Iowa Youth Caucus teaches kids selection principles

Kids select candidates, delegates for Republicans, and Democrats

DES MOINES - Although the vast majority of the kids won't be able to vote in this election, or even the next one, there was a valuable lesson to be learned Thursday.        

There's a lot of work that goes into picking delegates and candidates for president.

Zach Wallace is very interested in the political process.            

 "(It’s) the people working behind it, how much hours are put into everything, how people get so riled up about it,” explained Wallace, an eighth grader at Goodrell Middle School.

On Thursday night, he was one of hundreds of kids taking part in kids' caucuses all around the state of Iowa, learning how both Republicans and Democrats pick their candidates.

"There's such a big difference,” said Trinity Grace, a sophomore at SE Polk High School.

Students could go from table to table, to find out more about the candidates before choosing their favorites, which they're learning about in school.

"I feel like it shouldn't be so extreme, so much that they have to start going for it a year, maybe two

 years ahead of it,” said Sydney Northway, a sophomore at SE Polk.

First, students got to hear pitches from each Republican candidate, before casting a vote.  

"Maybe Jindal was somebody they were backing,” said Gloria Mazza, executive director of the Polk County Republicans. “Now they have to go with their second."

Then, they moved on to the longer, Democratic process, where they could try to persuade their friends to join them.

"There's a lot more that goes into a caucus than just picking a candidate,” said Tamyra Harrison, executive director of the Polk County Democrats.

And after the frantic day of making selections, many are glad they won't have vote for real, until the next election.

"Kinda glad I don't get to do it, 'cause I feel kind of pressured to make the right choice,” said Molly Harvey, a sophomore at SE Polk.

In case you’re interested, across the state of Iowa, the kids picked Bernie Sanders from the Democrats, and Dr. Ben Carson from the Republican side. 


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