Thursday will see the first American political contest to select delegates to the nominating conventions for presidential candidate of the Democrat
and Republican parties.
It is not a ballot vote. Instead, you go to a room (such as a school gym) and the organizers will tell you where to stand, according to which candidate you favor. Everyone can see whom you choose. If you are embarrassed to go to a small group, you might change your mind and head for a larger group. Or, you might be influenced by where your family members go, or where your pastor goes, or where your boss goes. You might even decide you DON'T want to be in the same group as someone you dislike!
When everyone has chosen which group to stand with, you might find yourself in a group so small (under 15%) that the leader will declare the candidate "non-viable," in which case the group is dissolved and everyone in it can go to their second choice. But, since there are many locations across the state, it's possible a lesser candidate could get 15% in some places, but not others.
I've heard it said this is not so much like a normal voting process, as it is like choosing teams for ball games in the school gymn class.
I understand there is virtually no restriction on who may caucus. If you expect to be in Iowa when the presidential vote will be held, you can caucus, even if you live in another state now. If you are under 18 now, but will be 18 when the vote is to be held, you can caucus.
The three leaders of the Democrats are nearly tied, according to polls, and two of the Republicans are nearly tied.
I wonder if any of the campaigns will bus in people from outside Iowa to participate in the caucus process? It would be wrong, but not illegal.
There has also been discussion of the WEATHER and the EXPECTED TURNOUT.
In any given year, most of the people who show up to caucus are people who have been to a caucus before. Edwards, who sought to be the candidate four years ago and who was the vice-presidential candidate when the Democrat party narrowly lost that year, is familiar to politically-active Iowans. Most of his followers have attended before. If there is a small turnout, it helps his chances.
Obama is most popular among younger people, especially those age 34 or less, many of whom have never done a caucus before. There must be a large turn-out, with these people part of the increase, for him to do well.
Hillary (she chooses to use her first name in the campaign signs, etc., clearly distinguishing herself from the former President) is most popular among older women, among whom a fair number have never caucused before. A larger turnout, reflecting those older women showing up for the first time, would help her.
Part of the state may have severe weather conditions (i.e. snow drifting over the roads, and perhaps strong winds) on the night of the caucus (Thursday at 7 p.m.). Conventional wisdom is that this would favor a lower turnout, helping Edwards. However, if young people would be more likely to brave the snow, it could help Obama. Hillary would considered most likely to be hurt, on the theory that older women who have are going for the first time would be least likely to brave the snowstorm for an unfamiliar experience.
Among the three candidates, I think Hillary is most likely to transport in voters from out-of-state, since she has been so bold in planting questions, taking contributions from a criminal until he was exposed, and lying. Snowy weather might throw a wrench into transportation plans. (She may not come in second, but she very much does not want to come in third. If she is seen to be that vulnerable, it could open up a lot of money and personal support to Obama and Edwards, from people who do not wish to support them unless the support will lead to a win.)
I'll not be flying in to caucus, no matter how appealing the notion is.................
I have just heard a news account on the radio, which says the process I have described is the way the Democrat party does a causus. The Republicans
each write a name on a piece of paper, and the papers are counted (like home-made ballots).
Which method do you think is better?
Both sound open to manipulation in my opinion.
Sorry, but I'm just enthusiastic
Why? He's largely untested in high office.
Obama, Hillary, and Edwards (the three front-runners among Democrats) have all held the same office--Senator.
I'm asking why Obama? It's not good enough to give a negative account of other candidates. Why would he be good enough for America and the West?
Why would any of them? I personally find them all pretty crummy, Obama's just the one I relate the most to.
That's my worry. Look at how badly you did last time.............
I would vote for a penguin before voting Bush in again.
Then again, not I personally, did a bad job last year. This would be my first year able to vote.
Why do Americans all claim to love their country but act as if they hate their government?
The government works for you.
Elect the people you really feel can represent you appropriately.
It's not that simple - and in fact, it's much the same here...
At least in the US people come closer to electing the president than they do here, to electing the PM. (I'm not saying either system is better, btw).
