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.