Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Why does America still use the Caucus?

Danny Finkelstein at Comment Central has a particularly superb post up about the scandal of the Caucuses. I say superb because I never really understand Caucuses until a few years ago when a Merkin friend explained them to me and I was left with the same sort of shock that is sort of within Danny's post.

Don't get me wrong, no democratic system of voting is exactly perfect, but the Caucuses really are the most absurd and anti-democratic process you could ever have. I remember my friend explaining how votes were counted on the basis of people standing in particular corners of the room dependent on candidate and how there would then be an hour where they could mingle and try to sway their friends and neighbours.

The result was that you could, quite literally, buy votes if you liked. People in corner A could try to convince people in corner B buy saying, "hey, come over for dinner next week" and suddenly votes moved. The fact that it was just activists anyway made a mockery of the system when compared to the Open Primary system which is far more democratic (but not without problems).

Have a full read of the post here.

5 comments:

jd said...

Hell, let them buy and sell votes.. at least that way the vote is actually worth something.

But you had a 'Merkin friend'? Hmm.. I now have a disturbing vision of a strange group of people comparing pubic wigs.....

jd said...

God, I'm slow tonight... of course 'A Merkin friend' as in George Bush 'I'm proud to be A merkin'....

canvas said...

Well, Gordon Brown became PM without a mandate - that to me is far more serious, undemocratic - and absurd.

Re: caucus - I quite like the fact some candidates are considered unviable - and I quite like the fact that there is a 'second choice' factor.

Do you think Labour would give the public a second choice? If only...

dizzy said...

Sometimes, instead of Merkin I say Seppo. In case you don't know, Septic Tank = Yank => Seppo

They are terms of endearment for me though, not insults, mainly because the seppos that know me know that I mean it as such.

Insy said...

One misleading aspect of caucuses is that your wife doesn't get a secret vote.