Is The Iowa Caucus Important?

January 31, 2020

Why Should Tweens & Teens Care About The Iowa Caucus?

It’s election time and while you may not be old enough to vote, the next president of the United States will have a big impact on your future. The Iowa Caucus is the first glimpse into who might be the democratic nominee for president of the United States, and perhaps even the next president. Should you care? Absolutely! Plus, we’re willing to bet that knowing this information might just impress a teacher or two. 🙂

The Iowa Caucus Is Here!

In less than a week, Iowans will be heading to their caucus to vote for who they think should be the democratic nominee for the president of the United States. If you’re wondering why Iowa’s such a big deal (every state has a primary election or caucus, right?), you’re not alone. Here are some reasons why it’s all about Iowa right now:

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1.  Iowa’s First
It’s not the biggest state, nor is it the most diverse, but Iowa is the first state to conduct a caucus, and that in itself makes it important.

2.  A Great Predictor
Since 1980, every candidate (except Bill Clinton) who won Iowa, or New Hampshire (the second state to conduct a caucus or primary), or both, also won the presidential nomination for that party. Given what’s happened in the past, the odds of winning the party’s nomination is pretty great if you do well in the first few states.

3.  Candidates Start To Drop Out
Caucuses are similar to meetings. People gather in their precincts and decide who they want to nominate to represent their party in the presidential race. It’s a public vote, unlike primary elections where you vote at a polling booth or via absentee ballot. Candidates who don’t receive enough votes (at least fifteen percent of the votes in most precincts) are automatically kicked out of the race. If candidates receive very few votes, they’ll most likely suspend their bid because their chances of winning the nomination are low.

4.  It’s All About The Numbers
Before the Iowa Caucus, the rankings of each candidate are purely based on poll results. While polls give a general sense of which candidate is leading the race, actual results may be completely different. A poll, after all, is just an idea of what the outcome might be. A caucus, however, determines the actual results. That’s why the results of the Iowa Caucus are so important—it’s the first set of real results.

What will happen at the Iowa Caucus? We’ll soon find out!