- OBJECT. The object of the game is to gather with your neighbors in an airless church basement in order to select party candidates for President of the United States, causing those candidates with the smallest percentage of votes to drop out of the race before any state primaries.
- PREPARATION. Each candidate spends countless dollars and time pressing the flesh with each of the state’s 2,982,085 residents.
- EQUIPMENT. Each game piece represents a candidate. To begin, hold the plastic candidate in one hand while tearing away its known ideals along the perforated edge, and then stick a rod up the candidate’s arse to maintain its position.
The colorful game board is divided into several Iowa state industries—pork production, corn production, egg production, and John Deere production—from Cedar Rapids to Council Bluffs. Unlike the more popular Primary Election Game, there are no ballots or voting machines.
The all-white game cards represent Iowa’s citizenry.
- PLAYERS. Ages 17 & up (assuming the player will be 18 by the National Election day), a U.S. Citizen, and a resident of Iowa within the caucus precinct. Each player must be registered with a party in order to vote, although the participant can register at the caucus, or change their party affiliation at the caucus.
- PLAY. The game begins January 3rd at 7 pm when caucus doors shut tight against latecomers. The Republicans and Democrats approach their caucus rules in different ways.
The Republican players write the name of their preferred candidate on a blank piece of paper that is then tabulated at each caucus precinct and transmitted to the media.
The Democratic players use a more complicated caucus process. Because they can. These players show support for a particular candidate by standing in a designated area. For thirty minutes, players move around the room trying to convince their neighbors to support their chosen candidate. After thirty minutes the supporters for each candidate are counted, and only the Viable Candidates (those receiving at least 15% of the attendee vote) can move forward to the next round.
Then the clock is set for an additional thirty minutes so the supporters of non-viable candidates can realign with a viable candidate.
In the final round a democratic head count is conducted and the results are reported to the state party, who in turn counts the number of apportioned delegates and reports the results to the media.
- GAME OVER. Play ceases when the candidates point their luxury buses toward New Hampshire. Iowa who?
This is Hillary’s Caucus Video Which Features Bill And Cheeseburgers And All Bossy Is Saying Is That If Bossy Were Married To Bill She Wouldn’t Make Him Stoop This Low. And another thing: if Bill Clinton would have quit the presidential race after the 1992 Iowa Caucus the same way our 2008 candidates are threatening to quit, we would have been stuck with eight years of President Tom Harkin.
This Is Barack O’Boyfriend’s Caucus Video. A Little On The Dry Side. No Cheeseburgers.
And This Is John Edwards’ Caucus Video Which Maybe Could Use A Cheeseburger Or Twozzzzzzzz.
Noelle saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 8:32 am
I said it before, and I’ll say it again: Democracy just doesn’t work. But thank you for taking the time to explain it!
mr.lootiatto saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 8:45 am
As many times as I’d asked my buds, Buddy,Barney and Checkers about this caucus fiasco, this is the first time I really get it.
THANK YOU BOSSY.
The Domestic Goddess saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 8:47 am
I still don’t understand why the frigg they go to Iowa. I mean, have you been to Iowa? I have. My sister lived there. Not exactly a representative sample of the rest of America, despite their efforts to say it is.
mr.lootiatto saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 8:51 am
and wait a minute, this ain’t no game.
This is a TUTORIAL if ever there was one.
Junebug saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 8:59 am
Thank you for that explanation and the videos. I enjoyed the cheeseburgers the most and then the cool music on Obama and Edwards was a sleeper. Quite outstanding performances. I think I’ll vote for Ron Paul. :d)
Alli ~Mrs. Fussypants saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 9:11 am
I hoped the supa-fab BOSSY would do something funny for the Iowa Caucas!
BOSSY does not disappoint! 😉
Love to ya.
vuboq saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 9:12 am
Huh? What? Is there an election?
Assertagirl saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 9:15 am
Bossy makes it much easier to understand American politics. Thank you Bossy!
Momo Fali saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 9:29 am
Bill, cheeseburgers AND one of Bossy’s gays! I’m so voting for whoever made that video. Can I do that?
Miss Britt saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 9:38 am
HEY! Wait! Iowa’s citizenry isn’t all white!
Just the ones who vote.
Strizz saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 9:53 am
If Bossy was married to Bill C. that shit would be *HILARIOUS.
