Caucuses are More Democratic Than Primaries



There’s a certain ease to primaries, but that ease and lack of commitment also precludes the best part of the primaries’ counterpart, the caucus.

Caucuses may not allow you to duck out of work to go vote, but there’s a sense of community fostered in those evenings in crowded rooms across the country. Primaries don’t afford the opportunity to forge friendships with like-minded members of your neighborhood. You might chance upon someone you know at a primary polling booth, but the likelihood of forging political bonds is much greater at a caucus where you are with your neighbors for an hour or more. Caucuses bring the party members together literally and figuratively. Filling out a bubble or punching a whole in a placard behind a curtain doesn’t foster a sense of community in nearly the same way.

Caucuses also allow for a more democratic determination of what a party’s goals are and who the attendees will nominate to support them. Caucuses are far more than a way to vote for your favorite presidential candidate, after all.

At caucuses you have the ability to introduce your own resolutions to amend your party’s platform. Do you want the Republican party to support the legalization of recreational marijuana? Or want the DFL to support the United States spreading freedom and democracy across the globe? If so you can introduce a resolution at your caucus to change the party platform to support your idea. If it passes, then you can take it up the ladder all the way to the state convention, and have it added to the platform with the required 60 percent vote of approval at the convention. This is the most direct way to have an impact on your party, attempting to help craft it to better align with your personal platform.

In the same way that your party platform amendment may ascend through the various conventions to the state level, you have the opportunity to do so yourself. You can be elected as a delegate from your caucus, move up through the various levels, and subsequently support your amendment as well as your choice of candidates.

Do you have a friend who’s running for the state house? Is your local businessman running for congress? You can support them throughout the process by being elected as a delegate. The higher up you go through the convention process, the more say you have in selecting the candidates your party endorses. Caucuses are a way to ensure that dedicated members of the party can actually shape the path of the party.

While primaries may be more convenient, that very convenience precludes the community and direct democracy found in the political world only by way of caucuses.