Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

US Elections

Can someone please explain why some states have caucuses and others do not?

Why is it winning the caucuses appears to be more valuable than overall national vote count.


Some have a caucus and some have a primary. It is up to the State. A Caucus tallies votes differently by the different parties, one by actual votes and one by percentages, so a Caucus is less likely to predict a front runner.

The electoral college actually installs the President…not the popular vote. This mechanism serves two purposes. To to make the rural vote count for more while diminishing the worth of the vote of individuals in the cities, and to keep any third Party from gaining any real power (“Electors” only belong to the Republicans or Democrats).

Every state is allocated a number of votes equal to the number of senators and representatives in its U.S. Congressional delegation—two votes for its senators in the U.S. Senate plus a number of votes equal to the number of its members in the U. S. House of Representatives.

for a more in-depth understanding of disproportionate representation here is an article

Confused yet? :rofl:


Great question @Archie.

#1 - Our Constitution does not define a specific election process for each state to follow, so each state is responsible for their own elections and they can basically conduct them it however they want.

#2 - Originally, all states caucused. Primaries were introduced in the early 1900s I think and more and more states are moving to primaries.

#3 - Some states caucus and some conduct primary elections. Caucuses are conducted by the political parties (Democratic and Republican) while primaries are conducted by the states.

#4 - In a primary election state, registered Independents can vote in one primary or the other. In caucus states, participants must be registered with that party.

#5 - In a primary election, voters cast their ballots for their candidate, by going to a polling place or mailing in a ballot, and the votes are counted. In caucus states, people gather in local places such as churches, private homes, lodges, halls, or whatever and talk about their favorite candidate and why they would be the best candidate for the general election.

Participants try to sway others to their guy or gal with charm, logic, oratory and other speechifying, arguing, trash talking, bullying, or whatever works. In reality, those that are passionate and speak up try to get themselves elected as a delegate for a particular candidate. Sometimes even unbeknownst to that passionate outspoken person who can’t keep her big mouth shut, get elected.

Those delegates are then committed to going to the next level caucus or convention to cast their votes and keep trying to get to the next level and ultimately the national convention. It can become an all consuming project for a citizen and certainly exciting for those that enjoy the process, but a curse to the unwitting citizen who had just moved to the state recently and thought it would be fun to go to a neighbor’s house to caucus and couldn’t keep her big mouth shut and wound up having to go to the next two levels of whatever and feigning enthusiasm to others while having to miss work and wondering what-the-what she got herself into.

But I digress. All states, regardless of primaries or caucuses send delegates to vote for president because we do not use the popular vote here in the US since we are a Republic rather than a Democracy. The number of delegates each state has is based on their population. Hope that helps.


Oh man, I just spent a long time writing my response and posted it and then I see that @Fiddle_wood already nailed it.

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aaf_pfft And he wins by a keystroke! haha wav

Seriously though Maggie, you brought up some other issues I didn’t…it’s all good!


The interesting thing is that the Democratic National Convention does not have to support the candidate with the most primary votes. So, not only does the DNC choose who they want regardless of the public, but also the Electoral College allows a president to win that does not have the most votes. This has happened two times in recent history. George Bush and Trump both won without the popular vote.

Let’s face it. Our political process is broken. But I have a way better method of choosing our Leader.

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Thanks @Fiddle_wood & @MissMaggie I am still a bit confused how all this works. Money clearly plays an important role in the process with all the partying that goes on. Here in the UK only the political party’s celebrate the ordinary guy in the street just votes for the candidate who he/she will deliver the best for their local community. The Monarch has no political role in all of this.

That really was the reason I raised the query. Regardless of the public vote it’s seems that the caucuses decide who becomes president which seems a little unfair this side of the big pond. The party here that wins the most seats forms our government and selects our PM

@Archie, a lot of people would agree with you. In fact, I remember my high school (secondary school for you UK folks) history teacher telling us he thought they would remove the Electorial College if they ever elected a president that did not have the popular vote. However, the United States covers a lot of area. The needs of those in densely populated areas is different from those that live in more rural areas. If you did not give those in rural areas representation, then the large city states would always get their way. So, it actually has worked out to make things more equitable for the general population spread across all the states. I like to say the one that gets the most votes from the most states will win.


I am not up on the caucuses process, but the Republican National Convention does go with the candidate that won the primaries. I believe the DNC screwed Bernie Sanders out of the nomination last time because of Hillary’s connections. Thus costing them the election and leaving us with Trump. I imagine Bernie will get it this time though. I hope they learned their lesson. BTW, I am not a Democrat or Republican. I wish a third party could have a reasonable chance. The current political climate in America is more divided than I have ever seen in my lifetime. If it continues, I could see a Civil War in the future.


“Daddy, it’s time we took up arms and started fighting for our Liberties.”
“Well, OK son,… but just try to be ‘civil’ about it.”