All Adither saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 10:00 am
They should all wear i am bossy shirts for their videos.
RuthWells saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 10:01 am
Lord, how you slay me.
(I will be huddling under the covers until it’s all over. Politics, bleh.)
PunditMom saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 10:06 am
My thoughts exactly about Harkin, Clinton and Iowa! Not that Tom Harkin isn’t a good guy, you know.
Bossy, I’m calling this one for Edwards (you know I’m biased!)
Now I realize what I should have asked for for Christmas — a sense of humor like yours!
flutter saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 10:10 am
“I said it before, and I’ll say it again: Democracy just doesn’t work. But thank you for taking the time to explain it!”
heh… I suppose if we lived in a democracy that would be true, but since we live in a republic…well it’s still kinda true. But whatever!
meleah rebeccah saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 10:21 am
“tearing away its known ideals along the perforated edge…”
HA HA HA HA HA …..
Meleah thinks BOSSY is VERY Funny.
tongue in cheek saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 10:28 am
If Bush could run again for President I am sure he would fool the people again into voting for him.
Do not pass go do not collect $200….
heart shaped hedges saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 11:05 am
Super funny and clever bossy!
I worked for an (unnamed, because you probably hate him) candidate om 1992, and went to Iowa to “stump” for the week of the caucuses…such fun memories, really….it’s exciting watching this whole thing go down….
but, yeah, not so fair really about how it weeds people out, based on one, unrepresentative state.
Cant wait to go see the family tree, looks like theirs a new babe in the mix.
heart shaped hedges saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 11:06 am
THERE IS a new babe in the mix…geesh.
Mrs. G. saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 11:11 am
Bossy makes me proud to be an American.
Julie Pippert saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 11:23 am
Hands down the BEST tackling of this topic.
And please tell me I’m not the only one who find the euphemism for handshakes so naughty.
I think I’ll chuckle all day about the Equipment description.
Howard saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 11:24 am
No offense, but I’m still bored. Can we play Don’t Wake Daddy instead?
Dara saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 11:44 am
“…tearing away its known ideals along the perforated edge, and then stick a rod up the candidate’s arse to maintain its position.”
Practically perfect in every way.
Well stated, bossy.
Meh…are you freaking kidding me? Isn’t the U. S. of A. supposed to be a super-duper power? And yet we ( and by we, I really mean THEM ) decide our political future with a ho-down in effing IOWA.
Dawn saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 11:47 am
You are awesome. I love understanding stuff.
sue saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 11:52 am
C’mon guys, why can’t Iowa decide an election? Why are they so different from Florida?
Prof. J. saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 11:58 am
Good job explaining the caucus process, Bossy. I was trying to do that just the other day with a friend of mine. I’m going to send her to your blog for edification.
we_be_toys saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:13 pm
God, I love you, Bossy! That was not only highly informative, but also greatly entertaining – Hillary needs you to run her campaign, because who can resist Bossy?!
The Mom Bomb saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:27 pm
I had no flippin’ idea the Dems had you physically “go to the corner” for your candidate. It’s so West Side Story. Does each candidate’s supporters wear matching jackets? Do they rumble? My gosh, think of the sheer peer pressure if your boss or your entire neighborhood is in a different corner.
My eyes have been opened Bossy, and I have you to thank.
dgm saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:29 pm
Did anyone else also get a little scared when they saw that the title of Obama’s video clip was “This is What a Movement Looks Like”? I have two kids and a cat. I know all too well what a movement looks like.
And it’s not pretty.
birdgal saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:37 pm
Ha, ha, ha, HA! Democracy makes me laugh sometimes. But seriously, this is probably the best explanation I’ve heard of that anachronistic beast called a ‘caucus’ (I hear it’s great in pies).
And, not to be nit-picky or anything (oh, who am I kidding, I nit-pick BECAUSE I CAN), but I think Bossy means the 1992 caucus in reference to Bill Clinton quitting the race, not the 2002 caucus (shit, did we have a national election that year? crap!).
magpie saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:40 pm
I am so glad that you cleared all of that up.
andrea saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:41 pm
The Democratic players definitely have more fun and strategy than the Republicans. I bet they drink good wine too!
birdgal saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:43 pm
Oh, and one other thing: I’m not a Clinton supporter, but the first few moments of her caucus video are absolutely priceless (go watch!). I especially like Hillary singing and the fact that one of the ‘steps’ in caucusing is circling the date on the calendar so you don’t forget!
