Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

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February 5, 2020 16 min
The Iowa Caucus is super important. But not really. Find out why.  Learn more about your ad-choices at
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Episode Transcription

The text below is machine transcribed.

Heyo welcome to the short stuff, I'm Josh, there's chuck, there's Josh, let's get it started. Yeah, let's get it started in here, go timely episode! So time we are rarely recording to release the next day.

So I was like hey man. Let's do something Super Nesy! What's something that's supernoosy, that's not impeachment and turns out Thi. The IWA caucus is getting a little news, yeah just a Tad.

It's crazy, like we thought that we would have the results to talk about nope.

I know because I pitche this yesterday right and the day of the caucus right woke up this morning to s, show and Iowa as the headline custer F, crazy, yeah, but we're talking about caucuses in IO CACUS and why it's important ind, where it came from, we should define caucus because a lot of people I think a're. Just like what does that even mean? Well, I mean for good reason: it's it's weird. It's kind of an old timy thing a relic and that's chill gon still in Ouston Iowa Caucus hoas a meeting. This is the strict definition websters to find caucus as a meeting in which local members of a political party register their preference among candidates running for office or select delegates to attend a convention right, but the thing about a caucus is it's not like just going to vote? That's a primary, a caukuss where you are physically present in the room like that meeting you described and the way that you show at least as far as the Democrats caucus in Iowa.

The way that you show you are planning to support or vote most normal people would call it for a candidate.

is you go stand in a portion of the room that's been set aside for that candidate supporters and their names like on the wall or something like it so needs to go away? Okay, that's just step once yeah, that's my opinion, of course, but it's just so dumb. Okay, it is such a dumb way to do it and you can tell like. I was fiercely defensive about its caucus tradition. I don't I don't.

I don't want to go on record as saying like I don't know. If it's going to survive in, you know till two thousand and twenty four, I don't think it will. No, it is under some serious threat of not Servi more it's more, it's more risk than it ever has been after last night, yeah, ironically, by trying to modernize caucus right so we'll get to all that. Okay. So so you go stand by your delegates. Name, yes, and if enough other people who are present at that caucus, go stand with you by the delegates name.

That delegate is a viable candidate. Usually that means they have about fifteen percent or more of the room yeah.

If Youre candidate, that you want to go stand under a sign of in a High School Gym, yeah is not considered viable.

You can go join another group, you can try and recruit people say: Hey man stand under this sign, come ye or you can go home.

If you want sure give me I o I that was my candidate right there's only like eight other people here, standing under the Yang team sign Yang have more than they yeah. Of course you did. I think you're thinking abiding but yeah. That is how they run. The Democrats are UN the Iowa Caucus Republicans and the GOP or the Republican National Convention.

They they just vote like a regular old primary right and, like you were saying, ironically, they tried to modernize the caucus, the Iowa caucus and that's what caused this huge problem with an APP. Isn't there right? Well, originally they were going to have virtual caucuses.

They decided not to th the DNC, rejected Iwas planning to have a virtual caucus where you could go online and be like I'm standing in the Yang Gang Room right, so I'm caucussing for Yank Th. This was this was rejected by the dncs.

They had too high of a potential to be hacked, but they still did use an APP to hally these delegates and apparently it was not doing what it was supposed to do.

At least this is the official line.

Everybody is saying no, it's everybody from Russia to the DNC right, engaging all sorts of terrible stuff, regardless this APP apparently really screwed up the caucus and in an attempt to modernize the cocause it actually set it back, possibly drove it to extinction. Yeah I mean they ere saying the AP did not crash and then there's other people saying the AP totally grashed right. So I don't know who to believe the long and short of it is we usually wake up on the following day of the Iwa caucus with a decent idea of who the top three candidates are, are going to be going into primary season, but we woke up this morning with no idea ight and I just looked on my phone.

The breaking news is that in two hours from now they will have fifty percent of the results released wow by five PM eastern yeah. Usually you don't even have to wait.

Yeah you wake up and you're like okay.

No, no, I mean like, like you, don't ve have to go to sleep, oh wowl, they usually repor, they usually repeat a on Tim Ye. Go it within a couple of hours yeah if you're in the eastern eastern time zone O know if you're in the western time zone yeah, you might know like you're in a cheeseburger, getting all the results, you know yeah. So it's been a big embarrassment, but maybe we should take a break yeah and talk a little bit why the Iowa Caucus is important to begin with, it's not all right chuck.

This is one thing that that makes the Iowa caucus so at risk right now, because of this two thousand and twenty problem that came out of the two thousad and Twenty Co is okay yeah, it is artificially important.

The IWA caucus is not actually when you dig down into it substantially important in any real way. No is important, but it's important because the media has made it important orit years. That's right! It is well. First of all, it is its not the most diverse state in our union yeah. That's one criticism of the Iowa Caucus Yeah I saw like apparently the caucus goers were ninety one percent white yeah, largely rural bunch of white people standing around then gym yeah.

I know people now ere going to be so mad at us, but that's Ro, antiquated, I'm sorry, O I saw I saw that they're sorry, just real, quick, two things. Last night there were at least two ties and so to figure out how to divide delegates to break a tie of coin was flipped and a name was drawn out of a hat wow, that's how they broke ties with the Iowa caucus last night to decide delegates for the state.

Okay, I'm sorry go ahead. Now, that's that's unbelievable, but then again, what's more diplomatic than a coin toss than get any more fift. Fifty than that, are you ready for some football, so N, one thousand nine hundred and seventy two senator George mcgoveron was running for president.

