On Monday, Iowans will participate in the first presidential nominating contest. The results could greatly influence the Democratic race. But Iowans won’t vote like most Americans, who participate in primary elections. Instead, they will caucus. That means the results will be less fair and democratic than they should be.
Caucusing demands that voters arrive on a weekday evening in the cold of winter, wait in often long lines to enter caucus locations and spend perhaps hours with their neighbors deciding which candidates will get delegates. The arcane process involves allegiance-switching and deal-brokering among different camps. Followers of a candidate who does not get enough support in the early going can swing to others. Realignment requires caucus-goers to walk between areas of the high school gyms, college conference centers, churches and libraries where caucuses are held. That’s tough if you cannot walk. Good luck even showing up if you’re an employed single mother, a bedridden patient or a night-shift worker.