Election 2016: Iowa Caucus

Get up and caucus! That's what Iowa residents have been hearing for weeks -- and after Monday's caucus, the first test of the 2016 presidential campaign is over. The republicans have their winner, but the democrats' results were so close it was hard to name a winner.

The Hawkeye state kicked off the first official vote of the 2016 election Monday night, but it seems like we've been hearing the word caucus for weeks. The word actually comes from a Native American word meaning, “a gathering of leaders”. So what actually happens at a caucus? Well, it's done a little differently depending on your political party, but we're going to show you how the democratic caucus works in Iowa.

In this example, voters at the precinct are picking their favorite U.S. president - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or Abraham Lincoln. So let the caucus begin!


  --REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
FIRST, CAUCUS GOERS GATHER IN A PUBLIC SPACE.
EACH CANDIDATE HAS A REPRESENTATIVE WHO SPEAKS ON THEIR BEHALF, TRYING TO SWAY UNDECIDED VOTERS.
OURS DON'T HAVE MOUTHS, BUT YOU GET THE POINT.
LOOKS LIKE THE SPEECHES ARE DONE.
NOW THE VOTERS ARE HEADED FOR THEIR candidates' CORNERS.
GEORGE WASHINGTON HAS THE MOST SUPPORT WITH seven PEOPLE.
BUT THE CAUCUS ISN'T OVER YET.
HERE COMES THE COMMUNITY DISCUSSION AND PERSUASION.
JEFFERSON'S SUPPORTERS ARE HEADED FOR THE WASHINGTON CORNER WITH CUPCAKES AND EVERY REASON THEY CAN IMAGINE FOR THEIR RIVAL'S SUPPORTERS TO JOIN WITH 'THEM.'
AND THEY'VE SUCCEEDED IN CONVINCING ONE WASHINGTON SUPPORTER TO MOVE OVER TO THE JEFFERSON CAMP!
THE LINCOLN SUPPORTERS DON'T HAVE EYES BUT THEY SEE AN OPPORTUNITY.   
THERE'S A REPRESENTATIVE HEADED FOR THE JEFFERSON CAMP.
AND HE'S ARMED WITH EVIDENCE OF LINCOLN'S ACHIEVEMENTS.
BUT NO, THE WASHINGTON SUPPORTER WHO DEFECTED IS GOING BACK TO THE FIRST PRESIDENT'S CORNER.
AND HE'S TAKING THE LINCOLN SUPPORTER WITH HIM!
SO THE TALLY IS NOW EIGHT FOR WASHINGTON, FOUR FOR JEFFERSON, AND THREE FOR LINCOLN.
DOES ANYONE WANT TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE.
NO?
THE CAUCUS IS OVER. GEORGE WASHINGTON WILL HAVE HIS CUPCAKE AND EAT IT TOO!
THEY DON'T HAVE MOUTHS BUT THEY'RE SMILING ANY WAY.
 

Teachers at a middle school in Iowa found a sweet way to teach their students how the unique political process works, with the help of cake and cookies. Cake represents the republican race and cookies represent the democrats. A group of students votes on what type of cake they would love to eat - and then another group does the same with cookies.
If one dessert team doesn't have ten people on their side, they can do one of three things: go somewhere else, persuade others to join...or give up on their favorite dessert.


After months of listening to the candidates, voters turned out in record numbers at caucus sites Monday night.

In the republican race, Texas Senator Ted Cruz won the majority of votes, while former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared victory on the democrat side just barely edging out Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. In fact, the race was still too close to officially call Tuesday morning, with officials saying it was the closest in Iowa democratic caucus history.

But how important is a win for a candidate? And what do the caucuses have to do with selecting a party's delegates? Chris Moody has the answers to these, and other caucus questions.


In that story, you heard the term straw poll. A straw poll is an unofficial vote commonly used to test the public's opinion of a candidate.

The candidates won't have much time to re-group. Next up for the white house hopefuls? The New Hampshire primary, which is this coming Tuesday - and where Ohio Governor John Kasich is thought to be one of the republican's leaders.

Instructional Links

Video: C-Span, The Iowa Caucuses on C-SPAN

http://www.c-span.org/video/?403821-1/2016-iowa-caucuses-cspan

Lesson Plan & Video: PBS LearningMedia, The History of the Iowa Caucuses

http://ideastream.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/iptv_caucusiowa_gallery/iptv_caucusiowa_gallery/

Website Article: Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government, Election of the President and Vice President: Primary Election

http://bensguide.gpo.gov/election-of-the-president-vice-president-primary-election

Website Article: Huffington Post, What Is A Caucus? How The Iowa Caucus Works

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/03/what-is-a-caucus-iowa-2012_n_1181069.html

Website Article: Congress for Kids, The Primary Election

http://www.congressforkids.net/Elections_primaryelection.htm

Website Article: InnovateUs, How did the Straw Poll Originate?

http://www.innovateus.net/innopedia/how-did-straw-poll-originate

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