Caucus-goers, Assemble.


Liv Allen

by Liv Allen, Staff Reporter

Simpson College’s 2020 first mock caucus was held Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. in Black Box Theatre, with goals to educate Simpson students about the upcoming caucuses. 

A number of organizations collaborated to host this event, including The Culver Public Policy Center, Andrew Goodman Foundation, Campus Election Engagement Project, GOP of Warren County, Warren County Democrats, as well as both Simpson Democrats and Republicans. 

Seth Andersen, Director of the Culver Public Policy Center, gave a brief introduction before beginning the mock caucus process, emphasizing the importance of registering and participating in the Iowa Caucuses. 

Students were then introduced to the Republican caucusing process, where caucus-goers simply cast a ballot for their preferred candidate. 

The candidates were superheroes in this mock caucus. 

After Wonder Woman sealed the Republican vote—earning 20 of the 32 votes—representatives of the Warren County Democrats explained the much more complicated Democratic Caucus process.

Black Box was riddled with signs for each faux Democratic candidate, which were Batman, Captain America, Iron Man, The Black Panther and Captain Marvel. 

David Robinson, who represented the Black Panther, felt his role in Simpson’s mock caucus strengthened his political leadership.

“Advocating for a candidate who is fictional translates to advocating for one that is real,” he said. “It was a good way to get exposed to what I might see myself doing when leading or garnering votes for my chosen candidate.” 

Those caucusing for the Democratic Party must physically stand in the area representing their preferred candidate in a process called the alignment period. 

These preference groups must achieve a minimum number of people to be deemed “viable”—the viability threshold for Democratic caucuses is 15%.

If your chosen candidate’s group does not reach 15% viability during the first alignment period, you have the option to join another group, combine your candidate’s group with another group under the viability threshold or leave the convention.

After an animated period of rallying, the Black Panther had the most supporters and would earn the most state delegates for the Democratic National Convention.

Levi Lefebure, Simpson’s Andrew Goodman Foundation Ambassador and Co-Chair of Voter Engagement believes participating in the Iowa Caucus is an extremely important civic duty for our generation. 

“It’s up to us to make our voice heard. We have very large numbers, the issue oftentimes younger people choosing not to vote,” Lefebure said after the event. “If we actually voted in full we could decide the nominee.” 

Sophomore Elise Sturgeon also feels that the more college students should participate in the caucuses. 

“Our voices are incredibly impactful and powerful, there are a lot of issues pertaining to young people that won’t be heard by our political system unless we participate,” Sturgeon said. 

Lefebure thinks the mock caucus is particularly helpful for Simpson Students to become educated on the process, and may encourage them to become more active political agents of change.

“By doing this we teach the ropes of the process in its entirety, but we do something a lot less imposing by talking about superheroes,” he adds. “It’s still individuals with characteristics, but it’s far less intimidating.” 

For students who didn’t get the chance to attend this event and want to learn more about the caucusing process, Simpson will be holding another mock caucus on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. in Black Box.