Who Cares About The Caucus?

If you’ve been on the internet at some point since Tuesday night (and if you’re reading this, then yes, I’m talking to you), then you’ve probably read one headline or another about the Iowa Caucus, which was one of the first “races” for the Republican presidential candidates. It’s usually supposed to be an accurate early indicator for who will win a political party’s nomination, but what happens when over 120,000 votes are tallied and a candidate leads by only eight votes? Should we even care about these caucuses at all?

To be honest, you shouldn’t really care about these results. The fact that one extra handful of people wrote Mitt Romney’s name down on a piece of paper (forget pregnant chads or digital votes, this caucus process is some serious old school stuff) really won’t determine the fate of these Republican candidates. Because those who caucused on Tuesday night are only a percentage of those who live in Iowa because even they’re only a percentage of the people who care a little about so many long speeches. Besides, these votes don’t even count for anything when it comes to the official nomination; people’s minds change and those eight people just might vote for someone else!
However, you should care about the caucus altogether: even though former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney just barely beat former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, it’s interesting that Santorum was at the bottom of opinion polls just a few weeks ago. Oh, and his campaign may not be backed by as much funding as Romney’s is, and yet he managed second place in the closest caucus in history. Even though Tuesday night was like a “test run” of what’s to come at the national convention later this year, there’s still much to learn from it. It’s the same reason why sports teams play preseason games and why students the PSATs in high school: they literally don’t mean anything, and yet there is so much be said about those supposedly negligible games and tests!
If you’re voting Republican, Tuesday night brought the first glimpse of who might earn your support at the voting booths (note: it’s no longer Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who dropped out after placing sixth at the caucus).
If you consider yourself a Democrat, then you saw who Barack Obama might be up against in November (not that you could clearly tell from those results or anything).
And if you have yet to decide where you stand politically or who to lend your support to, this is the year to do so. Four years ago, America voted the first African-American president into the White House, and this year has already seen the closest caucus in history. Sure, you don’t have to watch every single primary event or fly out to support in person, but if you’re one of the many who are unhappy with the state of this country, then cast your ballot carefully. Even if you think your vote won’t count, or that the entire democratic system of voting really doesn’t matter, or that politicians always go back on their word once elected into office, I still think that we should try.
Maybe I’m just super naive because this will be the first presidential election I can vote in (I missed the last one by being one month too young), maybe I’m just getting too excited from too many media headlines that I just had to write my own for College Candy. Either way, I’m voting this year, and since it’ll be my first time, I’m not just gonna give it away to anybody!
Ashley is a UC San Diego grad who is holding on way too tightly to a potential career in magazines and goes to Vegas all too often. She’s fascinated with celebrities and strawberry beer and doubles as a pathological texter/emailer/blogger. Feed the addiction with tweets @cashleelee. Thanks in advance.

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