My experience at the caucus

So I went to my local precinct caucus this afternoon. I came a little bit early since I knew it was going to packed. I knew that my precinct would be overwhelmingly for Obama beforehand because the demographics favored him. He does extremely well with affluent college educated white liberals or what I call the limousine liberals. He also does well with caucuses because affluent voters have time to come out on this specific time on this specific day. Contrast this with Clinton’s base which is made up of working class voters. Many of these voters are waitresses, nannies, janitors, nurses, who are unable to get off work during the specific time of the caucuses.

Anyhow, my caucus was at a local elementary school. I was greeted by a sweet elderly lady wearing a Clinton button who showed me to my prencinct site. So I walk in and I definitely notice that I will be in the minority as Obama stickers and buttons were everywhere. I could see I got some looks as I wore my Hillary Clinton pin. I went and signed in and wrote down my presidential preference. Then, I sat down waiting for things to begin. I ran into two people from my church. They were also supporting Hillary Clinton. One of them told me that he/she was afraid to publicly tell people in her small group that she supports Hillary Clinton because most of the group is Barack Obama supporters and she didn’t want to get chastised by the hardcore Obama supporters in the group. But it was good to run into them and fellowship together and discover that there were other Clinton supporters at our church.

So as I looked around the room, it was filled mostly of affluent liberal white party activists. I was one of the very, very few people of color in the gymnasium. As I got to meet and talk with people, most of them were white collar workers who were pretty well off.

Then it was time to start and they went and read all the rules of the caucus. My precinct was confined to a small corner of the gymnasium.  They tallied the votes for the first round and it was something like 76 for Obama, 24 for Clinton, 2 for Kucinich, and 11 undecided. Our precinct had 6 delegates and as of the first vote, it would be 4 delegates for Obama, 1 for Clinton, and 1 undecided. Then it was time for supporters of Obama and Clinton to make their cases for the respective candidates to change the minds of undecided voters. Each side was allowed three supporters to give one minute speeches. Obama supporters gave their speeches and they didn’t use their full one minute allotments. The themes of the war and electability were what came out for the Obama supporters. Then the Clinton supporters had their turn to speak and I thought they were much more passionate. But I think that’s usually the case when you are in the minority. The same sweet elderly woman who had greeted me at the door went up and gave a passionate speech about why she supports Hillary Clinton. I stood up and applauded her. Then one of the people I met earlier from my church also spoke passionately about his/her support for Hillary Clinton. Then I had the opportunity to speak and was able to speak with passion and emotion for my support for Hillary Clinton. The minority of Clinton supporters (mostly women) were cheering me on and it was pretty awesome. I felt energized when I spoke. The Clinton support section was me, a few guys, and an overwhelming number of older white women. It was an interesting scene.

Then they announced the results of the second round of voters for those who wanted to change their vote. It ended up having Obama with 4 delegates, Clinton with 1 delegate and 1 delegate that needed to be decided by a coin flip because by some weird mathematical formula it was tied between Obama and Clinton for that last delegate. So they flipped the coin and Obama got the remaining delegate.

Then I stuck around and helped to select a delegate to send to the legislative district caucus. I got to talk to a few of the Clinton supporters and made an email list to stay in communication with each other.

Overall, our precinct location ended up with 20 delegates for Obama, 6 for Clinton, and 2 for undecided. Those results didn’t surprise me. Before I came, I was afraid that she may not get any delegates.

So it was an interesting experience and much more fun than I had in the 2004 caucus. Even though I’m not a big fan of caucuses as a way to choose presidential candidates because it excludes the voice or working class voters and bases delegates on complicated mathematic formulas, I still enjoyed my political experience today. It’s a great sign that the Democrats are so energized and ready to put a Democrat in the White House.  

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5 comments

  1. According to the demographics, I should be voting for Hillary Clinton: I’m a white, 60-year-old, highly educated woman from the Northeast. But I’m voting for Obama. I’ve waited all my life for a viable woman candidate for the presidency, but this is not the right woman. I want a woman of the highest ability and virtue, who would serve as a glorious role model to all young women. Hillary Clinton is not that woman.
    She rode into power with her husband, and together they’ve acquired a long and seriously flawed history of self-serving and secretive financial and political dealings. The most cursory research will prove that true. She started out her political life supporting the racist Barry Goldwater. She is as comfortable with deception and trickery as George Bush. When I hear woman saying, “Oh, but that’s how you get things done in Washington,” I literally cringe.
    I am passionately supporting Barack Obama. He can beat the Republicans; she cannot. Obama has attracted Independents and even Republicans to his camp, and in a general election they would vote for him, but not for Clinton. Clinton voted for the war, and has never apologized for it. Obama has spoken out against it from the beginning. Obama brings us hope–and not just that. Take a serious look at his ideas and experience.
    Please, I beg of you, Sisters young and old: wait for the right woman. Then we can be proud.

    Diane Wald

  2. eh, i’m ashamed to tell you this story, but i’m sure you’ll appreciate it.

    i was talking with some students the other day (they’re all the trendy hipster-type) about the dem race. they were all really super pro-obama. but when i asked them (tested them, really) on what they like about him (vs clinton), they had no idea. they didn’t know anything about their proposed health care policies, their different strategies for economic growth, and they didn’t even know what NAFTA stood for. i walked away from the conversation pretty pissed off, and under the impression that they were only supporting him just because he’s the trendy “diverse” candidate.

    ehh . . . i might concede to you that clinton supporters might be the more “educated” crowd . . . but i’m still with obama. ^^

  3. my caucus experience today was both similar and different- similar in its overwhelming support for obama, but not in demographics present at all (which makes sense since my precinct spans beacon hill and rainier valley). there was a ton of diversity- whites, blacks, asians, latinos, and every age from infant to elderly.

    interestingly, my precinct also includes thousands of units of low-income/gov’t subsidized housing, and support for obama was 88-28 in ours and 119-11 in the neighboring precinct.

    so while i do think obama does do well with affluent whites, he also does well across the board, including blacks (obviously), and lots of working class people, too. the hillary crowd was very friendly and engaged, and many of us agreed that both candidates were capable and qualified. we debated electability, and interestingly both sides used the same argument- that their candidate was the most likely to beat mccain…

    i guess we’ll have to wait and see!

  4. mine was way to similar. almost all white and older……however the votes were more equal than what you had. basically 50/40/10, obama/clinton/uncommitted.

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