The Northern Mariana Islands caucus was moved up from its original date in late February, robbing it of what would have otherwise been a pivotal, game changing role in the 2012 Republican Primary Presidential Process.

The Northern Mariana Islands are a chain of islands in the Western Pacific, with the status of a commonwealth. Actually, they are called "The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands", but I don't know, if like "The Commonwealth of Massachusetts", it is just a name, or if it somehow denotes a different legal/political status than if they were a territory. Honestly, the status of non-state parts of the United States is a bit murky. What is important here is that the CNMI (as they are known on the streets) can not vote in general elections. But they are still allowed a say in the primary process.

Much of this primary has been about demographics and identity politics. Almost all of which is absent from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. In my writeup on the Tennessee primary, I pointed out that my experience with the dynamics of Tennessee society comes from a visit to the Nashville greyhound depot. But this is War and Peace compared to the bus schedule that is my knowledge of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. So I can't quite explain why Mitt Romney won overwhelmingly in the caucus, carrying all of the delegates available. I imagine that barring any other reason, the caucus-goers selected the candidate with the most prestige and success so far.

One of the interesting things to me about the result is that while the outlying territories of the United States are not represented in the general election, they actually have a disproportionately high representation in the primary process. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands gets 9 delegates for its 54,000 residents. Florida (after its penalty) had 50 delegates for 19,000,000 people. The Northern Mariana Islands therefore has, per resident, almost 100 times as much say in determining the result of the primary contest as Florida does.

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