EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — As we all know, Iowa gets first swing at choosing the presidential candidate. But how?

They’re called the Iowa Caucuses and in this Virtually Rick, we go over what they are and how they work.



It’s a meeting of local members of a political party who get together to choose a candidate. And it’s kind of an old-fashioned affair with people physically using their bodies as a vote, so you have to turn up to be there. It's tricky for those who are old, working or sick. But that’s the deal.  

Then when you’re in the room together you form groups that represent your candidate. Each group must have at least 15 percent of the people in the room or else that candidate won’t be viable. Once you hit 15 percent, you’re safe, but if your group doesn't, there’s a couple of rounds in which you can woo other smaller, unviable groups to join yours to make one that hits 15 percent or you can join other candidates who’ve already made it to make their group even bigger.

When those alignment rounds are over that’s it. The bodies, their votes (each has a physical piece of paper) are officially registered. 


Through the miracle of math, the state party uses a formula to figure out how many “state delegate equivalents” (as they’re called) each candidate gets from each caucus and then adds them up.

Simply put, the candidate with the most of those gets the most delegates to the Democratic National Convention—where the final decision is made for who runs for the top job at the White House.

The same is true for the Republicans, but it looks fairly certain that President Donald Trump will be nominated again unless something pretty crazy happens.  


Well, have you ever heard of the underdogs Presidents Carter and Obama?   

The reason Iowa gets the first shot is historical and what happens there certainly packs a bigger punch than the size of its population which is less than 10 percent of California. But it might just be the power house approval to put one of this year’s candidates over the top and on the road to Washington.

So whatever you think, you’ve still got to have more than one eye on this raucous caucus!