Foolery saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:44 pm
God, I want a cheeseburger.
Wendy saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:45 pm
So funny! Had to forward it on to my Iowa blogger friend at Living in Small Sizes.
Raz saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:47 pm
And I thought we British had some strange voting procedures!
Despite the fact that I am a) too young and b) of the wrong nationality, for this alone I want to be involved in the electoral process in the USA.
Manic Mommy saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:56 pm
“These players show support for a particular candidate by standing in a designated area.”
Do they do it this way because Iowans can’t read and write?
Red Rover, Red Rover. Send Hillary Clinton right over.
Oh, The Joys saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 12:59 pm
I think this calls for a BOSSY and Pundit Mom political follow up duo post… what do you say?
Raz saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 1:06 pm
I suppose calm and collected would be nicer, but it’s never going to happen, is it? Madly panicking is the way forward!
Say What? saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 1:14 pm
Thank you Ms. Bossy! I really never understood the Caucus Procedure, and now that I do, I need someone to explain to me: why the hell do we do this? Put everyone in a church basement, play some music and stop when the music stops? Good Grief!
Ahh, fun and games – I truly hate that it takes a year and a half to elect a new president.
I think it was Ms. Junebug above who said “I think I will vote for Ron Paul” in my twisted mind I read it as “I think I will vote for RU PAUL” and I sort of agreed with her. Sorry Ms. Junebug.
annie saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 1:19 pm
“The all-white game cards represent Iowa’s citizenry”
Ain’t that the truth, I wondered if I was the only one who noticed.
Christine saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 2:14 pm
I canNOT believe how much attention is given to this relic of the pre-telephone days, let alone pre-TV, and pre-internet.
Thanks for pointing out it’s asininity. Bossy awesome.
ali saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 2:21 pm
hearing the word caucus makes me giggle. it that bad?
The Great Getzby saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 2:52 pm
Also available, of course, is the Campaign 2008 Chutes and Ladders Edition!
Ladders of celebrity endorsements, sexy positions, evangelical über-macht formations; chutes of sex scandals, drug usage, missing lapel pins and the onset of jowls; wildcards of the Internet and an antiquated plurality-based democratic system?!?
it’s the trippiest thing since acid.
Junebug saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 3:08 pm
Say What? What’d you talkin’ ’bout? 😀
Sandie saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 3:10 pm
That was great, Bossy! I’ve just been introduced to your blog by my friend and it’s a great read and experience. You do one of the best blogs I’ve seen and read in a long time!
I can honestly say that I understand the causus process better now.
Loved the picture of Biden in the guillotine. It’s a pity because I honestly like him and think he has good ideas but he’ll be out as of tomorrow.
Ahna saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 3:37 pm
Love the board game. That’s how it really feels, doesn’t it. One big fat game – the person with the most people in his/her corner wins. Incredible.
Those clips were priceless. Could Edwards be any drier? Sure makes me wonder what he’d be like as a leader – a little limp in his execution. Barack was wise to show the crowds that came out to see him in the various cities. Bill, he should just stay out of Hillary’s press. She can’t run on his coat tails any longer.
Jeez – why don’t we just toss a coin to see what all the white farmers in the midwest think about our candidates this time around. It might have the same effect… good grief.
David saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 3:45 pm
Don’t be dissing my boy Edwards.
Suzi saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 3:49 pm
Iowa is first because a long time ago Iowa said I am first and everyone else said OK. Then New Hampshire said I am second and everyone else said OK. Then everyone else wanted to play but they couldn’t agree who was next. They kept changing the rules. But Iowa is still first and New Hampshire is still second. It is all the rest who can’t decide, although they keep shoving each other trying to get to the front of the line behind Iowa and NH.
MinivanBohemian saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 3:49 pm
Nice for Hillary to show her warmer side. (Love the singing!) I guess Bill will be paying penance for the whole Monica thing until he dies. At least he gets to enjoy a tasty whopper while whoring himself for votes. He is still super sexy! when will I ever stop fantasizing that I am his intern?
