Tonight, thousands of Iowans will formally begin the process of selecting the next president by doing what amounts to a cross between the hokey pokey and musical chairs.
If you’re not familiar with the caucusing process, here’s a brief recap. Unlike primaries, which rely on well-regulated secret ballot elections, caucuses basically amount to a union card check scheme. In order to register support for a candidate, Iowa’s voters have to show up to a local gymnasium or even a neighbor’s house and raise their hands or stand under a sign for each candidate. This is no way to select the next president.
I’m not alone in my skepticism for the caucus process. James Kirchick over at The Plank has this to say regarding caucuses:
Of course the secret ballot — fundamental to any democratic process — is absent in the caucus, replaced by a bizarre, Midwestern public shaming ritual straight out of a Garrison Keillor novel, pretty much all that’s needed to render the Iowa primary illegitimate (a notion, however, that doesn’t seem to faze the supporters of “Card Check Neutrality” and its legislative enactor, the Orwellian-named “Employee Free Choice Act”). Hitchens’s damning conclusion, with which it’s hard to disagree, is that “it makes the United States look and feel like a banana republic both at home and overseas.”