Barakus the Caucus – An Inside Look at a Washington State Caucus

February 10, 2008

What a day for a caucus!

Over the last few days, visits from the major candidates and headline news coverage encouraged even the most apathetic of us to think about participating in the caucus. The excitement only grew Saturday morning. Flurries of phone calls, text messages, and emails from politically savvy friends all sent the same message: GO TO YOUR CAUCUS AND VOTE!

The middle school where my precinct caucus took place was at capacity before 1pm. Even arriving 30 minutes early didn’t help avoid the line to get through the door. It was an eclectic group of people to say the least, but it seemed as though everyone was excited to be doing something to improve our country.

At the caucus, Obama political swag decorated the windows and hallways. Many caucus goers were decked out in stickers, buttons, and “I have a crush on Obama” t-shirts. Surprisingly, Hillary signs were no where to be found.

An initial precinct vote mirrored the disproportionate display of posters on the wall. 4 Barak Obama delegates, 1 Hillary Clinton, and 1 undecided.

Following the vote, citizens had a chance to speak for the candidate. The first caucus goer to speak up was a Obama supporter named Phil. He first introduced himself as an avid listener of Right Wing radio, explaining that “one has to know your enemy if you’re going to defeat them”. Phil supported Obama because of his electability. In fact, most of the caucusers supported their candidate based on electability. Hillary supporters felt that Obama’s limited experience would be an easy target for Republicans. Obama supporters felt just as strongly the other way.

A few political issues did come up in discussion. Global warming, Supreme court justice choices, and healthcare were all spoken about as important issues. However, our precinct’s knowledge on policy was meshed together from various CNN and Seattle Times headlines. We were an eager group, but not the most informed.

The undecided voters were not really undecided, but were (surprisingly) strong fans of Dennis Kucinich. Following a few hushed whispers in their direction that Kucinich had dropped his candidacy, the undecided were persuaded to join with Obama; leaving the delegates at 5 to 1.

For a politico and activist, attending a caucus can be emotionally conflicting. On one hand, democracy can be a frightening process. Our delegates were selected based on a few news headlines. It makes one realize slogan writers and marketers have quite a bit of influence. On the other hand, the entire experience can be inspiring. Witnessing voters line the block to participate in a caucus will make every rainy day spent registering voters seem worth all the effort.

The most amazing part of the caucus, however; is how it reflects the value that everyone’s voice counts. Our delegates weren’t selected in a dark, smoked filled room. It was inside hallways of old middle schools and churches that Washington state helped select our next President.

*The AP is reporting that Obama swept caucuses across the state. Initial numbers indicate he’s winning 65% of the delegates to Clinton’s 33%.

** Update ** The Washington State Democrat’s website is reporting Obama at 67.5% and Clinton at 31%. The delegate split is 21,629 and 9992 respectively.


2 Responses to “Barakus the Caucus – An Inside Look at a Washington State Caucus”

  1. whydidyoudoit said

    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. Nicholas said

    I’m in a demographic that was born well after the civil rights movements of the 60’s. For many in my generation, this is either their first or second opportunity to be a part of the election process.

    The race/gender issue doesn’t seem to be important within my demographic. I think for many of us, we want the right person for the job. Their race and gender doesn’t influence their job ability at all.

    I have no doubt that a woman will be the President one day. But when that woman wins, it should not be due to her gender. It needs to be her leadership that puts her into the office.

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