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The Iowa Caucus on Campus

Students from the Bernie campaign rally at the Winnebago county caucus.

By Kelsey Peterson

On Feb. 3, 2020, Waldorf University hosted Winnebago county’s democratic and republican caucuses.

The Iowa Caucus is held every two years during midterm and presidential elections, and includes a gathering of politically active Iowans divided into different precincts. Within their precincts, participants are able to voice support for their candidate of choice.

While the caucus had a good turn out, not many Waldorf students were in attendance.

“More students need to voice their opinions,” Jasmine Riley, an intern for the Bernie Sanders campaign, said. “College students don’t understand just how much power their votes hold.”

Knowledge can pose a major barrier. Many students have the perception that caucusing is akin to voting. However, a caucus is more closely aligned to a gathering of likeminded people all rallying for their preferred candidate. If the candidate does not gain enough traction in a precinct, then they are not viable, and their supporters are free to use their voice to back another candidate.

“I was so confused with what was going on,” Noah Keolanui-Herman, a communications major at Waldorf, said. “I thought that I just went there to cast my vote and leave. I left after what felt like an eternity.”

“The one thing that surprised me is you have to talk and tell everyone why your candidate is the better choice,” he said.

Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg tied for first place on the democratic side of the Iowa Caucus, and incumbent Donald Trump swept the republican. The general presidential election will be on Nov. 3, 2020.