Our system of government has it’s own issues. None more so than in the recent Brexit debate where political parties and individuals who swapped sides in an attempt to bring down the government tried to undo the result of a nation referendum. The lies and exaggerated claims made by certain political groups all came to nowt when a general election was called and the people spoke reaffirming their decision to leave the EU.

We have a similar situation going on in Scotland where one political party is trying to overturn the results of an independence vote a few years back where Scotland voted to remain part of the UK. The good thing is no matter what our politicians say or do their time in office is short lived. It’s the silent majority that will decide on Scotland’s future


I pray that never happens


I still do not fully understand primaries and Caucasus but I do not see how popular vote would be better against electoral vote in a federal system. The pure number game is not without evil, in fact there is so many I can think of.


Well… not exactly… caucuses don’t decide who becomes President. Only 12 states caucus. Caucuses and primaries are only held to determine who wins each party’s “nomination” for President. So, right now, we are only “voting” for or “caucusing” for a candidate from our respective parties who will then go on to run for President. Each party’s candidate then is on the ballot for the general election in November. I mentioned the national convention earlier; to clarify, the national convention and the electoral college are two different things. The delegates from caucuses and primaries that last the longest attend the national conventions for their party in the summer where they hold however many votes are required to “nominate” their Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates for the general election. It’s a wicked crazy spectacle to be sure.

The candidates then campaign more and more and really step it up. We are inundated with campaign adds and more debates and we can do absolutely nothing about it. Please pray for us in our time of anguish as we endure the onslaught. This whole process takes about two years and seems to get longer each cycle. We only get about two years of relative peace.

In the general election in November, each state again holds its own election for President and several other offices. Any individual can vote for any candidate from any party regardless of the individual’s party affiliation. Here’s where it gets confusing for most. When we vote for President, we are actually voting for an electoral college delegate called an elector.

The number of electors each state (or commonwealth) gets, is the same as the allocation in the House Of Representatives. In some states, whomever wins the majority of votes, that candidate wins all allocated electors. In other states, the allocation of electors is divided among the candidates based on the percentage of votes for each candidate. It’s true that some electors are free to vote for the candidate of their choice regardless of which way their state voted in the general election, but they almost always do vote the way they’re supposed to.

AND it’s even weirder than all that. The electoral college doesn’t even meet til well after the general election. So, our general election is in November, but the result is not counted and final until after the first of the year.

Yes, it’s true that one candidate can get the majority of the popular vote and yet the other candidate wins the most electoral votes, and hence wins the election; it’s happened four times. And that’s the electoral college in action and working exactly like it’s supposed to. Our founders designed it that way for good reason. They realized and debated the fact that as we grew, high population areas could dictate to those in the less populated areas. That’s why we are a Republic rather than a Democracy. (Democracy is sheep and two wolves voting on what’s for dinner. Democracy bad.)

If we used the popular vote today, our Presidential election would always be determined by the voters in California, Chicago, and New York City. The rest of the country would have no say in the matter. Candidates would not even waste time campaigning in other cities and states.

That’s one of the many reasons Hillary lost the last election because she ignored some states; she never even visited them. Apparently, us Americans don’t like being ignored.

Very true. But the win does not always go to the biggest spender. In the last election, Hillary far out spent Donald and her super PAC money appeared unlimited.

So, that should clear things up right? Yeah, probably not.


I saw MEP Farage’s final speech at EU Parliament; it was amazing. I also saw the unceremonious yet poignant removal of the Union Jack from the European Council building and smiled.

Happy Independence Day Archie :slight_smile:

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Hi @MissMaggie thanks for the detailed explanation things are a little clearer but still confusing.

Farage is a bit of a loose cannon, a big mouth with little of any importance to say. Here in Scotland he would be refereed to as sleekit and untrustworthy. I know he gained some popularity when he visited the US as a guest of Mr Trump. But he is not well liked over here although he does have his flock of sheep who adore him.

I have mixed feelings about leaving the EU. We have only been part of the EU for a short while. I voted not to join back in the 1970s when I was in the Army in Germany. Even so, at first things seemed good. Then over time the European Parliament began introducing silly new rules and laws, taking away the power from national governments. They increased taxes and denied us access to trade with the rest of the world. As the EU grew the rules about free movement were relaxed and we had a huge influx of migrants from the former eastern block countries when they joined the EU. Britain was paying way more into the EU pot than we were getting out and it became clear that this couldn’t continue but the EU ignored the calls for change.

Things are going to be tough for the UK for next few years as we learn to adjust but in the long term the future looks good.


You have to remember that the EC was part of what guaranteed small states entering the union fairer representation. There’s a chance that the US would have never existed at all without it. Why would a tiny state like Vermont give up their sovereignty if they thought NY would dictate everything they did after joining the union.

Despite what the history books say, the fundamental reason for our Civil War was state sovereignty.


So are most Americans :slight_smile:


Considering everything you describe (silly rules, taking away power, increased taxes, denying access to trade, etc.), it’s hard to understand why you have mixed feelings. Were there any good things?

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