Examine the Significance of the Caucus System in the Presidential Nomination Process

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Caucuses are party meetings by precinct, district, or county, where registered party members gather to discuss the candidates and to select delegates to the next round of party conventions. Causcuses are held in geographically large but thinly populated states, and whilst they aim to achieve the same goals as primaries. In the 2012 election, 12 states exclusively held caucuses and 36 states held only primaries. While caucuses have a long history in American politics and hold some advantages over primaries, some critics believe they are not as democratic. A merit of this process lay in the fact that whilst turnout is low, those who are committed to the result of the election do turn out. Hence, caucuses tend to favour more ideological candidates compared to voters in the alternative primary system. In 2008, Republican candidate Ron Paul who is on the libertarian wing of his party had some of his strongest showings in caucus states. For example, he won 21% in the North Dakota caucuses and 19% in Maine caucuses. This exemplifies their significance as it means that a candidate elected in a caucus state is essentially in line with the true ideology of the party and some of the party's most committed participants- who, pivotally invest a lot of time and money which is vital. In the same vein, this low turnout can also be seen to discredit the significance of the caucus process. Commonly low voter turnout at caucuses on how time consuming the process is for voters. Spitzer estimates that less than 10 percent of eligible voters actually participate in caucuses, with a couple of notable exceptions such as the Iowa caucus. It takes more time to meet and discuss potential candidates than it does to simply vote for one. This, as the experts say, leads to the remarkably low turnout at caucuses, in the 2012 Iowa caucus (one of the most heavily participated caucuses) of the
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