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What Is A Caucus?

Question: What is meant by a political Caucus?

Answer: In politics and government, a caucus is the meeting of members of a political party, or a faction of the party, to make decisions that are binding to the party, coordinate the actions of it's members, or to nominate candidates for various offices.

  • Congressional nominating caucuses and legislative caucuses were influential meetings of congressman in early American History. Caucuses were held to decide the party's nominee for the presidency, party platforms, and political solutions for debatable issues within the party.
  • Caucuses are increasingly becoming an important part of the election of presidents.
  • At the highest levels of the government, Democrat and Republican members of Congress and the Senate arrange themselves into caucuses.
  • The Congressional Black Caucus is one of the most well known and influential caucuses in the legislature. It is made up of African-American members of Congress who lend their voices, and their votes, as a group to challenges facing their constituents.
  • The Congressional Hispanic Caucus takes on important issues that affect Hispanics in the United States, especially in terms of immigrants, both legal and illegal. The Hispanic population has grown at a substantial rate over the past twenty years and continues to grow.
  • A bipartisan element of Congress is The Congressional Internet Caucus which promotes the growth, advancement, and the use of the internet.

There are caucuses held in certain states, such as Iowa, that are used as an important barometers to determine the popularity or the electability of certain presidential candidates.

The Iowa caucus, which is held early in the campaign for the presidency, is a test for presidential candidates and it gives the rest of the country an early look at them.

It is thought that if candidates do well in the Iowa caucus, they may go on to do well across the country, but that may not always hold true. Some candidates do very well in caucuses early in the election process, but falter in the end.

In other organizations such as clubs, trade unions, and businesses, caucuses may be held to choose candidates for leadership positions and to formulate and enact official company policies.

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