Hey Ho Hey Ho These Caucuses Have To Go
Update: It appears that I may have been completely confused. Never mind. BillB wrote in comments that the numbers from Alaska refer to delegates to the state convention which will chose the delegates to the national convention. I do see the numbers under the heading “votes” on various sites, but I think that is a web site rigidity/error. Sorry for my silly post.
I have removed the old graphics which confused me. The one above is picking on RealClear politics from pure spite.
The low turnout at some Democratic caucuses in some of the further flung parts of the USA is really absurd. Each participant has an insanely gigantic weight in delegate selection. So far, the preferences of 399 caucus participants have been reported. is widely reported that Bernie Sanders is projected to win the Alaska Democratic Caucus. The vote totals They are choosing 16 delegates (of whom 9 have been chosen so far and are pledged to Sanders) . When all report, the ratio of voters to elected delegates will be more than 25 to 1, but it will be insanely low.
It will definitely not be a record.
In American Samoa 237 caucus participants assigned 11 delegates so less than 22 voters per delegate.
update III: This site claims
The South Pacific island chain held its caucus Tuesday.
Clinton won 73 percent of 223 votes cast to earn four of the six delegates at stake. Bernie Sanders picked up two delegates.
but I fear they might have been as confused as I recently was.
Now those 237 Samoans are not represented in Congress or the Electoral College, so I don’t mind how many delegates they elect. But it is silly to put the responsibility to express the opinions of a territory with over 58,000 inhabitants on the 237 who are willing to endure the boring hassle of caucusing.
(By the way the state of Alaska has 710,231 inhabitants 2 senators and one reprehensible representative (but at least it’s not Wyoming pop 586,107) while the non state of Washington DC has 672,228 inhabitants 0 Senators and 1 non voting representative. )
update: well they’ve finished tabulating the results. Turns out the 16 delegates were chosen by 439 voters so less than 27.5 voters per delegate. Alaska’s new motto is “More Alaskans than Samoans voted”.
Robert, you have a misunderstanding of how caucuses work. The caucus reported results are the number of in-state delegates to the state convention that are awarded to each candidate. It is not a tally of the popular vote.
In Alaska there are 40 caucus districts and together they choose 541 delegates for the in-state convention. There may be hundreds of voters in each caucus that select those delegates. Delegates are awarded proportionally at each caucus site. Generally the actual popular vote is never published — only the in-state delegates awarded for a total of 541.
Then the proportion of 541 in-state delegates for each candidate are used to divide up the 25 national delegates to the national convention.
So there were actually thousands of people participating in the Alaska caucuses but you only see the tally of the 541 in-state delegates they selected.
This is similar in many other state caucuses. Never rely on the vote tallies until you understand what those numbers actually represent. It may be the number of in-state delegates or it may be the actual popular vote.
Your statement about Alaska amounts to complaining that only 538 people get to vote for the President in the electoral college. That’s not really how it works.
Thanks for explaining. Sorry for the silly post.
Yes, the caucuses are complicated. And your larger point is correct. They are a silly way to run a primary election. The turnout tends to be low because you often have to stay around for a couple of hours to haggle out the divisions openly. They are not secret votes. So they tend to be dominated by a small number of highly motivated supporters.
Note that of the 14 states that Sanders has won, 10 of those are caucus states. Clinton has won 20 states but only 2 are caucus states. The Bernie Bros are kicking it in the caucuses.