OPINION: Why do I caucus?

by Allie Karpurk, Special to the Simpsonian

As a politically engaged student at Simpson College, I am extremely excited to caucus on Feb. 1 for the first time.

I will be caucusing with the Democrats, even though I am usually registered as an independent, because my views don’t perfectly align with either party. However, my views on social issues tend to be more liberal, and since those issues are the main focus of this election, I have a preference for the Democratic candidates.

I am caucusing because I want to take advantage of the opportunity for my vote to count in the upcoming election.

This is the first option we have to help decide who our next president is, and this is something we can easily participate in. Many people believe that politics don’t impact their future and that one vote doesn’t have the ability to change the outcome of an election.

I disagree.

These hot button issues, such as gun control, health care, education, etc. will impact all of our lives – if not now, then within the next five years. If we all cast our votes for who we truly believe will be the best candidate for the presidency, we get a more accurate representation of what America wants in the polls.

Voter turnout is the lowest for our age group of 18- to 25-year-olds. If we aren’t showing up to vote, then how can we complain that nothing will ever change in our government system? The change starts with us.

Every vote counts.

I am not committed to caucus with any specific candidate.

Although there is a lot of pressure from the current presidential contenders to sign onto their campaign, it is not required to be able to caucus.

I like to have the ability to choose who I best see fit for the presidency and not feel pressured into voting for a specific candidate. As the elections go on, my views on candidates change considerably, and not having a commitment to a campaign makes it easier to follow your beliefs instead of a candidate.

Another reason why I am excited to caucus is because it is an opportunity that a limited number of states and territories have.

The majority of the United States has moved to the primary system where they cast their votes for the conventions, similarly to how they cast their presidential votes in November. But caucuses allow constituents to interact and openly show support for candidates at a specific time and place for their party.

Iowa’s caucuses are the first of all other states in the primary and caucus elections. We get the opportunity to cast our votes first and watch how they impact the rest of the nation. Since we are a swing state, Iowa is the place to be for politics.

We’ve had the opportunity to host nearly every candidate on our campus within the past year, which is something unique to Simpson.

I look forward to caucusing in just a few days and hope the rest of the Simpson community will join me in exercising their right to vote for the next president.