Grandma J saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 4:00 pm
The burger Bill Clinton is eating….is that a whopper??
qt saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 4:04 pm
kiersten saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 4:33 pm
As a participant in the caucus, I admit it is totally grassroots, but that is what makes it even better.
mr.lootiatto saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 5:25 pm
The Chutes and Ladders…is that available on Amazon?
I’m off to hibernate in the corner till my man Barack wins. I won’t work myself up to a hot spot tho, any dem in this race will be ok.
Robin saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 5:50 pm
Thanks for that explanation – it’s all much clearer to me now. Seriously. Kind of like how the Simpson’s TreeHouse of Horror helped me understand Edgar Allen Poe’s Raven.
Brando saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 5:50 pm
Bossy, you not only made that hilarious, in some weird way you made it sound less nuts. Maybe if we introduced this fun party game to Iraq we’d have peace soon!
Whit saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 5:57 pm
Is there an election coming up? I hadn’t noticed.
Surcie saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 5:58 pm
As your site was loading, I was thinking, “I bet she has a really good explanation of the caucus process today.” And ta-da! The whole thing still sounds wackadoodle to me, but you’ve given me a better understanding of what the heck they’re doing out there.
sparx saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 6:00 pm
You know, I thought you were kidding until I read all your comments. I mean… seriously. Standing in corners? Really? Er… I think I need a lie down. Mind you, over here we have a bunch of antiquated old men in fancy dress who can rule on national issues simply because generations ago one of their ancestors made nicey nicey with the king. Or Queen. Or something. Oh bollocks to the lot of it. Anyone for a pastry?
Robin saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 6:04 pm
Okay, so I just watched all three videos.
Hillary’s was pretty funny, which it needs to be, considering her image.
John Edwards’ was just what I expected. He mentioned his wife a lot (not a sympathy ploy in my opinion – he really does love her that much), and he sought to educate people. It’s his big thing. That and social justice.
And now I understand your nickname for Obama. His video made me want to run out and vote for him. Or marry him.
Mrs. Davis saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 6:31 pm
This is so much more entertaining than CNN. Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer should take lessons from you!
KJ saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 7:32 pm
I was born and raised in Iowa, and I am currently a senior at Drake University, a large private university here in Des Moines, Iowa.
I am absolutely appalled by the way some of you put down the citizens of Iowa. We are not all hick farmers chewing straw and raising hogs. This state features some of the most intelligent, cultured, and diverse minds in this nation. Certainly, there are the usual bland Starbucks and Best Buy’s lining the streets, but there are also amazing local restaurants and stores, and a thriving music scene. Iowans are caring people, politically passionate, and a wee bit tired of hearing condescending remarks from people who have never even been here.
Harris saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 7:40 pm
Cheeseburgers or non, anyone beats Bush.
Kelly saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 8:23 pm
I think the only thing that would make that parlor game anymore fun would be a few cosmos!! woo hoo!!! is a caucus like an honorary induction to a society of sorts??? tee hee…
BOSSY saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 8:58 pm
KJ — sorry about what maybe came off as Iowa rage, we are lovers, not haters: it’s the process in question, not the place.
Dori saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 9:07 pm
This is my first comment, but I’ve been a fan for a long time. (two weeks)
This entry was brilliant. I wish I had one ounce of your creativity, talent and humor.
Heather saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 10:37 pm
Thanks for sticking up for Iowa KJ, I think you hit it spot on.
Just because the caucus process is redonkulous, it doesn’t mean the people who participate are stupid, backwards or can’t read. We’re just following the rules. I do wonder WHY we do it that way…
I just came back from it, and it IS rather like a silly game, running around in corners and such. woof. So glad it’s over and we can get a little break from the barrage of commercials, phone calls and junk mail!
Anastasia Beaverhausen saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 11:04 pm
Why am I more hopeful about the election this year? Because my husband and I have spawned three times and the oldest two (13 months apart) will be eligible to vote in their very first Presidential election. And both of these kids…are Democrats. Yay for our side.
Dorothy Stahlnecker saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 11:31 pm
This was great, did you trademark the game?
