An Outsider’s View—13-Iowa Caucuses begin nomination of contenders for U.S. president
Posted on January 2nd, 2012

By Shelton A. Gunaratne Professor of mass communications emeritus, Minnesota State University Moorhead.

The first electoral event of the presidential election year 2012 will be the Iowa Caucuses scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 3. These caucuses illustrate how American democracy begins at the grass-roots level even though a large number of people do not take advantage of the opportunities the caucuses provide.

Although Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., topped the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa on Aug 13 with 4,823 votes, she has dropped her standing in the polls so much that the Iowa Caucasus are most likely to dash her presidential quest.

Iowa (with a population of 3.1 million occupying an area of 56,272 sq. miles) has 99 counties subdivided into 1,784 precincts. Each of these precincts will gather separately as Republicans or Democrats to nominate the party’s choice for U.S. president. Because President Obama has declared his intention to run for president again and no other Democrat has challenged him, only the Republican Iowa Caucuses are likely get media attention.

The caucuses give each registered voter a chance to influence the party platform by initiating resolutions at the precinct level. Each precinct will then elect its delegates for the corresponding county convention. The county conventions, in turn, select delegates for both Iowa’s Congressional District Convention and the State Convention, which eventually choose the delegates for the presidential nominating conventions (the national conventions).

Caucuses and primaries

Between Jan. 3 and March 17, the Republican Party in 12 states””‚Iowa, Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas and Missouri””‚as well as U.S. Virgin Islands will use the caucus system to select the state delegates to the GOP National Convention. The Democratic Party will conduct parallel caucuses in different venues to select their delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Between Jan. 10 and June 26, the major political parties in the other states and the District of Columbia will use the primary system to select their delegates to their respective party’s national convention.  As the Wikipedia explains:

“The primary elections are run by state and local governments, while caucuses are private events run by the political parties. A state primary election usually is an indirect election: instead of voters directly selecting a particular person running for president, it determines how many delegates to each party’s national convention each candidate will receive from the state.”

Following is the tentative schedule of caucuses and primaries in the United States that precedes the 2012 presidential nomination:

Jan. 3, 2012 Iowa (caucus)
Jan. 10, 2012 New Hampshire (primary)
Jan. 21, 2012 South Carolina (primary)
Jan. 31, 2012 Florida (primary)
Feb. 4, 2012 Nevada (caucus)
Feb. 4″”…”11, 2012 Maine (caucus)
Feb. 7, 2012 Colorado (caucus)
Minnesota (caucus)
Missouri (primary) “”…” *See note below on Missouri
Feb. 28, 2012 Arizona (primary)
Michigan (primary)
March 3, 2012 Washington (caucus)
March 6, 2012
(Super Tuesday)
Alaska (caucus)
Georgia (primary)
Idaho (caucus)
Massachusetts (primary)
North Dakota (caucus)
Ohio (primary)
Oklahoma (primary)
Tennessee (primary)
Vermont (primary)
Virginia (primary)
March 6-10, 2012 Wyoming (caucus)
March 10, 2012 Kansas (caucus)
U.S. Virgin Islands (caucus)
March 13, 2012 Alabama (primary)
Hawaii (caucus)
Mississippi (primary)
March 17, 2012 Missouri (GOP caucus) “”…” *See note below on Missouri
March 20, 2012 Illinois (primary)
March 24, 2012 Louisiana (primary)
April 3, 2012 District of Columbia (primary)
Maryland (primary)
Wisconsin (primary)
Texas (primary)
April 24, 2012 Connecticut (primary)
Delaware (primary)
New York (primary)
Pennsylvania (primary)
Rhode Island (primary)
May 8, 2012 Indiana (primary)
North Carolina (primary)
West Virginia (primary)
May 15, 2012 Nebraska (primary)
Oregon (primary)
May 22, 2012 Arkansas (primary)
Kentucky (primary)
June 5, 2012 California (primary)
Montana (primary)
New Jersey (primary)
New Mexico (primary)
South Dakota (primary)
June 26, 2012 Utah (primary)

 

 

One Response to “An Outsider’s View—13-Iowa Caucuses begin nomination of contenders for U.S. president”

  1. callistus Says:

    How interesting!

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