Have Americans finally woken up to the fact that presidential candidates, whether red or blue, are simply paid puppets for powerful corporations? Sue Stevenson looks at the Bernie Sanders phenomenon and whether the Iowa Caucus signals a revolution by the people.
MAYBE SOMETHING ... maybe nothing. At the end of the Iowa Caucus, Hillary Clinton had edged ahead of Bernie Sanders by the slimmest of noses, while Ted Cruz won 27.7%, Donald Trump 24.3% and Marco Rubio 23.1% of the Republican vote. Bernie Sanders did way better than the MSM expected, surprising far less people on the ground. But what does the result mean for his chances in the presidential election?
The Iowa Caucus is kind of like the opening game that kicks off the presidential candidate season. It wasn’t even considered such a big deal before the 1970’s but these days it’s generally seen to be a bit of a forecast of how switched on voters are, and who the presidential candidates for the Democrats and Republicans will ultimately be. In reality it has about a 50% strike rate on that score.
New Hampshire is game two of the season. While Iowa has a caucus, New Hampshire has a primary election, like most other states, and both of these operate differently. New Hampshire is the first primary election state in the election cycle, which is why it gets as much attention as the Iowa Caucus. Neither are particularly representational of the rest of the country, being mainly white.
The caucus is all about voters getting behind their preferred candidates, which is why Bernie Sanders supporters are so ecstatic at the turnout. But it’s not simply a case of who gets the most votes is automatically in the lead for the presidential candidacy. That determination takes place a few more steps down the line at the State Convention. There, the presidential nominee is chosen by delegates — which is why the caucus is so important because the amount of delegates a candidate has at state level is determined by how many delegates they get at caucus level.
The caucus is the bottom tier of the presidential process. Each state is broken down into precincts where a caucus or primary election takes place. Each of Iowa’s 1681 precincts voted yesterday but not all of them gained a delegate because for reasons beyond the scope of this article some precincts gain one or more delegates while others gain none.
The Democrats and Republicans do their caucusing differently. For the Repubs it’s a private vote. All votes are tallied across the whole state and each delegate gets a proportion of the vote. In contrast, the process of the Democratic caucus is sort of quaint and folksy — and pretty anachronistic, when you consider the amount of weight it may carry down the line. A caucus can be held anywhere — in a school, a church, or even in a few instances in homes, like in the case of rural Boone County:
At a Democratic Party caucus, each potential candidate has an area set aside for them. There is also an area for those who are undecided. Then comes half an hour of each group trying to persuade everyone else to choose their particular candidate. After this, any candidate who doesn’t have enough votes to be considered viable is out of the race. Their supporters are given another 30 minutes, along with those still undecided, to work out what their next move is in this game of political musical chairs — whether they wish to align with another group, or to join the undecided group and abstain entirely. Then votes close, and the numbers are counted.
To be in the running to get delegates to your side you need to gain at least 15% of the vote. Hillary and Bernie both cleaned up there. Hillary has 49.9% of the vote, Bernie 49.6% at time of publishing.
There are over 11,000 delegates chosen from these precincts to go to the county convention. The 44 delegates Hillary and Bernie were competing for in Iowa are actually estimates of how many delegates they will get at the State Convention, not how many delegates were up to be won at the caucus. Confusing, huh.
In six precincts the vote was tied. A tied vote is determined by … a coin toss. Ironically, considering Hillary’s connection with the establishment and its immersion in and propping up of a rotten-to-the-core financial system, of the six coin tosses to determine six delegates, she won them all. Still, out of over 11,000 delegates, winning an extra six is probably not that much of a big deal.
Coin-Toss Fact Check: No, Coin Flips Did Not Win Iowa For Hillary Clinton https://t.co/14GOr8T1JR— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) February 2, 2016
And anyway, estimates of how many state delegates each group won are very close. At last count Hillary has 23 state-projected delegates, while Bernie has 21. Not too shabby for a candidate whose average donation amount over the past three months has been $27.16. Power to the people indeed.
Of course, if Bernie Sanders makes it all the way to the White House, whether it makes an iota of difference remains to be seen. What extent the presidency is a matter of being a puppet to the corporatocracy is something still viewed wildly differently by different people. It doesn’t take too much digging to make the connections though.
Make sure you watch how political influence is bought in America (research by Princeton University)
Still, a president who called out the corruption in both the financial system and the political process itself? That would be a breath of fresh air in itself. But not as fresh as the realisation that the American people have finally clicked on to the level of corruption in their country, finally got past their hubris, of being divided and conquered by those who, blue or red, ultimately bat for the same team — well, who knows where things might go with an awakened populace?
You can follow Sue Stevenson’s blog here.
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