And, conversely, I could quote something heard (read) not that long ago on this very forum: "I love Americans, I just hate America". (I may paraphrase... but it was jolly close to that).
But again and again here, I see English or UK people go on and on about what "they" are doing, meaning the government... the phenomena is not confined to the US.
Many of the people who complain about government failings don't bother to do anything about it...........like vote or make contact with their
What's the point of living in a democracy if you don't participate in the process?
Maybe there should be a financial penalty for not voting?
You know my feelings on sitting back and expecting every other ... person to do things...
No and anyone who thinks they don't is letting them know they can do what they like without penalty.
To broach a sensitive subject about the upcoming election of the next American president. would the white majority vote a coloured person into such an high office,? there is a vast numerical majority of whites in the USA and judging by the last 50 years the coloured population of America have had a very steep hill to climb it is only 50 years since the Rosa Parks incident , jmb
I don't think that they use the term "coloured" any more JMB. Looking at the donations that Obama received, $58m in 6 months with a large
proportion made up from small donations of $200 per person, I think he has/had a groundswell of popular support.
Whether these donors will actually go out and vote when it matters remains to be seen.
Healthcare is said to be one of the main issues that will decide this election.
I am a product of my generation and the word coloured was used then, it is much better than using the N word, who made it politically correct not to use Coloured ? it is used without any prejudice on my part and as long as it is legal it will still be used by my generation.and I don't think the same generation need a lesson on political correctness by a younger generation. jmb
Why, are they green, purple and orange?
A statistic I heard quoted today said that 250m people have at least basic health care in the US while 50m do not. If this is true it is a scandal
that poverty exempts so many people from treatment in the US.
The 250m who do have health care would also find that many expensive treatments would not be covered fully. Sometimes this can mean the difference between life and death.
Do you fundamentally believe that the child of an office cleaner has less of an entitlement to healthcare than the child of the office CEO?
Have you seen Sicko?
Marymary, I haven't checked the statistics, but I it seems to me there is a failure to distinguish between health care and health insurance.
Everybody can get health care--just walk into a doctor's office, or medical clinic, or hospital emergency room.
The government has medicare to help pay for older people, and medicaid to pay for poor people. Illinois and several other states have additional government health care, in addition to what the federal government provides. Many employers either provide medical insurance as part of their employee compensation, or they offer it at group rates with the employee having the option of having it deducted from their paycheck. Besides this, there is charity care (such as I have), and there is research care (I know of cancer patients whose care was paid, with their agreement that information was taken down for research purposes).
There are millions of young people who have access to health care, but who choose not to be insured. They may be children (whose parents will take care of them, as necessary), or young adults who do not expect to get sick or injured, and who decide for themselves it is more important to them to have a nice car, or eat out more often, or have nicer clothes.
In any case, if Gov. Romney gets the nomination, it will be a case of two competing health care plans.
America's healthcare system is ranked 37th in the world despite being ranked the wealthiest country.
Professor Reinhardt, of Princeton University, says people need to decide whether medical care should be like public education—where every American
simply has a right to it—or if it should be treated like a luxury good. Currently, he says healthcare is like fine dining…if you have the money, you
get it, and if you don't, you won't.
He made the point that Americans already get social policing and schooling and wonders why you are so afraid of social medicine.
So it should be like fine dining? Exclude the poor? Good grief.
Medicine in the US is fine if you can afford it. What would happen to you scholar if you got some life threatening illness? Are you saying you would walk into the hospital and they would treat you?
Janet, hospitals and hospital emergency rooms have laws which govern the care they are required to give without regard to ability to pay.
A number of insurance plans and HMOs require notification, or for some non-emergency procedures pre-approval, for reimbursement. If a hospital is going to give $3000 worth of care, and must fill out a form and make a phone call to get paid by the patient's medical coverage, they will prefer to fill out the form and make the phone call.
Why, then, did this man here claim on national US television that his wife hadn't been able to get a full medical exam for 7 years until a millionaire stepped in to pay for it?
In Oz they can. The "non urgent" stuff does require a long wait, though.
