On Caucus Night, Full of Beans
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because it’s the purest example we have of democracy in action.
By Nick Fouriezos
By now the talking heads, strategists and lookie loos have all descended upon Iowa’s snow-tipped cornfields in search of a bit of magic. We don’t use the word “magic” ironically, or even lightly: Many believe that tonight’s night’s caucus is the purest remaining example of American democracy in action.
The run-up has been fun, manic, a bit nuts. As OZY’s crisscrossed the state these past two weeks, we’ve seen Bernie Sanders seek to capture a bit of Obama alchemy; Ted Cruz storm through frigid bars and barns to show he’s a man of the people; and Ben Carson attempt a comeback, simply by showing up and shaking hands – lots and lots of shaking hands. In Iowa City, we listened to pop-tart Demi Lovato croon away on behalf of her hoped-for Madam President, and wondered how far a surrogate strategy can get you. We also got to meet some of the surprising personalities behind the scenes, from the so-called Dr. Politics (a political scientist who combines authority, goofiness and a fatalism about this whole process) to a state campaign director who nearly got imprisoned in Egypt.
Back in Iowa City, we stopped by the Hamburg Inn to check out its “Coffee Bean Caucus,” wherein customers drop a bean into the jar of their special someone. If this college town decided today, Bernie would win by a landslide — by now the grey-haired socialist needs two jars for all his beans. On the Republican side, Donald Trump leads. Guess we’ll know soon enough just how predictive the coffee-bean caucus is.