Tuesday, January 22, 2019

#InvisiblePrimary: Visible -- The Devil's in the Details of Any Iowa Caucus Rules Changes

Thoughts on the invisible primary and links to the movements during the day that was...

Rules matter.

That is not anything that should come as revelatory from this site. The national parties have set their rules for the 2020 process and now the cycle has entered a phase where states are considering whether and how to adapt to those rules and their changes.

Iowa, in particular, is at a bit of a crossroads. On the one hand, the DNC instituted a bevy of new encouragements for caucus states in the 2020 cycle in an effort to broaden participation. But the state party in the Hawkeye state is also trying to remedy those problems that it diagnosed coming out of the 2016 cycle. And most of those had to do with the crush of participants that did or tried to caucus three years ago.

It is a bit of a double whammy, then, to have to show signs of broadening participation for the next cycle and simultaneously troubleshoot around even more potential participation the next time around.

One of the potential work-arounds proposed has been tele-caucusing, something Iowa Democrats tried on a more limited scale in 2016 among military personnel stationed abroad or outside of the state. But the party also planned for satellite caucuses as well as a means of accommodating those with conflicts with the exact timing of the caucuses.

But both of those efforts were targeted pretty narrowly and had only a small impact on the overall delegate allocation. The military tele-caucuses only affected the allocation of two state convention delegates while the satellite caucuses allocated three state convention delegates. Those were state convention delegates that had some say among the nearly 1300 state convention delegates in the ultimate allocation of the 15 statewide delegates (at-large and PLEO).

The questions that arise from that are fairly obvious:
1. Will the tele-caucuses be scaled up to affect the allocation of delegates at the county or state level in some way? If the expectation is that turnout will rise significantly over this ease of participation, then that has to be reflected in the impact it has on delegate allocation in some way.

2. Can the tele-caucuses be scaled up from the trial run in 2016? Yes, there was a trial run, but opening it up more would mean the logistics increase by an order of magnitude.

The first of those has a rules-based answer whose blank has not yet been filled by the Iowa Democratic Party. But the second is more of a leap of faith, or perhaps a trial by fire that can have rules crafted to address the front side, but reveal shortcomings under scrutiny on the back end.

First thing's first, however: let's see what Iowa Democrat specifically devise and then attempt to divine the potential impact.

Elsewhere in the invisible primary...

1. Harris got a lot of bucks for the bang out of her presidential rollout.

2. Inslee was allowed into New Hampshire after all, and his timetable for a decision has shrunk.

3. Draft Beto has stretched into the Granite state now.

Has FHQ missed something you feel should be included? Drop us a line or a comment and we'll make room for it.

No comments: