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Despite problems elsewhere, Minnesota Republicans remain happy with caucuses

Two other states held caucuses the same day as Minnesota, and even though Rick S
REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Two other states held caucuses the same day as Minnesota, and even though Rick Santorum swept the contests, not a single delegate was awarded.

“The idea that they somehow accurately represent the parties identities of the people of the state is absurd on its face,” Carleton College professor Steven Schier said. “I think we’ve just gotten a rather stark example of that this year.”

But caucus supporters say turnout and the accuracy of the election results are in the hands of the voters, and Fenton notes that the party wasn’t expecting nearly the turnout it saw in 2008.

There’s also the matter of how much those low-turnout events define the presidential contest. Two other states held caucuses the same day as Minnesota, and even though Rick Santorum swept the contests, not a single delegate was awarded. Even so, Santorum became a frontrunner overnight. Schier called the phenomenon an “unholy alliance” between the media and the parties, looking to add importance to even non-binding presidential preference polls.

“In the middle of February, three non-binding events that didn’t produce any delegates for any candidates become the biggest story in America and transforms the presidential election contest,” Schier said.

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Comments (3)

the problem is the preference polls, not the caucuses

Having struggled with the presidential preference poll in 2008 while helping at a caucus, having seen again this year that the the problems are still there, I'm convinced it's ridiculous to try to essentially run a primary on a caucus infrastructure. We want the instant results, but it's about wining delegates, not about an accurate count from a bunch of volunteers with a level of training that might vary greatly. What difference does the winner of a close vote make when the number of delegates is what's ultimately what determines who really won? Let's just drop the stupid poll and get on with the business of the caucus.

I've voted repubican since 1980

and I have never attended a caucus but I might vote in a primary.

I prefer caucuses because

they give interested citizens more opportunity to be involved in the whole election process by volunteering to serve on party committees and to be delegates to the senate district and state conventions if they wish.

What could well encourage much more participation would be to hold caucuses on Saturday or Sunday afternoon rather than on a cold, dark and perhaps slippery night with the nearest parking space two or three blocks away from the caucus.

It would also be easy, on a weekend afternoon, to hold the presidential preference voting open for four hours so people don't end up standing in long lines outside the caucus builiding (again, on a cold, dark and perhaps slipperty night).