Robert Novak thinks the following results are most likely:
It's worth noting that you have written "Hillary" rther than Clinton when you have accorded all other candidates their surname. They should all be given the same status surely?
I'd rather they all had an equal footing. People aren't stupid enough to think that they're voting for Bill................or are they?
It's her campaign's choice, her strategy, to go as "Hillary." I would be choosing to go against her own choice if I listed every other candidate
as they wish to be described, but not her.
When Bill Clinton ran, he said that his wife was very smart and helpful to him, politically, and that anyone electing him was getting two-for-one. There has been some discussion that Democrats who wish they could elect Bill Clinton a third time may be hoping that electing Hillary is the next best thing.
I think that, once elected, Hillary will be more of an independent thinker than Bill Clinton was, but she will certainly call on his political skills to try to win people over to support her programs and goals. If it happens, we will see how it turns out.
She's expected to do well on Super Tuesday. Iowa isn't that important overall.
One of her campaign managers argued that she should skip Iowa, that it wasn't worth the time and effort. But she overruled him--she thought it was
important, that she could win it fairly easily, and that it was worthwhile.
Now, in a desperate effort to win, she is giving away snow shovels, offering to shovel the walks and driveways of people who will come out for her (her volunteers, of course, not her personally), offering free rides, and offering free babysitting while her voters are at caucus.
I heard a conservative radio pundit say, "That sounds like a Hillary supporter--willing to hand their children over to strangers for free child care and willing to vote for someone who will give them things for free."
Someone who is against Romney's candidacy (but not himself a competing candidate) said that he wanted to kick Romney's teeth in. Romney was asked for his response. He said, "My only comment is, 'Don't touch the hair.'"
It is still possible that there will be a late entrant such as Gore or Bloomberg.
Mayor Bloomberg said on December 31 that he will not run (but, he could reverse himself).
Vice-President Gore indicated he did not intend to run (but, he could change his mind as well).
Bloomberg would run as an independent. Since he ran for mayor as a Republican, and is not well-known across the country, he would be starting from behind. I don't think he would have any chance of winning as an independent, but he might make take enough votes from one or the other major candidates to tip the election the other way.
I think it is too late to get on the primary ballots to be a Republican or Democrat candidate. I think Al Gore would be a remote possibility, but it could happen if the Democrat convention were deadlocked. The rules say that the delegates must vote for the winner of their state's primary initially. If there is a three-way or four-way split of the votes, so that no one has enough on the first ballot, then the delegates are allowed to vote according to their judgement. If their own candidate were not going to win, Gore could conceivably be drafted. (I think there is some variation in the delegate rules, from state to state.)
The turnout was huge--in round numbers, 300,000--double a normal turnout.
Obama did better than Hilliary among women, 3.5 to 1.
I read a statistic, that Iowa is 95% white. (I'm not sure that is true. If so, it is counting Hispanics as white, to which they usually take exception.) There is some thinking that much of Hillary's support among black people is contingent on the thought that a black candidate would not be likely to win (and it would be a shame to lose to the Republicans). If this is manifestly not so, quite a few people may switch allegiance.
I have also heard the opinion that a lot of money will come in for Obama. Some people who did not think he had a good chance will now back him. It may be that Hillary will have to crank up the illegal money machine again to match him. (When caught with such contributions, she has voluntarily returned them for the sake of looking cleaner. If she needs the money, she may stop doing that.)
Obama deserves congratulations. This early victory is truly historic.
I note, however, we've had no answer to whether or not someone with no insurance can be treated...? Isn't that germane to the debate about healthcare?
Well it just goes to show Iowa does not hold a Colour bar. I only know of America by what the films and tv coverage portray and I always had the
impression there was an underlying current of racial disharmony. .going by the showing s of the Iowa caucus I am totally wrong, as Iowa according to
the news is 95% white and Obama has left Hilary Clinton reeling and returned in third place, shows how much I know and what to believe about American
policy and their sentiments, I really thought
the colour card would have been played, out in the Midwest. wrong again, I credit the American opinion jmb
I'll await the final result with baited breath.
