A Canadian Primer to the 2012 US Primaries and Caucuses

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Contents page from A Canadian Primer to the 2012 US Primaries and Caucuses published by the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute


Who’s running for the Republicans and what are their platforms?
Where do they stand?
What’s the difference between a primary and a caucus?
Is the process starting earlier than usual?
Are the Iowa caucuses (January 3) important?
What about the Iowa Straw Poll held last August?
And the New Hampshire primary (January 10)?
Do the parties do their primary process differently?
Haven’t there been a lot more candidate debates?

Do the debates matter?
Are all of the Republican presidential candidates on every ballot?
Are the primaries just for presidential nominees?
How are delegates apportioned?
Does the primary winner ‘take all’?
Does President Obama have to go through the primary process?
When are the conventions?
What are the chances of a convention fight?

What about a third party candidate?
What about Senate and House races?
And elections for Governor?
Do incumbents have an advantage?

How much does this all cost?
What is the mood of America?
Has Canada been a factor in the Republican race?
Why does this matter to Canada?
Want to know more?
2012 Election Calendar

See columnist Barry Cooper’s ‘In U.S. politics, ideas come second to money’ in Calgary Herald, January 11 2012

The Republicans have begun in earnest to choose a candidate whom they hope can defeat President Barack Obama. The procedure is remarkably complex. Colin Robertson, the first advocacy secretary in the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., called it a “spaghetti bowl of competing interests and factions.”

The various bits of spaghetti include elected officials and bureaucrats, lobbyists and think-tanks, mainstream media, along with bloggers and tweeters, party organizations and factions within them, all operating in an atmosphere of partisan intensity. As Newt Gingrich told ABC News, politics in America “has become a really nasty, vicious, negative business and I think it’s disgusting.”…