Hot Take HOTTER Take is a weekly opinion column with takes hotter than the white hot rage burning in your eyes whenever a political ad interrupts the video you are watching on Youtube.
Ever since the Iowa caucus, I think we have all heard more about Iowa than any reasonable person ever should in such a short amount of time. Their caucus, quite frankly, was a mess. Even two weeks later the weirdness hasn’t been completely cleared up. As residents of Nevada it’s fair to wonder if our upcoming caucuses will share a similar fate. Now, if you were able to get to an early voting location, then you dodged the worst of the weirdo antiquated system known as a caucus. All else are doomed to the fate of sitting (well, standing) through one of the dumbest voting systems of all time. Opponents of the caucus will point out how the system is exhausting, time-intensive, and vaguely undemocratic since people basically stand in different corners until those in the corners with little support are persuaded or shamed into backing someone else. People are sharp to point out the instances of Iowans pulling names out of hats or flipping coins as another example of the neolithic nature of the caucus process. If everything about the caucus is so stupid, then why do we even have it?
Hot Take – Caucuses are fun
Voting is boring. The normal voting process is not fun. It is purely utilitarian and completely void of stupid traditions. The normal voting process is also very good at being a voting process. On the other hand, caucuses are fun because they are very bad at being a voting process. Watching the fallout of trying to run the Iowa caucus through an app of all things is beautiful chaos of the highest magnitude. It’s the same kind of fun the “Jackass” movies popularized, with the unfortunate exception being the very real and serious political ramifications of the whirlwind disaster.
HOTTER Take – If everything is going to be stupid, at least a caucus is transparent
Every year, our democratic processes are being eroded in one way or another and there are very few beacons of hope to look towards. In many states, new laws are being enacted aimed at suppressing voter turnout. Billionaires can just pay for a spot in elections whenever they want. All of our social media platforms are susceptible to being compromised by propaganda. Electronic voting machines are vulnerable to being hacked or malfunctioning. At any moment during the Democratic primaries the superdelegates can be reintroduced and no one’s vote will matter much. The Republican party didn’t even get the chance to have a primary in Nevada. Basically, singling out caucuses as the problem with our democracy ignores just how stupid all facets of the process have become. Caucuses, for what they are worth, are at least visable enough that stupid stuff can be spotted. Lots of dumb stuff happened in Iowa but at least a lot of it was caught on camera, witnessed first-hand by real people or tracked on backup counts by the various campaigns. This transparency is one of the few good things about the caucus process we’re going to go through, and it’s important we make full use of our ability to be witnesses of the caucus when something stupid inevitably happens.
Vincent Rendon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Vincesagebrush.