Primaries and caucuses explained, just in time

Many people have been asking very good questions about the Republican Primaries, which start incredibly early this time ‘round.  Sadly, I don’t have any good answers – but I can give a few really lousy ones.

Q: Why are they called “Primaries”?
A: It’s what comes first, just like “Primary School”. That’s why they often behave like 6 year olds.

Q: What is the difference between a Caucus and a Primary?
A: In a Primary, you show up and vote. In a Caucus, you go to an elementary school and after the person in the front reads some boring stuff you do the Hokey-Pokey. It really is a lot like being a 6 year old.

Q: Why are the polls so flighty, with one candidate on top and then another?
A: You have to understand the technical aspects of polling. All of this involves calling people at random, which means that they only people who answer are either very old, very lonely, or extremely eager to vent their opinion. In a normal election where turnout is around 6%, this is a very representative sample. This year normal people might show up who have caller ID and something like a real life. The pollsters are struggling to keep up.

Q: Is the lead really changing from one week to the next?
A: Yes, everyone gets to be “Line Leader” for a day.  It really is 1st Grade.

Q:  So if Rick Santorum happens to be ahead on the right week ….
A: Yes, even Rick Santorum.
Q:  Are you kidding?
A: No Child Left Behind.

Q: How many chances in life does Newt Gingrich get before people realize he has some pretty serious personality flaws?
A: How many chances did Nixon get?

Q: How bad do the Republicans want to beat Obama?
A: The Republicans are like athletes, and Obama is the nerdy kid with big ears.  Any number of movies will explain it from there.

Q: I’d like to be a teevee pundit. How does one get that gig?
A: You should have no marketable talents at all, aside from the ability to state the obvious over and over, ie, “Two plus two is four, it’s exactly four, and that’s what you get when you add two and two. Four.” You can practice at home if you’d like.

Q: Why isn’t there a national primary?
A: Why isn’t there a College Football playoff system?

Q: Ron Paul 2012!
A: That’s not in the form of a question.
Q: So?
A: Good point.

Q: Why don’t the Republicans just do what we know they’ll do eventually and just give it to Romney?
A: Give them time.  Fox has to bump its ratings up with about a billion more “debates”.

Q: Is this any way to elect a President?
A: Yes, it is, technically, “a way”. Any other way would not be half the fodder for jokes.

Our primary commenting system uses Facebook logins. If you wish to comment without having a Facebook account, please create an account on this site and log in first. If you are already a registered user, just scroll up to the log in box in the right hand column and log in.

Erik Hare's picture
Erik Hare

Copyright 2013 by Erik Hare. All rights reserved.