Lately the Iowa Snapchat story has been flooded with presidential candidates, and, on Monday Feb. 1, recently there was a featured Iowa Caucus story.
The Iowa caucus has been the first major electoral event of the nominating process for the President of the United States since 1972. The caucus receives a striking amount of media attention as well. Throughout the state there are 1,681 precincts amoung 99 counties.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to see the grassroots in action,” said Jeff VanDerWerff, political science professor. “Because caucuses are party meetings, you don’t have as many people participating.”
VanDerWerff said 80 percent of registered Republicans or Democrats do not participate in the caucus. The people who really care about politics will be there because it is more of an event.
“Part of the reason why a lot of people don’t want to go is that they want to be in and out and over and done with within three or four minutes,” VanDerWerff said. This is kind of putting an onus on their commitment.”
Caucuses usually run for about an hour, consisting of speakers for each candidate where they have a three minute limit to talk about why you should vote for them.
Regardless of the time commitment, why should students get involved with caucusing?
“Caucusing is usually the determining factor in how your state will end up voting for each candidate,” Lincoln Morris said, “I think there is often times a disproportionate representation of older people at the caucuses. The voice of the younger voters can get missed out on and I think that can make a big difference. The age gap really affects different voting practices so I think it’s important for young people to get out and engage.”
Iowa is also unique in the way that the state does not end up voting in favor of the Democratic or the Republican Party.
“The Iowa Caucus is not the general primary, which is usually used,” said Connor Shaull, SGA and campus Republican’s president, “Usually people use the primary other states. The primary season gives pretty telling signs. It’s the first primary to be done.”
The end of the primary will be in the summer. Iowa only has about one percent of the nation’s delegates.
“Numerically and empirically it doesn’t effect that much but since Iowa is so early on, it’s kind of like if you win that first quarter that tells signs that other states will coat-tail onto what Iowa voted,” Shaull said.
On Monday night, Iowa chose Ted Cruz on the Republican side and, thought it was a close tie with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton won on the Democratic side.