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Friday, May 27, 2016



     So who are you caucusing with these days? The answer to that question seems to be of primary concern. But what is a caucus, and why are we so sad after one? I don't have too many opinions about politics, at least that I can share in mixed company. Instead I found myself curious about the actual nomination process.

     Most of the time, after all the primary elections are over, the delegates go to their party's convention, wear a bunch of silly-looking hats, hold up a sign with the name of their state on it and everybody goes home happy. There are a lot of balloons, more than at a "Kate Plus 8" birthday party. There are close-ups on the Jumbotron of fawning blonde attendees, rapt with attention during the speeches. This year at the Republican Convention, the delegates may arrive with a huge case of buyer's remorse.

     The 2016 Republican Convention may feature close-ups on the Jumbotron of men who feel disenfranchised, with that look on their face that asks, "Did you happen to notice what I did with my franchise???" Men who are wondering if their hands are big enough to be good Republicans.

     At their own convention, Democratic delegates will be thinking, "I really do NOT care for socialism, because the word itself makes it sound like I might have to invite people over and possibly clean the house." Regardless of your political affiliation, if you still have one after all this, there are things that you should know about the nomination process.

     A caucus differs from a primary election in that the process is an open debate held in person in each polling district of a state. During the Iowa Caucus neighbors in each precinct discuss the merits of their preferred candidates for 30 minutes and try to convince the others to endorse their choice. If after that time no merits are actually unearthed, they vote anyway. In some states, the delegates who attend the convention are bound to vote the way they did in the primaries or caucuses, and in others they are allowed to change their vote once they have had a chance to sober up. This approach would work less well in New York, where we do most of our caucusing with a two-by-four.

     There has been some talk of a "brokered convention," where no candidate finishes the primary process with a majority of delegates and the winner is decided by subsequent balloting. We used a broker when we sold our condo in Bedford Hills during the best "buyer's market" in decades. True enough, after paying off the bank and his fee, we were indeed broker than before.

     A "super delegate" is a Democratic party leader or state politician who is awarded an automatic seat at the convention and the privilege to vote for whatever candidate they wish, regardless of the choice their state is pledged to. A super delegate is so strong that he or she does not think to himself, "I wish I was from Iowa instead of Massachusetts, where the sign weighs a whole lot less."

     The process is confusing and fraught with political pitfalls. All I know is that at this moment, senior Trump campaign officials are hard at work trying to iron out their positions on tough issues to tackle if Hillary Clinton is their opponent in the general election. Namely, how will they broach the question of who's wife is hotter?

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