Make Every Caucus Goer Count

Dear Friends,

Every problem has a solution. I truly believe that. Whether it’s climate change or something as comparably mundane as fixing the Caucuses, there’s a fix waiting to be tackled.

Since it’s Monday and I’m just warming up (pun intended), let’s hold off on climate change and start by repairing the Iowa Democratic Caucuses. Party Chair Andy McGuire has said she’ll convene a committee to look into the process. Let’s hope so. Lots of good ideas are percolating out there, and if Iowa truly wants to hang on to its first-in-the-nation status, the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) better heed the clamor for reform — as the Republican Party of Iowa did four years ago.

To further jump-start a conversation many have already weighed-in on, here are my two suggestions:

(1) Apportion delegates based on the total number of attendees at each caucus. In other words, in a caucus that elects 4 delegates where 150 people show up, here’s one hypothetical result:

Candidate 1 – 77 votes = 2.05 precinct delegates
Candidate 2 – 53 votes = 1.41 precinct delegates
Candidate 3 – 20 votes = 0.53 precinct delegates

Add up precinct delegate numbers from across the state and the Party reports the usual “state delegate equivalent.” Voila! You now report numbers that much more accurately reflect each candidate’s popular support while preserving the essence of a caucus. Partial delegates from each precinct can still be seated at county conventions, as there are always open seats available due to delegates who don’t show up.

(2) In precincts with huge turnouts this year, break those precincts into smaller caucuses. This eliminates long lines of shivering people waiting to get into the building, makes it easier to find a building where we don’t break fire code, prevents people from having to caucus in ice-covered parking lots, and moves the whole process along a lot faster.

Will the Party consider these and some of the many other good ideas being offered? We’ll see. I’ve offered to serve on the IDP’s committee, and will keep you posted.

On today’s Fallon Forum, we also talk with attorney Joseph Glazebrook about constitutional questions relevant to the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice. We’ll talk with Paul Cienfuegos about the Community Rights movement. And we’ll try to sort out the finally-concluded stand-off at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon.

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CST on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. The number to call is (515) 528-8122. The program re-broadcasts Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and Monday at 6:00 a.m. on WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans). Check-out podcasts here.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon