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EtcetEraThread Democratic Presidential Primary |February OT| Witty Thread Subtitle Goes Here (Discussion Guidelines in OP)
Red Text Okay, now for the rules. It’s been observed that political threads on Era are, bluntly speaking, a series of trashfires, except when they get
Greetings, users and lurkers of Era, to our first official 2020 Democratic Primaries & Caucuses OT! As you may know, the long national nightmare known as the 2020 Democratic Primary is coming to a head next month as ballots are cast in primaries and sweaty partisans take to caucuses to scream at each other in person instead of online. In this thread, we’ll have a short summary on each contest in February, some advice for people looking to participate, and some guidelines for discussion. The first in the nation since the parties lengthened the process in 1972 (thanks, assholes), the Iowa Caucuses are held on February 3rd. Though long held as a key state, the Iowa caucuses have only predicted the nominee 43% of the time. So if your fave doesn’t make it, don’t abandon hope: they’ve still got better-than-coinflip odds. Unlike a primary, a caucus is a group process. Participants show up to a precinct in person and sort themselves into groups for each candidate on the ballot. The doors are closed to further participants, and a count is taken. If a candidate’s supporters make up less than 15% of all people present, that group is disbanded, and their supporters are either asked to join another group or leave in what’s called the realignment - this is the part that generally involves a fair bit of shouting (but it’s shouting, I’m told), as the remaining groups attempt to win over the newly-unaligned caucusgoers to their side. This process can repeat multiple times until all <15% candidates are eliminated and a final count is taken, with precinct delegates being allocated proportionally. The Iowa caucuses have been the subject of quite a bit of debate lately. There are those that say that having the first state be extremely white and rural biases the process, and that caucuses themselves are undemocratic due to the way the high time requirements and sometimes trying atmosphere make it difficult for underprivileged people to participate. Proponents say that Iowa has developed a unique culture of retail politics that makes it an excellent trial-by-fire first state. That’s unlikely to be settled on an internet forum, but by all means, have at it. Check to check in early and find your precinct. If you’re registered to vote in Iowa but not currently living there, there’s a number of satellite precincts as well! If you want to participate but you’re not sure what the requirements are, they’re fairly straightforward: you must be a resident of the precinct you’re attempting to caucus at, you must be a registered member of the Democratic party, and you must be an eligible registered voter. If neither of the latter two apply to you, no worries - show up early, and you can register both as a voter and as a Democrat right on site. Eligibility for the former can be determined by checking . Remember, this is a multi-hour process, and the doors shut at 7PM sharp, so make sure you have the time to get there early and stay. Next - New Hampshire! Like Iowa, but instead of caucuses, they have primaries, and instead of corn syrup, they’ve got . Mmm. Taking place on February 11 this year, the New Hampshire primaries first rose in importance in 1952, and successfully predicted the president (if not the party nominee) every year from then until 1988. Similar to Iowa, NH has a very “retail politics” vibe, but unlike Iowa, the candidates don’t get to hang out there for months on end, following the first contest as it does by only a week (okay, 8 days). This results in an absolutely hectic period of on-the-ground campaigning as candidates furiously shove pancakes into their mouths and sing muffled praise for the various 10,000 districts of the NH State Legislature in an effort to shore up support with key figures they previously hadn’t had the time to extensively court. NH frankly hasn’t been subject to the same level of scrutiny as Iowa, but it probably should be. Like Iowa, it’s very rural, and very white - not at all representative of the country as a whole. But like Iowa, there’s a certain amount of pride (and perhaps exasperation) in the way that every 4 years candidates for president show up in their living rooms, dining rooms, and back decks peering in the window and checking to see if they’re not home. Primaries are much simpler than Caucuses: show up, be registered, vote. New Hampshire has semi-open primaries, so undeclared voters can vote in either primary, but voters with declared party affiliation can only vote in their own. If you’re a registered republican but want in on the primary, it may be too late. Want to know where to vote? Check . Not sure if you’re registered? No worries - according to the Secretary of State’s office, you can register to vote on election day at your polling place. The requirements are outlined As an aside, NH Dem party: get your shit together - I had to go trawling the SoS office's site directly to find that. Smh. VIVA CLARK COUNTY! The Nevada caucuses take place on February 22, and represent basically the first opportunity for nonwhite people to weigh in. Nevada doesn’t have the same kind of weight that Iowa and NH does, sadly (some would say… curiously). At one point, Nevada had regular primaries, but switched over to caucuses in 2008 in an effort to boost electoral relevance - caucuses require far more on-the-ground organizing time and effort thean primaries. They also moved up to be before Super Tuesday, which has to help. This year, the party is attempting something of a hybrid system. There’s an early voting period from February 15-February 18, with the caucuses themselves taking place the following Saturday the 22nd. The votes from the early voting will be sent to the related caucus precinct and totaled with the in-person votes. Unlike Iowa, nonviable candidates’ supporters are not released and allowed to join their second choice - less than 15% and they’re just out. The doors open at 10AM PT and caucuses are called to order at noon, so make sure to get there on time if you’re going in person. Nevada’s actual delegate allocation system is a mess that I won’t get into, but if you want more details (including voter registration, precinct and early voting locations, training, volunteer opportunities, and more) check out . See, NH? Other states did it. It’s not just Iowa. Finally, our last contest of February! The South Carolina primary has been the first in the south since its inception in 1980, and in 2008 established an important marker as the first Democratic primary contest of the cycle with a majority black electorate. As such, it’s taken on an important role as a signal flag. Candidates that fail to hit 15% in SC are unlikely to do much better with black voters going forwards, and as they’re the core of the Democratic voting bloc, tend to drop out. But who even knows, this year. There’s a strong argument to be made that SC should be even more important than it is. As was mentioned above, black voters are core to the Democratic constituency, and emphasizing the importance of this contest could serve to align candidates on black issues in the same way Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status somehow convinced everyone that ethanol would solve climate change and actually corn syrup in everything is fine. As a primary, there’s not much to say on the process - show up on February 29th between 7AM and 7PM ET and vote. Voters may participate regardless of party affiliation, but if you’re thinking of trying to Operation Chaos the Republicans, don’t bother - the South Carolina primary has predicted their contest winner every presidential election since its inception (other than 2012), so naturally they canceled it this year. To check your voter registration status and find your polling place, click . Want to register to vote? Click for instructions on how. To avoid adding any extraneous editorializing on what's likely to be the hot-button section of the OP, I'm just going to link people to the latest . As of today, 1/27/2020, Joe Biden remains the favorite, with Sanders close behind, followed more distantly be Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg