Should the Democratic Party get rid of caucuses? | The Tylt
Should the Democratic Party get rid of caucuses?
Carleton College political science professor Steven Schier says caucuses are a total user-unfriendly form of participation; harsher critics call them back-door voter suppression.
“If you want to encourage people to have a voice in your party process, the last system you want to design is caucuses,” he said. “It disadvantages working people, parents with children, and the disabled.”
But supporters say caucuses are more hands-on and participatory. At a caucus, participants get to hear a speech from each candidate or that candidate's supporters during the meeting before they vote.
Picking a presidential nominee should be more of a thoughtful process. Going to a caucus where you can look the other participants in the eye and hear each candidate’s supporters’ spiel is preferable to what’s become a lunch-hour, drive-by event.
Critics say that "hands-on and participatory" is just a nicer framing of "not available to people who don't have several hours to invest in a caucus," i.e., working people or people without access to transportation or childcare. They say we should be emphasizing early voting, electronic voting and automatic voter registration, and that caucuses automatically depress voter participation and favor the privileged.