scary thing is, what am I going to do if I have to switch sides? Then you are essentially in the position (collectively) to decide who gets the district unless it is in a landslide district.
Furthermore, the other part of the candidate side that is very nerve-racking is what happens after caucus night? What if the candidate that you worked for drops out, or does not do well? I think that it is important for everyone going into this caucus season, that this is supposed to unite us over a candidate, not divide us. Especially with there being such a vast array of support for multiple people we, just like the candidates, have to understand that whoever is the nominee will be the person facing President Trump in the fall. This means that if the Democratic Party is going to win in November, the party must also win here in the spring.