Monday, January 26, 2004

Raucous Caucus

So those readers who have been here a while have noted my discussion of the Primary, or lack thereof, in Washington State this year, and my approval of the fact that the State Legislature had decided to do without it, pocketing nine megabucks in the process.

The reason, for me, is very simple. The Republicans don't need a primary, and the National Democrats announced that they would ignore the primary in favor of a state caucus. (State Democrats pitched the idea that the delegates would be chosen by a combination of caucus and primary, but that idea didn't fly at the National Level. Thanks, guys.)

So the Democratic Caucuses are being held on Saturday morning, February 7th, at a host of locations around the state. If you want to find out where in your area you'd go for this, you can check it out here. If you have your voter-registration card, you can find out where to meet. Otherwise, you can give general location and congressperson and work your want down to it.

Here's what to expect. When you get there, they'll ask you up front that you're a Democrat, and who you're initially supporting. This is no heads-down-on-the-desk secret ballot sort of thing, but democracy red in tooth and claw - you're there because you want someone to win, so you have to say it up front. You don't have to hold to it, but you have to say it up front. You also have to declare you're a Democrat, because, of course, no Republican double-agents would think of infiltrating a caucus to support the weaker candidate.

Next, they get rid of the Dennis Kucinich supporters - I'm sorry, I'm meant to say, candidates that poll less that 15% are deemed "not viable" and their supporters are asked to choose another candidate. Also, if you change your mind, you are allowed to choose another candidate as well. So it goes, until it firms up with percentages for each candidate, and then everyone goes home.

I'm a little fuzzy on this next part, so I have to do my homework, but a percentage of the total carries forward from the local caucuses to the state level, and then to the national convention. Not sure who gets chosen to Boston for the big convention, elected caucus voters, or individuals with orders from the state-level. I'm going to have to do my homework on this.

This sounds like a political rugby scrum, and though I would have to wave my official "Independent" status in order to attend, I find it interesting. For those who would never-in-a-million-years vote Republican, I recommend they find out where their local caucus is, and attend. Weirdly, this type of democracy ensures a greater voice for the individual that shows up than a primary (or, worse still as far as the parties are concerned, an "open primary"). It looks like there will be a lot of new kids at the party, and the worst that happens is that you'll be on a Democrat mailing list.

Yeah, Democrat junk mail. Like I don't get THAT already.

More later,