Caucuses rarely if at all vote directly for national convention delegates (I'm going to hedge here a bit because I don't know the ins and outs of every states rules.) Generally speaking, they choose delegates to a state convention, which in turn chooses delegates to the national convention. In some states I think there are even intervening county conventions.Yeah, like Texas. I know that because my son Chris is a county delegate — he's for Hillary — as was just about everyone else that didn't sign in and walk right out on caucus night. Read his description of the chaotic process that got these people chosen on this post of mine.
Back to Josh:
[U]nlike in primaries where the delegates really get picked on primary night, that's not what happens with caucuses. When you have a caucus in state such-and-such and they say Obama got X number of delegates, that's just an estimate. He doesn't really have them yet. What it really means is that he got X number of delegates and if they all go to the state convention and vote for Obama then he'll get the estimated number of delegates, or something very close to that number.Kos has more.
The point is that there's a lot of potential haggling and funny-business possible between what's actually set in stone now and what people are expecting come convention time....
[W]ay down at the county convention level we're talking really big numbers of delegates. You don't know these people quite as well. Some of them may be new to politics. You've got to be certain they all show up at the different conventions... [I]f at any point one campaign or another can't manage or control their delegates, they can lose some national delegates.
It's going to get uglier. I hope when it's all over, the ridiculous caucus system is abandoned.