Jmb, sadly, I would have to admit that there will probably be some bigots who would vote against Senator Obama because of his racial heritage. I
expect there will also be some people who will show some prejudice the other way, and make a point of voting for him, even though they don't usually
I would prefer that a fiscal conservative would ultimately be elected. If the Republicans nominate one, I would rather he be running against Hillary, because she would be easier to beat.
Governor Huckabee seems to be a big-spending Republican (who raised taxes and spending in Arkansas). If he is chosen as the nominee, the choice will be between two big spenders. (The large expenditures under President Bush have drawn criticism from both parties, although the Republicans in Congress did not show restraint when they held the majority, either.)
It really does not matter who gets in as long they are best candidate for the job and they represent all of the people even those who did not vote for them America need a president who will nurse your country back to its former glory and look after the people and devote time for the whole country . jmb
If you want to see how much control a President has over running this country, see Charlie Wilsons War. Or at least read the story about Charlie Wilson. It demonstrates clearly how much wheeling and dealing goes on in the back rooms of Washington and how events in the world can be changes without a vote of Congress.
A president can accomplish things if he can get the necessary support and cooperation.
In President Reagan's case, he was sometimes effective in getting cooperation from the congress.
In President Clinton's case, he accomplished most when he found common ground with the Republicans (such as welfare reform).
In President Bush's case, he has often been blocked by the Democrats when they disapprove, but he and Republicans in the Senate have been blocking the Democrat majority in much of what they want to do.
I have been reading about Romney's defeat in Iowa. A couple of factors that I had not caught last night:
Among non-Evangelicals, Romney beat Huckabee 2 to 1. It was the Evangelicals, a number of whom were first-timers, that really gave Huckabee his victory. The majority of the Republicans participating were Evangelicals.
In Iowa, Independent voteers and Republican voters can chose to participate in either caucus. The large turnout at the Democrat caucuses is partly from a large number of Independents and Republicans choosing to participate. If those Republicans "come home" to vote Republican in November, they might vote for whomever the Republican candidate is (or not, if they have a reason).
One of the "dirty trick" aspects at Iowa was push-polling. You get a phone call, and are asked to answer some survey questions. The interviewer
says something bad about Edwards, and then asks, "Does this influence your opinion of him a lot, a little, or not at all?" Then, the interviewer
says something bad about Obama, and asks the same question. After you answer, the interviewer is done.
On the program I saw, an Iowa school teacher thought to herself, "Wait a minute! They said something bad about Edwards, then Obama, but there was nothing about Hillary Clinton." She figured it was either Hillary's campaign, or someone else on Hillary's side. She disliked the negativity, so she caucused for Obama, not Clinton.
The program also spoke about the practice of digging up bad information about an opponent and telling a news outlet about it.
Sean Hannity, a conservative radio/TV person (who is sometimes very harsh in his own statements), has said he has a source who tells him Hillary's campaign has some material of that nature they will try to use to knock Obama off track. I am of the impression that Obama is the cleanest first-tier Democratic candidate.
A day and a half has passed, and I haven't heard anything about any candidates getting votes from out-of-state visitors. I congratulate every candidate for not taking advantage of the looseness of the rules to add to their totals in that way.
Now, it's on to the New Hampshire primary, on Tuesday. Anyone with a clear victory in both contests will have done himself a lot of good.
Conventional wisdom is that Huckabee is not likely to win in a state with a much smaller number of evangelicals. If he were to win anyway, it would
speak against the idea that his candidacy is overly dependent on that group. Romney, who had led in Iowa until a recent shift toward Huckabee, would
very much like to win New Hampshire. McCain did well 8 years ago in New Hampshire, and reporters have thought he will do well again.
On the Democrat side, Edwards is not expected to do as well in New Hampshire. The question is, will Hillary do better? There isn't much time for her to make any changes in her campaign. However, when Bill Clinton first sought the presidency, he lost in Iowa and New Hampshire, but still won the nomination and ultimately the presidency.
I don't understand any of this. would it not be much easier for everyone to throw their hat into the ring and say we are all presidential candidates and let the entire nation decide? His opponents could then be selected for the various tiers of government depending upon the number of votes received.