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Caucusing

 

Disciplines > Politics > Caucusing

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Caucusing is the practice of voting in a political bloc, where a group of countries, groups or people who may vote independently get together and agree to vote together, even if in some votes parts of the bloc are not inclined to vote with the bloc.

Within the group, there may be significant discussion and disagreement before the external vote, where all members vote in the same way.

A group may decide on which items to vote as a caucus and which to allow individual voting. If no agreement can be agreed on caucus voting, then each is still independent and can vote as they please.

Caucusing may be obvious and open, so others know that the group are voting together. It may also be hidden and obscure, so no outsiders know that a decision has been made behind the scenes to vote in the same way.

Discussion

Many voting systems are made up of a powerful few and a long tail of increasingly weak members. If you are one of the impotent many, it seems to make sense to collaborate with others to get your voice heard. Caucusing is hence a method by which minorities can band together and gain the power of a major group.

To form a caucus, approach others who seem to have a similar view. Talk about the problem of minorities and the frustration of being ignored. Suggest getting together. Get members to recruit more members. Build towards small wins and then bigger wins. Doing so will help you recruit even more members. In this way, caucus group may grow by invitation, alliance or even 'takeovers' of other groups.

In many ways, larger groups and parties act like caucuses, with internal debate before voting together, and a caucus can evolve into a more established group, with rules membership, financing and so on. As the caucus grows, it may also turn into a smaller version of the total population, with powerful individuals and a repeat of the long tail of the disempowered. This can lead to power groups and a repeat of sub-causus development.

There is a possibility of corruption or at least non-democratic action in caucusing. When individual members are elected, there is a question as to whether they represent their electorate or the caucus. As with any increasingly powerful group, there will also be external inducements, games and even infiltration that seek to subvert or corrupt the caucus.

See also

Political power

 

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