Millennics EP3 – Caucus v Primary

Episode 3 of Millennics discusses the differences between the primary system and the caucus system, a look at history to indicate the future primaries, and Trump bowing out of the next debate.

Host: Jonathan J. Cianfaglione (@jjcianfaglione via Twitter)
Presented by:
Support From: VIG & Associates
Photo Credits: Dave Granlund, Metrowest Daily News

Links to information from the podcast:
Caucus vs. Primary (
2008 Primary results

Show Notes:

Millennics, EP3 Caucus v. Primary, Jan 27th, 2016.

Hey Everybody, Welcome to Millennics, a podcast where we discuss policy, politics, and law from the viewpoint of Millennials.  I’m your host, Jonathan J. Cianfaglione, and today we’ll hit a few topics:

-What’s the difference between a caucus and a primary

-A look back in history to give us some predictions of what might happen this

primary season, and

-Trump bows out of the next debate, and what does this mean?

Primary v. Caucus

Out of those topics, let’s start with what’s the difference between a caucus and a primary, as this is a relatively important aspect.

A caucus is an event throughout the state, where voters gather and decide which candidate to support.  To that end, a caucus takes on the style of a town hall debate, where each group is allowed to argue their case to persuade voters to their side.  Generally speaking, caucus’s are limited to registered voters, and further limited to their party affiliation.  Only 10 states use the caucus system.

A primary on the other hand, takes the form of our regular voting system, where voters cast secret ballots.  Some primaries are open, and some primaries are closed. In the former, all registered voters can participate, and can choose the candidate of their liking.  In the latter, registered voters are limited to voting on only the candidates of which they affiliate with.  That is, if you are a registered republican in a closed primary, you can only vote for republican candidates.

So, what are some complications of a primary system, or a caucus system


-Closed Primary

Back to the Future

A Look at History to Foresee the Future

Moving to our second topic: history will provide a good portrait of what might happen this primary season.

The 2008 election, in the beginning, offered us a horse race between republican candidates: Santorum took Iowa, Romney took New Hampshire, and Gingrich took S. Carolina.  It was just all over the place, and we might see something like this happen this primary on the Republican side.  What usually happens, here, is one of these victories is a turning point for the candidate.  In the case of Romney, N.H was that turning point, and he went on to win 37 states.  The next closest candidate—Santorum—only carried 11 states.

In 1964, Barry Goldwater rose up out of the Republican party.  His strong conservative views, which were to the right of most conservative at the time, polarized the GOP, and, consequently, it polarized voters.  When this sort of polarization occurs, two things happen, generally simultaneously:

(1) the GOP Class—or wha you can say is the majority of the GOP—refuses to

vote, and

(2) it drives the other party’s voters to the polls

This is exactly what happened to Barry Goldwater.  Goldwater appealed to a new group of GOP folk at the time.  In so doing, he lost the majority of the GOP class b/c of their different views on conservatism.  When election came, that GOP class, which is the majority, chose not to vote.

In addition, Dems were so scared of Goldwater, it drove them to the polls to ensure his defeat.  Moreover, Dems collectively rose up, rallied behind one candidate—LBJ.  The result was a landslide victory for LBJ.

So you may be asking: “Does this matter, and, if so, why?”  Indeed, it does matter, and here is why: Trump and Cruz both pose this same threat to the GOP: they have fundamental differences that does not resonate with the GOP class, and Dems are deathly afraid of them.  The result is a similar result to the Goldwater situation, where the GOP class will likely abstain from voting if Trump or Cruz is the nominee, and Dems will drive to the polls to deliver defeat.

Trump Bows Out

Our final topic takes on game breaking news that Trump has bowed out of the next debate.  He cited the unfair” treatment he was given in a debate by Megyn Kelly. Megan Kelly was a moderator in that debate, and questions trump on some of hist stances toward women, including a controversial part in his book.  It seems Trump has taken this to heart—which he admitted is a fault of his in a “describe yourself session of the debate.”  I think there is more here than meets the eye.

First, Megyn Kelly did ask a pointed question, but a pointed question is to be expected in a debate.  If anything, Trump responded in a worse fashion stating: “she has blood coming out of her wherever.”  All I’m saying is, if this guy can’t take a pointed question from a reporter/moderator, how will he fare on the world stage.

Second, does bowing out play in Trump’s favor, or against him?  Obviously only time will tell, but I can see it working both ways.  The people who are really anti-establishment, may see this as yet just another move against the “norms” of Washington, and, thus, champion this play.  While, on the other hand, I can see voters considering this as being an elitist play, which would not fare well.  My prediction here, is that it is going to hurt DJ.

That’s going to wrap up this episode of Millennics.  Check back later this week for a discussion on wage stagnation.  I’m your host, Jonathan J. Cianfaglione, and don’t forget to find Millennics on iTunes, Soundcloud, and GooglePlay.  Millennics is presented by  Support for Millennics comes from VIG & Associates.