So the Iowa caucus’s are now done, with Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama being the winners.
The Iowa caucus are the first step in the process of choosing the presidential nominee’s for each of the 2 national parties here in the USA. It is not a ballot election but more of a number of gatherings where each gathering debates the merits of each candidate and eventually forming a quorum and choosing a candidate. It is a very unique process, something that many here in the US do not fully understand.
I found this good website explaining the caucus process.
I still struggle with the whole primary system. It is not an official part of the presidential process, but just helps the local party officials decide who to nominate when they send their delegates to the national conventions of each party.
Like the presidential popular vote, there is no legal obligation for the delegates to vote for the winner of the caucus or presidential primary. The national convention delegates actually choose the nominee, the primary popular votes and caucus just suggest to them which way to vote (although they always follow the popular vote). In the same way the President of the US is elected by the Electoral College’s of each state, NOT by the popular vote. The popular vote just suggests which way to vote.
In the land that formed such a strict constitution, it always strikes me as odd that such unwritten rules and gentlemen’s agreements are actually a part of the process of electing the next President.