Why your vote matters in the 2016 Colorado caucuses

Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick

Caucuses don’t necessarily determine winners or losers — but participation in them is vital in order to keep your preferred candidate in the race.

Caucuses and primaries can help determine which candidates still have a chance and which should drop out. Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley dropped out following the Iowa caucus, and Republican candidate Jeb Bush dropped out following the South Carolina primaries.


For the Democratic party, only two candidates remain, and although Bernie Sanders polls well against Republican candidates, the typical Sanders supporter does not vote.

In an interview with KKTV, Joshua Dunn, an associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, explained how vital winning Colorado’s caucus is for Sanders’ campaign.

“If he can’t win Colorado, it means he’s not going to have much of a chance in other states,” Dunn said.

According to Dunn, the Vermont senator has a better chance in a caucus than in a primary because the two-hour time of a caucus meeting is more likely to be attended by a Sanders voter, despite their general tendency to not show up for voting. 

For Clinton, a victory on Tuesday means a shorter race for the Democratic nomination, indicating that Sanders’ campaign will be no more than the “fringe campaign” it was made out to be a year ago.

Colorado caucus results have the potential to make implications about the future of both campaigns, either confirming Clinton’s momentum following her South Carolina landslide or proving Sanders’ has a fighting chance.

Caucuses can be frustrating, because their importance lies less with their results and more with the implications of their results. But as previously mentioned, theses implications can have serious consequences — like candidates dropping form the race completely.

Unfortunately, with the current system in place, caucuses demonstrate very specific demographics of voters: either those who can spare the time on a work day or those who are so fanatic that they manage to make themselves spare the time.

So, although the two-hour time suck and drive to the closest precinct location are not constructed with convenience for the average voter in mind, democracy only has a chance if average voters do their best to work the caucus into their schedules.

Collegian Reporter Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick can be reached online at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @TatianaSophiaPT.