Potential caucus voters cast shadows on an Iowa state flag in Clive, Iowa January 2, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Mickey Davis is a smart, politically engaged progressive Iowan with lots of opinions about the presidential race.
And, like a lot of Iowa progressives, he will be caucusing on Tuesday night.
“Of course, I’ll caucus,” says Davis, as he pauses in a Des Moines coffee shop. Flashing his forearm tattoo of a map of the Hawkeye state, he explains, “We’re Iowans. We caucus.”
But what is the point of progressives caucusing on Tuesday?
Actually, there are a lot of points to be made, even if most of the media is missing them.The Republicans who are competing to be the candidate of the 1 Percent will get 99 Percent of the media attention that is devoted to the Iowa caucuses. But some of the most exciting activity with regard to the caucuses is not on the right, it’s on the left.
Iowa progressives are organizing on a variety of fronts to raise issues, upset expectations and challenge the Republican and Democratic game plans for Tuesday night.
Both the Republican and the Democratic parties will begin their delegate selection processes in Iowa, although the two party caucuses do not operate according to the same rules. The Republicans hold a straw poll that will get most of the attention once the results are in Tuesday night, especially if a surging Rick Santorum elbows his way into a first- or second-place finish. The Democrats hold more traditional “town-meeting” style caucuses, and in many cases they may be little more than groundwork-laying events for President Obama’s re-election campaigns. But that will not be the case at every Democratic caucus, just as there will be surprises at GOP gatherings.
The caucuses of the two parties will see interventions by progressives in the form of calls for the endorsement of anti-corporate initiatives, votes for uncommitted slates that have been organized to protest politics as usual, send-them-a-message votes for outlier contenders (particularly Ron Paul) or protests.
Here are six interventions that are worth watching:
1. Using Democratic and Republican Caucuses to Move to Amend
Iowa activists associated with the Move to Amend campaign and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom have been urging Democratic and Republican caucus goers to endorse resolutions calling for the amendment of the US Constitution to counter the US Supreme Court’s decision, in the Citizen’s United case, removing barriers to corporate spending on campaigns. Local governments across the country have been passing resolutions backing Move to Amend’s campaign, as have voters in referendums in Boulder, Colorado, and Madison and Dane County, Wisconsin. The resolutions vary in language but essentially resolve to work to “to defend democracy from the corrupting effects of undue corporate power by amending the United States Constitution to establish that: 1. Only human beings, not corporations, are endowed with constitutional rights, and 2. Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting political speech.”