Saturday, January 19, 2008

Caucus, Caucus, Caucus

That's right. Justin and I did the Caucus conga line yesterday. "Caucus, Caucus, Caucus." We stood in line with the rest of Fernley (because there isn't much to do out here) and caucused our little hearts out.

Actually, it was a really interesting process. Justin would say it was a waste of time. Democracy at work.

We found our precinct, then sat in a class room at an elementary school for about 2 hours. The process was way more complicated than it had to be, but whatever. We aligned with our candidate choice. Well, I aligned and Justin followed because he really didn't want to be there in the first place. Then we waited. And waited. They did a head count of the people in the room. Not bad...57 people showed up from our precinct - about the average percentage of voters that the party expected to show up...14%. Then they did some calculations to find out what the minimum number is for each candidate to be viable and have a delegate show up at the county convention in February, then going onto the state convention then national. The number was 9.

For the candidate I was supporting we had 14. Phew! One delegate. Nice. At least the candidate was viable. Not bad.

Then came the uncomfortable part. So each candidate needed 9 "votes" to be viable and send at least one delegate. There was a 10 minute or so opportunity to get people who support other candidates to switch to your candidate. No one even tried...from any candidate to get people to move their support to their side. No one dared.

Then the process became even more uncomfortable. There was one candidate that had only 3 people "voting" for him. He was then not a viable candidate. So the supporters for that candidate weren't going to have a voice. At that time the rest of the people in the room had 10 minutes to sway those 3 people to come to their candidate. Or those people could stay where they were and not have a voice.

They chose to stay where they were. But it was really uncomfortable because a representative from each of the other viable candidates were sent over to convince these 3 to come over to their side. One of the people from the non viable candidate was so adamant that she was raising her voice...that the rest of our candidates were liars...etc. Probably true, but really? Raising her voice. This is a caucus, with your neighbors. Literally. Your neighbors that you see everyday.

So if you have a choice to caucus or not...go ahead. Kill 2 hours and show some support for a candidate that might just barely squeak through with one delegate.

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