Dorothy from grammology
remember to call gram
BOSSY saysJanuary 3, 2008 at 11:48 pm
Bossy just now figured out what’s been bothering her — it’s not even the process in question, just the media coverage of the process.
prairiewarbler saysJanuary 4, 2008 at 1:27 am
Still high from participating in my Iowa caucus…not in a church basement without air but a large high school cafeteria and with precinct neighbors who can read and write.
Amazingly, we totally reflected the final outcome. First place, with 218 votes, Barack Obama and tied for second place, Hillary and John Edwards, with 108 votes each. Biden and Richardson were not viable and passionate speeches by the top three were made to entice their supporters to join their groups. Each group waved signs, offered sandwiches, shouted entreaties and when someone responded by joining a group, raucus applause and hugs. Although we were divided by our support for individual candidates, we gave us all huge applause for coming out on a bitter cold night to support the party. Huge applause for participating in a unique but democratic process. Yea us. Now it is over. In Iowa you can meet with any candidate, free, up close, can ask any question and get an answer straight out. This goes on for over a year. We have been doing this for years. We know the issues. We are good at it. It makes candidates better. It forces them to talk one on one with real people. Some of you might think we are idiots, but the candidates know better. They treat us with respect and really work it. So, God speed to all the candidates who made it through this cycle and welcome to the maelstom other states whose primaries are coming up. (New Hampshire, you are used to it!) We vetted first. The silence we will now feel will be welcome but also a teeny bit missed. You all must agree that 2008 is one of the most important elections ever for our country. Luckily, Iowans don’t say, ‘politics, meh”
P.S. Bossy, your game is really funny!!!
prairiewarbler saysJanuary 4, 2008 at 1:31 am
PPS Thanks, KJ!!!
heart shaped hedges saysJanuary 4, 2008 at 1:52 am
hey, the “all white playing cards” voted for some color!
I will say, that while the whole process may seem crazy, nobody casts a vote totally ignorant (at least not theoretically).
They go, listen to speeches, haggle it out in their precinct, listening to the opinions and reasons of others…..
In MY state (CA) people vote, sometimes, based on liking the color of someone’s SIGN, without knowing one thing about that person’s platform. I have met many people who tell me, “Im voting for so-and-so” but dont know why, or have wrong info about them. I wish people had to at least hear a speech or be part of a wacky process before being able to cast their vote.
but, that’s just me…..your lone Republican reader 😉
EnnaVic saysJanuary 4, 2008 at 2:15 am
Wow – that caucusing system is quite bizarre. I had no idea how it worked (not being in the US) – and now I understand it, it just seems a little primitive.
Mind you not many people (including Kiwis) understand our MMP electoral system so I can’t talk from a position of superiority *chuckle*
Mr Farty saysJanuary 4, 2008 at 3:31 am
Thank you so much for clearing that up, I almost wished I lived in the US of A so that I could vote there.
Could BOSSY please explain next what hummus is?
Audubon Ron saysJanuary 4, 2008 at 10:56 am
You are funny.
kim saysJanuary 4, 2008 at 11:10 am
Tired of people who preach tolerance and inclusiveness – then resort to name-calling and embrace close-minded ignorance.
I am from Iowa. I know no farmers, and we are among the most educated in the country. I live in a very diverse area, hear several different languages daily and work among talented, cultured and compassionate people. The media has their agenda, too….wake up and realize that. Open your minds~
Be careful about the “reading and writing” comments ~ if you were paying attention, it is only the Democrats who have to herd in the corner………….
joeinvegas saysJanuary 4, 2008 at 11:38 am
Ours are on the 19th! I am so looking forward to next December (when it’s all over)
Criquette saysJanuary 4, 2008 at 9:49 pm
Your tutorials (even disguised as “games”) are one of my favorite Bossy features! I think the Iowa caucus procedure is totally bizarre but it at least makes the Democrat Iowhites a little more interesting.
Congrats on your boyfriend’s win – I’d love to see Bossy as the First Girlfriend of our country.
Sonia saysJanuary 4, 2008 at 11:47 pm
As a Libertarian, I didn’t care which caucus I went to but opted for the Democratic caucus at the urging of my blog readers for entertainment value alone.
It’s like “Red Rover” for liberals. Very fun, and on paper seems confusing but the process really wasn’t that challenging to grasp. I had a blast and wish I’d had travel martinis along with.
Even as an Iowan, I think the caucus and primary system is horribly outdated and needs to go. Oh, and campaign fundraising limits would be good.