The Coin Flip

Just in case you’re curious at all, the reason a coin flip is used as the conclusion of an otherwise functionally hung vote system is because caucuses in primaries are not actually about electing the candidate but about telling the delegates who the people want to vote for. Technically speaking, the delegates don’t even have to vote that way – they’re selected by the primary process, listen to who they voted for, and then, they head to the Convention to cast all their primary support for someone. Some states have lots of delegates, some only have a few. Either way, the point is, winning a primary doesn’t mean that all that support is squirreled away. Last cycle, a state was won by one person, recounted to be won by another person, then the delegates went to another person, because what the fucking fuck, Iowa.

This is because when the American political system was constructed, the fastest way to get information places was on bits of paper in grubby pockets in filthy pants on smelly horses. The delegates were meant to be acting on the most recent information they could get when they actually hung around and met the candidates, which they might not have done so during the primary process. Note that this is duplicated then in the actual general election, with the Electoral College and its Electors.

Note that caucuses are really hard, period. They’re basically a rolling debate; people stand in a room, argue about their positions and if you want to vote, you walk over to a part of the room. If you’re not there at the end, when the votes get tallied up, then sorry, you didn’t vote. You can walk back and forth. You can change your mind. You can argue so you change someone else’s mind. Young voters and stubborn voters are important, then. You get a whole day of shouting, waiting, straining and grinding out numbers as you argue people to change one mind at a time, well.. at the end of that, sometimes people just want to go home. Then, you flip the coin, and recognise that the delegate will know how close it was.

The delegate is meant to take this stuff into account. Imagine if fifteen places were tied, flipped the coin, and it went for Hillary, then five places all had Bernie win in massive landslides. The Delegate would be able to claim statistically, that Hillary was the winner, but they could also note that really, Hillary and Bernie were tied most of the time, and the places where anyone won decisively, it was Bernie.

Basically, America is operating an incredibly archaic system that was constructed because people did not know how to Democracy much.

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