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MrItty's avatar

What does "caucus" mean as a verb?

Asked by MrItty (17366points) November 7th, 2008

For example, in this article:,2933,448477,00.html
it talks about whether or not Lieberman will continue to caucus with the Democrats. What does that actually mean? Can the rest of the Democrats actually force him to vote with them if he chooses to “caucus” with them??

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7 Answers

jasongarrett's avatar


–verb (used without object)
3. to hold or meet in a caucus.
–verb (used with object)
4. to bring up or hold for discussion in a caucus: The subject was caucused. The group caucused the meeting.

MrItty's avatar

wonderful. Can anyone please define the word without using the word itself in the definition?

wundayatta's avatar

A caucus is a group of like-minded politicians that excludes all others not in the group. In Congress, there’s a Democratic caucus, a Republican caucus, a Black caucus, and more. When they get together to coordinate their efforts, they are caucusing.

So, when you are “caucussing” it means you are getting together with others of your ilk to discuss what you should do. When you say, “let’s caucus,” you are asking members of the group to go to a private place and discuss what you want to do. This is usually done with respect to creating a response to an opposing party. It’s part of the negotiating process.

gailcalled's avatar

Here, when it is time to nominate candidates for the town council, the Dems. hold a caucus. That means that 35 of us (on a good day) meet together to try to bludgeon some of us to run for local office. Several hapless souls volunteer eventually.

Then there are several more caucuses where issues and agendas, fund-raising and campaigning techniques are discussed. One year the hot button was 57 miles of dirt roads; three years ago it was zoning.

fireside's avatar

It’s not that they can force him to vote a certain way if he chooses to caucus with them. Rather, he ran as an independent and they have been allowing him to caucus with them, even allowed him to chair a committee i believe.

Like the article says, now that they can’t get their filibuster proof Senate even with him, the question is whether or not to continue letting him meet with them during their caucuses since he was so visibly in support of the Republican candidate.

wundayatta's avatar

Yeah, fireside. I was wondering if he would switch to being a Republican.

jasongarrett's avatar

1. U.S. Politics.
a. a meeting of party leaders to select candidates, elect convention delegates, etc.
b. a meeting of party members within a legislative body to select leaders and determine strategy.
c. (often initial capital letter) a faction within a legislative body that pursues its interests through the legislative process: the Women’s Caucus; the Black Caucus.
2. any group or meeting organized to further a special interest or cause.

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