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February 11, 2008

Caucus Rebellion

I know I'm late to the caucus blogging party, but I was definitely there on Saturday with what appeared to be my entire neighborhood. I was glad to see them, although things were a little chaotic, Frinklin and myself eventually found our precinct (The Mighty 314!) and were ushered into a separate area of Jason Lee Middle Schoool as we were a good 250 strong, one of the two or three largest precincts in attendence.

After some continued confusion as to who exactly we were (313? 312?) we waited around for our Precinct Captain to show while the Caucus Chair asked us to talk amongs ourselves. No one was entierly clear on how exactly things would go down, considering the number of people present, and the folks running things all seemed to be relatively young first-timers. A festive mood continued to reign as an hour passed and Frinklin and I chatted with an undecided neighbor about why we were for Obama. She remained undecided as we broke into our respective groups a short time later.

The caucus site ran out of sign in sheets and requested that people sign in on the back of sheets if they hadn't already. People who hadn't signed in their choice had their names read aloud and were asked to declare, "Obama!" " Clinton" or "Undecided". The Precinct Captain was the first name read alound and tried to get away with being undecided, but after sheepishly blushing gave it up for Obama. People proudly yelled out their choices and were cheered - undecideds were given just as much applause as those who had a candidate determined.

At that point, the room was divided into our three groups, Clinton on one side, Obama on the other with the Undecideds in the middle. Each group was invited to have a representative speak, which we did. At that point, the Undecideds had questions that they wanted answered. The Caucus Chair asked us to quiet down, but after a couple of hours of being told to keep quiet and chat together, we were ready to make our voices heard and debate. Several of us (myself included) stood up and yelled loudly, stating that we would like the opportunity to debate and sway the Undecideds. The Undecideds shouted that they would like the opportunity to ask questions and make up their minds. The Caucus Chair started to get nervous that he might have a bunch of pissed off Democrats completely rebelling and the debate was on!

While many people spoke from their hearts and didn't always weigh in on specific policy and topics, everyone was passionate about their decisions. We also heard from a number Undecideds who gave varied reasons as to why they hadn't made up their minds; one man couldn't see enough difference between the two (he eventually went with Obama), another woman though Obama supporters were just attracted to the Cult of Personality (although she later also swayed to Obama too), and one woman said she was terrified that Americans are stupid and prejudiced and wouldn't vote for an African-American man (Frinklin stood up and told her, "If YOU are afraid to vote for him, stand with us and show others that people WILL vote for him!).

The final count was 189 for Obama (16 delegates), 58 for Clinton (5 delegates), 16 Undecided (1 delegate). Frinklin is a delegate and I am an alternate for Obama. I find it funny that it appearsthat a bunch of people we know are delegates or alternates (Jen, Kevin, Cassie, Mark -- did I leave anyone out?).

This was my first time caucusing, being from California. I have to say it was confusing and messy and long, and I absolutely loved it. I can see why it's not for everyone, and if I had kids or needed to be somewhere that day why I would hate it. But it was really fun from my perspective this year and I wouldn't mind doing it again at all.

Posted by Ensie at February 11, 2008 06:31 PM

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