Friday, February 02, 2018

My Caucus Endorsement

Monday night's Democratic caucuses have gotten more discussion than usual off year caucuses because of the seven way primary for governor. As political blog readers know, Iowa law says that if no one gets 35% in the June primary, a convention settles the nomination.

I don't think that will happen; I expect an outcome like the 2014 Republican Senate primary where one candidate gets hot at the end. But multiple campaigns are prepping for the possibility.

Some people and campaigns are pushing for preference groups like we have at presidential caucuses. This is not an automatic thing like it is in a presidential year. Someone has to make a motion, and it only takes a very small share of the room (15%) to force groups.

I believe that the last thing Iowa Democrats need right now is literal division.

I also think that many - not all, but many - of those who are pushing preference groups do not have the long term best interests of the Democratic Party in mind. There will be people at the caucus who would rather repeal and replace the Democratic Party than build it. And I have not devoted the last 27 years of my life, since literally the day I moved to the state, to the Iowa Democratic Party and the Johnson County Democrats only to watch us become the Occupy-Revolution Party. Issues are one thing, but that rhetorical style and those tactics cannot and will not win in this state and will set us even further back.

I long ago chose and endorsed my candidate for governor, for both policy and personal reasons, and nothing between now and primary day is going to shake my support for Nate Boulton.

But support for governor and caucus night behavior are different things. The important thing about caucus night is not preparing for an unlikely what-if scenario. It's building the party for the general election.

That's why I am not going to vote to go to preference groups. If they happen, I will caucus as Uncommitted, even though I have already decided to support Nate.

I ask all Iowa Democrats to join me. If a motion for groups is offered, please do not support it. If they happen, no matter who you support or if you have not decided, please come over to the Uncommitted corner with me.

Let's not divide on caucus night. Let's unite.


Unknown said...

Asking an honest question here, not trying to be combative: From a logistical standpoint, what happens if there are no preference groups at the caucus and no one gets 35% of the primary vote? Lets say you do get enough people to be uncommitted at the caucus and that carries all the way to the state level, how does the democratic nominee get chosen?

CJ Taylor said...

Kelli, the nominee still gets chosen at a special meeting of the state convention. Unlike in presidential years, your preference group affiliation doesn't carry over from one level to the next. When all the delegates who are chosen on caucus night arrive at the county convention in March, no one will ask who they caucused for and alternates won't be seated based on their support for one candidate or another. At each step, the slate is wiped clean. There will be people who get elected up the chain all the way to the state convention who have loudly declared their intention to nominate a certain candidate, if it comes to that, and there will be people who make it all the way to state as uncommitted delegates. All of them will enter the state convention as free agents, and are not bound by any previous declared or undeclared support.