Don’t Expect Privacy At The Iowa Caucuses

I am happy to live in Iowa. I’ve enjoyed getting to see the presidential hopefuls in the state for the past 1+ years. I always vote during presidential elections, but I’ve never yet declared a party; I really don’t want to be listed in who knows how many places under such a label. However, this year I would really like to participate in the Iowa caucus.

Unlike the actual vote for president that takes place in November, the Iowa caucus is a very public process. The republican party caucus, which uses ballots to choose the candidates, does not look to be quite as open as the democrat party caucus, in which the participants quite visibly and openly not only indicate their favorite candidate by standing within the group for their candidate of choice, but also have the opportunity to speak out for or against the individual candidates.
I’m intrigued by the personal interaction involved with the caucuses. I’d like to see first-hand what the experience is like. I could go as just an observer, but I think it would be much more interesting to actually be part of the process.
I’d like to be able to ask questions…
“How do you know the information [name here] claims is true?”
“What about…?”
“Does it concern you that [name here] said…?”
With the ability to actually find film of the candidates making statements, and documents showing their decisions, votes, and so on, it would be interesting to take this information to the caucus and use it to promote thoughtful discussion.
And, because of the public nature of the caucuses, it is likely the proceedings will be recorded in one way or another by the press, by observers sitting in, or by the caucus participates themselves.
Will folks making recordings of some kind let the others in the room know? Unless they are the press, probably not. Will the information recorded be able to be taken out of context. Of course! Which makes the caucuses even that more compelling; will the participants be more guarded in what they say on behalf of their chosen candidate? I imagine not.
I did a quick check on YouTube just to see if there were any clips there from the 2004 caucuses…
I found a lot of clips from the 2004 presidential stumping…many of the “Dean Scream“…but not any from the actual caucus activities themselves. But, I didn’t that much time looking, so there may be some out there.
Considering news organizations, such as CNN, are actively encouraging people to submit videos from their caucus experiences, I imagine there will be a glut of videos to view this year of the caucus site activities.
So, if people don’t want everyone in the world knowing their political viewpoints and seeing them talking about them, then they may avoid the caucuses. Probably not this year, but next time after they see the impacts of having their statements or physical actions recorded and posted for the world to see. Most caucus goers this year are probably not thinking much about the possibility of being recorded.
Will this YouTube news mentality and the forever-more recorded proceedings of the caucuses hurt the effectiveness caucus process? Time will tell.

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