Presentation on Caucus Systems (by Mitch Stewart)

Mitch Stewart is the head of Organizing for America (within the DNC and the morph from Obama for America.  They must have wanted to keep the monogrammed OFA hand towels)

I learned the least but enjoyed this one the most – because it helped me relive some amazing experiences from last year.  That said – others in the room learned a ton about caucuses.

From my local dems, I think there had been a concern that the Change Commission might be on a mission to get rid of Caucuses.  from this meeting, I didn’t get a sense of that at all.  Instead, I sensed a deep appreciation for what caucuses can do/provide.  Here are the notes.

Caucus 101:  (the video from Iowa)

  • Most of the caucuses are tier leveled
  • Dates & rules for each are determined by the political party
  • Paid for by the party
  • Anyone can participate if you’re eligible to vote
  • Representatives

Benefits enumerated:

  • Grassroots activism
  • Fosters party-building
  • Emphasizes participation


  • Adequately planned and organized
  • Maximizing democratic value


Question from Suzi: Commonalities/economies of scale solutions to address some of the woes of the caucuses and expand the benefits?

A: Could be technology:

  • Ie – IVR at Iowa
  • IOWA has a number of different levels of technology
  • Online capabilities potentially

In Iowa – had 238,000 caucus attendees

  • believes that they did get more folks on board
  • Believes that the caucus value is high in terms of leaderships and in terms of the pure democracy to it.

Steve Horsford from Nevada talking about the value of the caucus in building up the party

Additional comments/qs:

Helps build up a Database  – not just registered democrats (from suzi)

Idea: Need “caucus in a box” (from suzi)

Democratic AND inclusive? (question from suzi on how you maintain both. Stewart’s answer was that you can’t really.  absentee caucus won’t work)

Interesting data to explore (staffers to look into this)

  • Caucus state – pre/post democratic registration and activitism V. primary states
  • Can you show the relative value with the caucuses – especially looking at 2010 – are those folks behavioral democrats
  • Idea – for a deeper study on caucus v. primary states and the ability to contribute to the goal.  A study of best practicesstor

2 responses to “Presentation on Caucus Systems (by Mitch Stewart)

  1. Pingback: The Change Commission’s first meeting « Suzi's Political & Educational Observations and Experiences

  2. How about a study of those who can’t attend caucuses because (a) they work, (b) they lack transportation, and (c) they have child or elder-care issues?

    How about a study of whether caucuses lead to voter intimidation by the supporters of one candidate or another?

    How about a study of the voting systems in caucuses, and whether a system of secret ballots, as in a real election, would be more effective in preventing theft and fraud?

    These would all seem to be fruitful areas for consideration, and I recommend them to the Commitee’s attention.

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