Sunday, January 27, 2008

Nevada Caucus 2008

Leading up to Caucus Day, I talked to a number of folks who just didn't get it . They didn't understand why they had to declare themselves as either a democrat or a republican and thus, why they could attend either a democratic caucus, or republican caucus, but not both. I was quite surprised at the number of people who didn't know how our political process works. The purpose of the primaries/caucuses is to pick the candidate that you believe your party should select as their candidate at the party's convention and thus ... be the candidate who should run against the other party in the general election. It's just not the same thing as a general election ... not even close. Oh well ... enough of that ....

Nevada held their caucus on a beautiful blustery day ... no snow ... so ... no one could blame the weather for not attending. We attended the Democratic Caucus session at 11 AM. The Republicans held theirs at 9 AM.

Each party did theirs differently. We attended the Democratic Caucus. We heard that the Republicans actually did a silent ballot, but we assembled ourselves into groups by precinct according to who we supported and then we were counted.

Since this was the first year Nevada would do Caucuses instead of a "primary-style vote," they really didn't really know what to expect in terms of turnout. It was quite apparent they didn't expect the number of folks who not only turned out ... but the number who wanted to register as Democrats on the day of the caucus (Democrats allowed registration on Caucus Day ... Republicans didn't ... so we had a lot of Republicans changing affiliation). Needless to say ... it was a bit chaotic ... they weren't adequately staffed for registering attendees ... nor did they have enough registration forms and ballots (attendees hand-in their ballots after the physical count of attendees/candidate). Chaotic as everything was ... we finally made it through the process.

It was kind of interesting to look at how things stacked up in our precinct. In the Clinton group ... there were predominantly older white folks. In the Obama group, there were predominantly younger folks and two black persons (we don't have very many blacks in our little community). In the Edwards group, there were just enough older white folks to make a viable group to count. Surprisingly absent were Hispanic voters ... and we have a large Hispanic population in the community.

Having participated in a primary election back in Ohio (to late in the process) and now having participated in a Caucus in Nevada (albeit flawed), we're not sure we really like either of the current primary processes. You see, Hillary actually won the popular vote of Nevada's caucus attendees ... but Barrack will apparently get more delegates (Obama 13, Hillary 12). The news keeps reporting that Hillary won ... but on the Democratic Convention floor ... Barrack is the winner of more Nevada delegates. The way that happened was literally ... the luck of the draw. Only in Nevada! Two different districts had ties between Hillary and Barrack ... so to break the tie and award a tie-breaking special delegate ... they drew cards from a deck of cards. In both cases, the Barrack delegate drew the higher card in the deck ... so he ended up with more delegates even though he actually had fewer popular votes.

Anything sound familiar ???? Gore won the popular vote, but Bush won the electoral college and thus became president. Something's wrong with that process too.

What a disappointment! You participate in the process so your vote counts ... but then it ends up not counting because some rule or process works against your vote. Given the technology we now have, Hubby and I think they should just do away with all these different "state" primaries and caucuses, as well as the electoral college. The popular vote should be used instead. There should be just one primary that's held nationwide in, for example, May. The winners for each party would then advance to the general election. The advantages that we see to this type of process would be that:

  • We might actually see a third more moderate party find a way to emerge and gain acceptance (currently one party is too far to the left and the other is too far to the right and a whole lot of us lose in the process).
  • It might shorten the amount of time we'd be subjected to all the seesawing political ads and nonsense that takes place.
  • It might just get more people to participate in the process knowing that their vote would indeed count.
  • Senators and Congressmen who are seeking a nomination just might be able to attend to more business and critical votes that impact the constituencies who put them in office to represent them.
Guess it's not all that likely any of that might happen in my lifetime. Oh well ... I've probably bored you to death enough for one day ... so I'll go watch the snow as it falls gently across the valley this morning.

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