This post is informative and maybe too serious...For a few laughs see my other blog: Answers to the Questions
Thirteen things you might want to know about the Iowa Caucuses
1. Thursday's night's caucuses in Iowa combine high-stakes politics and old-style community meetings.
2. The results will shape the GOP and Democratic campaigns and spark some candidates to drop out from the 2008 White House race.
3.The caucuses are such a big deal in Iowa that a musical was written about them. The play centers on Iowa farmer Eldon Wise and his family, who the media has dubbed 'the typical Iowa caucus-goers.' Like other Iowans, they're bombarded with phone calls, e-mails, negative ads and personal visits -- all of which stir up debate and sometimes rifts between relatives.
4. Republican candidates on the ballot are: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson. Democrats: Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson.
5. In each of Iowa's nearly 2,000 voting precincts, Democrats and Republicans hold separate meetings on caucus night. Anybody registered member of a party can attend that party's meeting.
6. Republicans vote in the caucuses by secret ballots. The vote determines which delegates, representing which candidates, will attend county conventions. There, delegates are chosen for state congressional district conventions, where delegate to national convention are picked.
GOT IT SO FAR?
7. The Republicans use a winner-take-all system. Whichever candidate wins the caucuses takes all of the delegates for the state.
8. The Democratic meeting divides into groups, each supporting a particular candidate. If a candidate doesn't have a sufficient percentage of the total number of voters attending, its members join other candidates' groups. When that redistribution finally ends with groups of sufficient size, the delegates are divided among them according to the percentage of the meetings' attendees they represent. The process then proceeds through the county and state conventions. At the national convention, the candidates receive delegates proportionately, rather than the winner taking all of the state's delegates.
9. The turnout predicted is: 120,000-150,000 Democrats; 80,000-90,000 Republicans
10. The weather outlook for Thursday is mostly sunny, with a high of 29 degrees, a low of 22.
11. Unlike a caucus, a primary is carried out in a virtually identical manner to a general election contest, with participants going to polling place or, depending on state election procedures, voting at home for their preferred candidates. A primary election attracts a broader swath of the electorate, in part because it requires a shorter time commitment. A caucus takes longer to conduct and tends to attract dedicated party activists.
12. Caucuses are held in a wide variety of locations such as schools, churches, community centers, public libraries and even private homes.
13. Historical caucus results have spawned a conventional wisdom that there are "three tickets out of Iowa." In every contested Iowa caucus since 1972, only once has a presidential candidate finished worse than third and gone on to become his party's presidential candidates.
14. BONUS: The "Iowa Bounce" is the momentum gained by a candidate who exceeds expectations in Iowa.
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