He did a pretty good job at the Iowa Caucus, and that was good for his campaign and it was sort of the first year that the media really put a lot into this on reporting on it and I think from o one thousand nine hundred and eventy two as sort of looked at as the watershed moment of when the media would come out. The next day and start start saying things like dark, Corse and front runner right and the media has it's maddening, but the media has such influence on the way people vote, and not just by saying like here's, this person's policies is people saying like I don't want to vote for the dark horse sure and like who's the front runner. I might be interested in that person precisely it's absolutely true. It's all fake. They can influence voting or caucussing, not just by releasing poles but by withholding poles, yeah right, so thi Ne Thousand Nine hundred and seventy two is a big year and the reason why is because it was the first year that Iowa became the first in the nation. That's why I was insured. It's the first time that voters have any chance anywhere in the country to say this is what I think about all these primary candidates. Who've been jabbering at each other. Last few months I gn just stand over here we're going to see where the rubber right we're going to see where the rubber meets the road for the first time.

I was the first at that and it became first for two reasonsin, one thousand nine hundred and sevnty two, the GOP decreed that you had to have you had to give thirty days notice before any kind of any kind of caucus or primary was held, and apparently that meant that Iowa had to move their caucus closer to the beginning of the year right and then. Secondly, they couldn't get a hotel for the convention. The Iowa stake convention at a time when they wanted it, so they again had to push the caucus back. So inadvertently became the first in the nation and they said Oh everybody's, paying attention to Iowa all of a sudden yeah we're getting an in disproportion, an amount of interest from the national press from these candidates that are coming o town spending, money yeah and we have influenced politically exactly - is they're going to listen to us, so we're going to make a state law that says. Iowa has to be the first contest in the nation. No matter what doesn't matter, what any other state does.

Iowa has to figure out a way to be first right, which doesn't mean there is a some sort of federal rule that says you go first. That just means it and Iwa they're like well. If Aw Hampshire wants to move it up a week, then we'll move it up. Yeah, it's a state law there, yeah and New Hampshire. Has He state law as well that they're the first primary? That's right, that's how I was gotten away with it.

There a caucus, New Hampshire'sis, the first primary New Hampshire's. Like we vote Rigtwe, don't go stand around in a gym. I saw a tweet, apparently the New Hampshire Democrats, tweeted to the Iowa Democrats and SOI. Don't worry, we've got this really yeah man they got face. So that is why the Iowa caucus became such a big deal because theyr first, because the media has an outsize influence on elections.

Whether or not it matters is a matter of debate in the history of the Caucusus.

You've never gone on to win the enomination if you finished worse than third, but there have been cases where Bill Clinton placs. Third - and you know so - it's not like you - Gotto Win Iowa Loke. What happened to him yeah to charm, her sure imbeached, right Ky went through it all. He went through it all the higes and the lows: the good in the bed right, George McGovern, the first candidate in one thousand nine hundred and seventy two when Iowa was like the first was big a big deal for the first time.

He came in first second, but and he got the nomination, but he didn't win the presidency. So it's not necessarily that cood of an indicator Jimmy Carter won the presidency.

Did what place did he come in Chuck? Well, apparently, he did a really good job at Iwa because he spent a lot of time there stumping for a year, but it says that he was actually beaten by uncommitted, so the people who said that they hadn't chosen a candidate yet outnumbered anybody's reporting, Jimmy Carter, which makes sense, but when you just hear it like he got beaten out by uncommitted. It's even that's so Jimmy Card. I know it really is Al Right, it's so one thousand nine hundred and seventy six Jimmy Carter is that guy has turned into one of the greatest statesmen in living a saints Gratin, Americaan history.

The best thing ever is being it like at a braves game when they showed Jimmy and Rosalin or the game and they're like just oldis dirt, and they always give each other kiss and everyone in the stadium melts. I know it's amazing and she's always like got she's, always chewing on a hot dog or whatever, and she has to like stop and swallow before she'll give Jimmy a kissback yeah, it's their thing.

The other thing about Iowa is: If you don't do well there, then you might drop out or if you do surprisingly well there, then you might.

You know that could kick start or very much. Willkick Start Your campaign again. So now we've reached why Iowa is actually important. But again this is artificial, because it's the media, putting labels on people, that's right, so the media basically says hey.

This Candida is expected to do really. Well. If that candidate doesn't do well in Iowa, the media says this is not a viable candidate. You should drop out yeah that actually causes funding to dry up for the CAMPI, not going to get money to someone who's, not Bible right. The media said they're, not VIBLEP, and then, conversely, like you, said, if somebody's not expected to do well and then does really well in Iowa, their campaign can just take off that's what happened to Obama in two thousand and eight yeah. Oh Oiowa made Obama in two thousand and eight right, yeah really launch that campaign. So all of this stuff again is just selffulfilling propacy, which is what makes two thusand and twenty so nuts that all of the Democratic candidates spent so much time in so much money and so much effort in Iowa. To get this, I saw a tweet from Glen Greenwall actuallybasically, laying this out to get this artificial, bump yeah and then the artificial bump didn't come, which rendered the iowi caucus totally unnecessary. Yeah the whole thing was unnecessary. I think they're plouing ahead to New Hampshire, Oh yeah, that would be a lot of the candidates, were, were claiming victory and sort of backhanded ways, not backhanded, but just sort of they couldn't come out and say we won, but every single one of them were like. Oh, I think we just we did very well tonight right.

They were like I want to. I want to congratulate my fellow nomines on coming in second yeah.

Everyone kind of claimed a victory, because no one could not everybody claim victory. Well, some people clearly could not yeah the people are in that gym.


Well, if you want to know more about the Iwa caucus you better find out about it now, because it might not be around next time. Maybe not we'll see what happens.

I guess well. Hes just say short stuff out stuff you should know. Is Production of IHEART radios, howse stuff works for more podcast to my heart radio, because if the IHEART radio at Apple podcasts ar wherever you listen to your favorite, shows

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