Why should students be involved in the caucus?

Political science teacher at the University of Reno Nevada, instructor Layne Hansen, explained the benefits of the caucus and why it is so important that students become involved. The caucus can be confusing and hard to follow. Where do you sign up? Why should I get educated about this and why is it important to get involved?

Many students stay away from the caucus because it is more convenient that way. However, this prevents us from learning about the candidates and making our opinion noted and voice heard within our state. Handsen was able to express his views on this topic and answer some questions that have been brewing from a student’s point of view.

The caucus can be overwhelming and students can lack interest in attending. Breaking the Nevada caucus down into important factors can be very beneficial to students. When first asked what the most important factors students should know about the Nevada caucus, Hansen focused on two examples: In the Iowa caucus there were six ties and they flipped a coin at each precinct in which Hillary won all six. In Nevada, there were seven ties and the top card was drawn seven out of seven times, which is very unlikely (less than one percent). He said, “One vote can make the difference, that one vote flips seven precincts.” Hansen emphasizes to his students how important it is to get out and go caucus and if they don’t like the way things are, to make a change by getting involved. He stated, “What I want to instill in my students is that what you do in politics matters and what happens in Washington does affect you eventually.” What happens in Washington affects the job market, and what we tax businesses, determining what opportunities will be available to us.

The process of signing up and attending the caucus is one that I had no idea about and after interviewing Hansen, it was more clear to me how this process works. The process is dictated by the political parties, however the major parties are very powerful, and whomever they nominate basically determines who is going to win. I was surprised at how easy it is to sign up. Hansen explained that both of the presidential parties have websites where you can type in your address and it will tell you where to go, including a map. Knowing how painless the process is, more students will be encouraged to sing up and get involved. Hansen further discussed how he has noticed a lot of angst amongst young people, and how there is a lack of deep information about the candidates. Hearing this as a student makes me want to learn everything about the candidates and what they are going to do since it will have such a big impact on my life.

The time and energy put into being involved in the caucus is worth it to you as a student. Hansen explained that Nevada is a purple state so there are similar levels of support among the Democratic and Republican Parties. He said, “Number one in the caucus, you have the opportunity to choose the candidate that best fits your values; that best fits what you want to reflect in your country.” At the second level where you actually go out and vote, is where you have the opportunity to affect the outcome. Let’s change our age group from being the least participatory in politics by becoming more involved!

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