01/11 - Brown-Black Forum
01/06 - NPR/WOI Radio Debate
01/04 - DMR Debate
|Iowa's precinct caucuses are set for Monday Jan. 19, 2004. The Iowa caucuses are the first step in the nominating processes of the Democratic and Republican parties. As a result, Iowa garners a vastly disproportionate number of candidate visits and amount of media attention. A better than expected showing on caucus night can boost a candidacy, while a poor performance can spell the end of a candidate's hopes.|
Hawkeye State at a Glance
General: State of Iowa | Facts and Symbols | Iowa.com | Iowa Information Network | P2004 Iowa Page | P2000 Caucus Page
|Organization is the Key
The Iowa precinct caucuses came to the front of the presidential nominating process in 1972 as a result of changes in the Democratic party rules. The caucuses are now the first contest in the nominating processes of both parties. Because of this first status, Iowa receives candidate visits and media attention vastly out of proportion to the number of delegates it sends to each of the major party conventions (a little more than one percent of the delegates at either convention are from Iowa).
The Iowa caucuses are a shining example of democracy in action in America. Participation requires more than simply going to a voting place and casting a ballot. On caucus night, Iowans gather in high school cafeterias, living rooms and auditoria across Iowa. They divide into groups. Ordinary citizens make speeches on behalf of the various candidates; their neighbors listen. The whole process can take several hours (and it is only the first step in selecting delegates; county conventions, district conventions and the state convention follow). Unfortunately, the caucuses also illustrate one of the problems with American democracy. Statewide only about 100,000 or fewer people typically participate in the caucuses for each party.
As a result, successfully competing in the Iowa caucuses requires strong grassroots organization extending to as many of the state's 99 counties as possible. Candidates must invest the time and resources to develop a network of field staff, county chairs, and precinct captains who can identify and mobilize party activists who will turn out on caucus night. (example)
The first status of the Iowa caucuses is enshrined in state law: "The date shall be at least eight days earlier than the scheduled date for any meeting, caucus or promary which constitutes the first determining stage of the presidential nominating process in any other state, territory or any other group..." (Iowa Code--Title II Chapter 43.4).
|Candidate Iowa Sites||Graphic Page|
Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2003 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.