"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

He Came, He Saw, He Caucused, He Went Home

Last night I added another item to my list of "things I've now done that I never did before" -- I participated in a presidential caucus. It was quite interesting, and became sort of a "Politics 101" lesson for me on how delegates are chosen to attend the party's national conventions. I had always watched the huge crowds waving their state signs and candidate banners every four years on TV, but never gave a whole lot of thought to exactly how they got there.

Feeling a bit unsure of what to expect, I arrived at the precinct meeting place shortly after the polls closed at seven; turnout appeared fairly light, with about 25 or so people there. There were two sign-in sheets, one for each candidate, and after entering our names to indicate whom we had voted for earlier, about half of those who had showed up left immediately. (Amateurs!)

The meeting was called to order with about 12 of us left, and we then learned that our sign-in vote tally had split right down the middle, with 13 warm bodies there for Obama and 14 for Clinton. We therefore got to split the six delegates allocated to our precinct 50/50, at three each. Supporters of the two candidates then gathered on each side of the room to introduce ourselves to each other and discuss who would like to represent Barack at the county and district conventions on March 29. At these meetings, representatives will be elected from the precinct delegates to attend the state convention in Austin on June 6 & 7. Attendees at the state event will then select the 193 pledged delegates allotted to Texas to attend the Democratic National Convention. So, it's entirely possible that some of us there last night will have the opportunity in August to go to Denver in support of Barack.

Since my oxygen equipment makes travel a bit problematic to me, I deferred to the other folks in our little group who were more than happy to volunteer as delegates. Demographically, our bunch was a nice cross-section: two "young" (20's) white folks, one each male and female, an older white gentleman who appeared in his 70's, two middle-age black ladies, and a black man who looked to be in his 30's. All of us seemed intelligent, articulate, and motivated to get involved in the political process, and we enjoyed talking about the issues and our hope that Obama could provide the leadership to move the country forward. I did sign up as an alternate delegate, so in case one of the chosen three can't make it, I may be asked to step in.

As I went to bed last night, Texas was still "too close to call" but Sen. Clinton was doing well elsewhere. Today, I awoke to the discouraging news that the race will be slogging on for months to come, as Hillary won Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island -- re-energizing her campaign and bringing Barack's momentum to a screeching halt despite his Vermont victory. This unfortunately means that the two Democratic rivals will now continue to waste time, money, energy, and most critically, voter confidence by attacking each other in a divisive effort that will only weaken the real goal of defeating John McCain in November. So while I feel good about becoming involved in the phonebanking and caucusing during the last few days, I'm pretty damn frustrated with the end result.

Welcome to Politics 101.


  • At 3/06/2008 09:26:00 AM, Blogger SupaCoo said…

    I'm sorry I won't be in Denver in August for the DNC. But you best believe I'm voting absentee in November!


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