Rock the mock caucus


It’s that time of the year again; phones are off the hook, the Maucker Union is full of political booths and presidential candidates are flying in across the country giving speeches. That’s right, the election is right around the corner.

For those looking to get more involved in politics, look no further. The Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG) and political science department are hosting UNI’s first-ever Mock Caucus, or “Mockus,” on Jan. 25 in the Maucker Union ballroom.

According to Danielle Massey, chair of external relations for NISG, the Mockus will be almost identical to a real presidential caucus. The only difference is that the Mockus won’t be using the real presidential candidates and will instead be using fake candidates like TC, TK, Purple and Gold to keep things nonpartisan. They will also be teaching how to caucus for both major political parties, as the Democratic and Republican caucuses are ran differently.

Since Iowa is unique in the sense that it holds caucuses instead of primaries, Massey expressed the importance of learning the fundamentals of the caucus.

“Teaching students how to participate is a way to ensure our generation has a strong voice in politics,” said Massey.

The idea of holding a mock caucus started with NISG director of governmental relations, Elizabeth Lynch. Lynch said that she found the idea from the Campus Election Engagement process, which is a resource for campuses and students to plan and implement events such as a Mockus.

Lynch and the external relations branch of NISG thought it would be a good event to host, seeing as this may be students’ first opportunity to take part in a caucus.

According to Lynch, learning about each of the candidates, as well as how the Iowa caucus works, is just as important as participating in the political process and elections.

“By attending our mock caucus, you are able to learn about the Iowa caucuses–a unique experience we are privileged to partake in being Iowa citizens,” Massey said.

Senior public administration and political science major, Samuel George, is attending this event for a variety of reasons. Although he sits in the lower branch of the student government as director of local governmental relations, he believes that anyone who is able to attend the Iowa caucus should attend.

George said that this will be a great practice round before the real caucus rolls around come Feb. 1.

“If you’re unsure of which candidate to support or what issues matter to you, several political student organizations will be present to share their thoughts and opinions to help you develop an idea of who to support,” George said.

Many students have already confirmed they are going to this event via its Facebook page. One student is sophomore gerontology major, Rachel Rohwedder.

Rohwedder has been looking for ways to educate herself about the elections, as this year is the first presidential election in which she’ll be able to vote.

“This is the perfect opportunity to get involved in the elections and interact with other students who have the similar ideologies,” Rohwedder said.

The event is open to all students, and the NISG and political science department is opening the invitation to community members as well.  There will also be free food and drinks provided.

According to George, this election in particular carries with it significant importance.

“This election is more important than ever to set the tone for the near future of American politics,” said George.