A different way to caucus
So, I’ve spent the better part of last night and a bit this morning going over the Iowa Caucus results.
What a disaster. What we essentially have is the following: a candidate that has perennially polled second behind the flavor-of-the-week winning the caucus by a very small margin, the flavor-of-the-week losing by a small margin, and a fringe Republican placing a close third. We then have the three most conservative candidates (by their own admission, not so much in reality for all three) finishing distant 4th, 5th and 6th. Oh yeah, Huntsman had a few votes too.
We’ve learned nothing new, other than that GOP voters aren’t very loyal. From Bachmann-Perry-Gingrich-Santorum, they have seen support swell up to high 20’s all the way back down to low single digits. Because of this, I’d like to see a change in the way we conduct these types of caucuses.
Since these caucuses have absolutely no bearing on actual delegates, we need a system that better defines which candidate/candidates would be most likely to be elected by a majority of Republicans in the state/country. Instead of voting for the one I like most, I’d prefer ranking the candidates from the one I like most to the one I like least. Give me a weighted average of candidates across all conservatives, and then we’d probably see a different outcome. Sure, Ron Paul is going to get has 25% of the vote. But if it’s not Paul, who would his supporters vote for? What about Bachman, Perry, Romney, Gingrich? Same for every other candidate.
The logic is simple: if your favored candidate wasn’t in the race, who is your next best pick? What about your third best? Who is your least favorite? Weighing these candidates against one another could prove far more indicative of the electability of the candidate as opposed to saying, “Hey, you get one chance to say who you like best, right this second, before it matters wall that much.”
For example, if you were to ask me right now how I feel about the GOP candidates, I think I would be much more comfortable ranking them best to worst than I am with picking just one. So I might say, “Well, I like Gingrich, Perry, Romney as a top three, then Santorum, Paul, Huntsman and last Bachmann. I’d be happy with the top 5, but Hunstman and Bachmann worry me.” If every other conservative did the same thing, we would have a much better idea of who would drive folks to the polls in November.
I’m not sure if that’s even possible. Many candidates would be opposed to it simply because it would literally weigh them against the others. Paul probably got his 21% last night; I doubt it would grow to a majority if it were him versus any other candidate in the race simply because of his foreign policy views (Israel, Iran, etc.). However, it is possible that Gingrich or Perry pick up a considerable margin of “Yeah, I’d go vote for that guy” folks.
Something to consider.