Past and present Democratic caucuses

May 4, 2012

Michigan Democrats hold their caucuses on Saturday May 5th. President Obama is expected to be confirmed as the democratic candidate.

Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry talks with Jennifer White about past and present Democratic caucuses.

"Years and years ago party leaders always picked the delegates in one form of a caucus or another. The state experimented with primaries starting in the progressive era and then they canceled it in the Great Depression probably because of money. And then they started using primaries again in 1972, but this didn’t work out very well for the democrats after a while and so they decided to do a modified primary slash caucus system, and lurching around and changing the rules, it seems like every time," Lessenberry says.

He says the process can be confusing for voters and other states have had them consistent for decades. "The Democrats sometimes have had caucuses in February and sometimes in March and this year it’s on May the 5th. And sometimes they’ve had a primary in January. And locations for the caucus sites are all over the place, they are not your regular polling booth….I don’t know how the average person would even know how to find one of these even if they wanted to vote in them."