Sunday, January 20, 2008

Blogging From The Nevada Caucuses (Caucus Day)

Tropicana HQ: 5:45 AM
People are getting together to canvass neighborhoods, putting flyers on the doors of supporters with their caucus locations and instructions on caucusing.

Super greeter
Though my ensemble may look like a horrible faux pas / Obama fetish there is a method behind the madness. I was what was referred to as a "Super Greeter". Evidently in Iowa, people were very excited to see people who were very excited to be supporting Senator Obama. I dunno, it's Iowa. So the campaign had us out of towners dress like Obamaclowns of sorts. We were to pump up the crew while the Local team handled their Caucusees.

My Caucus Team
IMG_0506 My brother often chides me about the youth of the Obama supporters. Boy, he aint kidding. Because our district was considered small, the young uns from FL, CA, UT and AL were all tossed into our Caucus. The Average age of my team was..19 Aiee!

Fired up! Ready to Go!
IMG_0503 As our supporters began to show up at the Elementary School, we would sticker them so the Hillary people would KNOW which ones were ours, though admittedly it was easy to tell as people walked in. Obama supporters were a very diverse lot, Hillary's were not. In fact, mostly middle aged mommies and mostly white. I'm not hatin' , its just what I observed. So as our awesomely diverse supporters walked in and sat down in our area, we led them in the Official Obama Cheer. I'll let Senator Obama and Edith explain.

The Caucusing...
...took place in the cafeteria for District 1 and the Library for District 2. Unfortunately the Clinton people had arrived first and got a prime spot, we did however, outdo them in the Decor and Twizzlers for our supporters department. Then, the issues started. The Caucus Chair was short staffed so he picked some Hillary ladies, who put up their signs behind them. I told the Chair, that it made it all look Biased. Our chair, tells em to take it down. People begin showing up, and before we know it, there are not enough ballots. The Chair tells me to go get some downtown. I know, I didn't realize that the Strip wasn't downtown either. I walk into the Cafeteria where they are experiencing the same problem and the Clinton ladies are freaking out. I lie. I tell the Caucus chairs that in Iowa, we used regular pieces of paper with each individual's voter ID sticker on it. They fall for it and the Clinton ladies, the Caucus chairs, and my entire crew now think of me as an old hand at caucusing, and a veteran of the Obama camp. I will not disappoint. At 11:30, they closed the doors. Our instructions said that everyone would be allowed in till 12:00, 4 voters were waiting outside. They were denied entry. All the Obama people called "Shenanigans" and said that people should be allowed in, the Hillary camp to my shagrin shouted us down saying "Let's get this started!" I countered by saying "I thought it was the OTHER party who was opposed to letting people vote". Chuckles from Obama Edwards Kucinich Caucusers, dirty dirty looks from the Clinton PTA. We later filed an official "BS" claim.

Then the counting begins. By show of hands we caucus our supporters. Obama had 35 Clinton 43, Edwards 13, Kucinich had 2, 4 Undecideds. The Chair tallies, and says that for a candidate to be viable, they will need fifteen supporters. The edwards people need 2 to be viable, and the caucus chair gives us 5 minutes to plead our case. Tim and I highlight the differences between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. A Kucinich supporter is not moved. She says "it sounds like they are the same person" . I take the podium, "It is difficult for us who are on different teams, but on the same side, to sound too dramatically different. Basically it comes down to direction. Senator Clinton's campaign would like to remind you of how great things were. We are trying to remind you how great we can still be." The Kucinich lady joined us.

In the end, we got most of the non viables but the Edwards camp, a resolute and over 50 bunch who were old-school union guys were able to keep their single state delegate. We got three delegates, and the Clinton camp got four.

Caucusing is a ridiculously complicated and long way of doling out delegates, but in my experience it is an unparalleled event in civic engagement and a true exercise of democracy in its purest form. It is not often you can plead your candidate's case and have it make an immediate difference. It was nothing short of thrilling.

By the time we returned, the whole thing had already been called for Hillary. Which Sucked. But then I learned that since we won more actual caucuses even though we didn't win the popular vote, we still got 6 Delegates to senator Clinton's 5... huh.
So we won, but we lost. Crazy stuff.

Just to leave out on an awesome note, here's some footage of MIchelle Obama at a rally angering and endearing herself to the crowd in a matter of minutes

Fired Up! Ready to go!

1 comment:

Dinah said...

So cool! What an amazing experience!!

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