Tuesday, February 05, 2008

 

Caucus Frustration

In theory, caucuses make some sense -- they're true citizen participation. But they're very, very frustrating. While we had a poll for the Presidential candidates, I'd like to have a straw poll that let you choose Senate candidate as well -- while we had Al Franken visit our caucus room, they only way that we could really "vote" for him is if we moved on to the March district caucus. And if you can't make that amount of commitment, you're effectively disenfranchised. And given the number of other people that were frustrated that they weren't able to express their opinion on the senate race tonight, I don't think I was alone.

It was extremely crowded -- the room was overflowing, and we left before the end, because I knew that I couldn't go on to the next level of caucusing.

I think the caucusing works relatively well for putting together party platforms and suggestions -- yes, you're going to have crazy or impractical resolutions, but if you let people have their say, you're going to get those. But for candidates for higher office -- I'm not so sure. I think it's too difficult to get a real representative choice there, and I'd rather see the primary have more say in this sort of situation.

I'm not quite sure the best way to fix that -- obviously, you'd have to change how the party makes decisions. And that would require getting it through the people that have the most interest in the current system.

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Comments:
I'm pretty sure that there will be a primary for the Senate candidate later this year. The caucus/convention system just produces a party endorsement, which as often as not is ignored by the primary voters. And you did get a chance to meet one of the candidates in return for standing in line for 45 minutes.

Do you ever attend your precinct caucus in non-presidential years? It's a lot less of a zoo in the off years, and perhaps more the kind of grassroots meet-the-neighbors experience that you were hoping for.
 
Oh, I'm well aware that frequently the party endorsement is ignored -- but I think that's part of the problem, really.

And I didn't think I wasted my time, as such -- just that I think it could be more effective, somehow.
 
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