Friday, January 4, 2008


Author and Busted Halo columnist Christine Whelan, a New Yorker who recently moved to Iowa, writes humorously and insightfully about her Iowa caucus experience. If you're like me and don't know what exactly goes on in these much ballyhooed political events, check out Christine's article.

Public voting makes me uncomfortable. I like the freedom to flap my left wing with my Democratic friends and my right wing with my Republican buddies. In previous elections I’ve been a people-pleaser: Once I figure out what side you’re on, I’ll discuss the pros and cons with you and never take a position myself.

But here in Iowa, you can’t do that. On caucus night, Iowans must first declare whether they are Republicans or Democrats, and sign in with their party. Then, Iowans physically stand with others who support their candidate. Privacy be damned: In this state, you vote with your feet, and everyone knows about it.

This encourages voters to get caught up in the groundswell of opinions on their block, in their neighborhood. If everyone on your street is voting for Mike Huckabee, and you’re voting for Ron Paul, people will know. Will they talk? And do you feel pressure to change your vote because of that peer pressure?

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