I Stood For My Candidate, Did You Stand For Yours?

For the first time since I became a registered voter, I attended my local caucus. I was registered as an independent prior to going out tonight, so when I arrived I got in line and changed my registration to the Democratic party. That was about 6 PM and for the next 2 hours I was standing around in a school gym chatting with some neighbors and some strangers. It was loud, hot and crowded.

I think the official count of registered voters attending the caucus for our district was 355, which according to the caucus chairman that’s a new record. Around the walls of the gym were posters for several of the candidates: Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards and Obama. Once things got a bit more organized, they caucus workers had us all line up in groups for them to count the number of supporters for each candidate. The first count determined which candidates were viable, to do this each candidate needed to have at least 50 supporters. Biden and Dodd were both eliminated at this stage. It looked like those supporters both switched over to Edwards but with all the people crowded into the gym, I can’t be sure about that. There were multiple, repeated recounts and at the end Obama had 206 supporters from our district. Most people (including us) left at this point, as we were told all that was left to do at the caucus was to fill out some official paperwork and to elect the delegates to go to the county convention. We didn’t have any interested in going to the county convention, so we headed home at that point.

It was an interesting experience but not what I was expecting. I had thought each candidate would have a representative who’d have an opportunity to speak to try convincing people to switch to their candidate. That didn’t happen. In fact, the closest thing we had to that were supporters for the various candidates starting to chant for their candidate, e.g. I say “O”, you say “Bama”. “O”! “Bama”! “O”! “Bama”!

Having been home for a while now, I see Obama won the Iowa Democractic Caucus. I wish him good luck in the other states and hope he wins.

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I had a roughly similar experience. Switched registration from Indie to Dem, looked for a Gravel table, and finding none went straight to the Kucinich table until there were 7 of us (out of 555).

We chatted and got to know each other and why we hadn’t picked this or that other candidate, given that any candidate “in the room” was 4x better than the best Republican candidate this year. My only beefs with Obama were that he voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act and — I think indefensibly — he has confirmed that he would not support civil marriage rights for same sex couples. We noticed that chat was lacking in the viable candidate mobs. And we did get prosylitized heavily by Dodd, Obama, Clinton, and Richardson shills.

As a group, we did some math and figured out that of the viable (84 or more caucusers) candidates, only Obama could benefit by some (at least 37 of the available 64, to be exact) of the non-viable caucusers moving to his group. Since Kucinich had said that if non-viable, he’d like his caucusers to pick Obama, that was that.

It was fun. I hadn’t caucused since ’88 (for Paul Simon). I should note that — quite unintentionally — I’ve never voted for a winning Presidential candidate. Maybe I should hire myself out as an election poisoner.

P.S.: Article (http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080103/IOWACAUCUS/666459319) could not be found.

Before we took our initial counts we did get short speeches (2 minutes max) from a representative for each candidate. We also had plenty of time to try and draw people to our candidate (or switch to another) prior to each count.

@Ken: Since the Gazette apparently doesn’t want me to link to their articles (e.g. they moved/removed the article overnight); I’ve switched the link to point to an article by the New York Times.

@Komainu: Hmm, sounds like we got cheated out of the real experience last night then.

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