Washington gives good caucus

“Sweet baby jeebus, kill me now.

I think I said those words at about 2:05pm. That is, I said them for the first time at 2:05pm. I said it a lot today, as I recall.

Unlike any of the other blog posts you’ve read about today’s caucus, none of them have my perspective. Sure, they participated in their neighborhood caucus…

But did they run their neighborhood caucus?

No.

I learned a few things:

1.) I really, really, should have gone to the caucus training.

2.) The Labor Temple is stuffy as hell.

3.) “We’ll have plenty of room” is not a phrase I’ll ever use again.

The main hall at the Labor Temple, where everyone congregated before splitting up into small precinct groups, is big. But it is not big enough for all the Democrats who showed up. Not by a long shot.

When my precinct gathered in our assigned meeting area, I found myself sitting at a folding table facing a sixty people. These people had already been kept waiting for some time in another cramped room, so they were getting cranky. What’s more, the script I was given by my legislative district was tough to weed through. Fuck, us Democrats make this shit complicated, and that caucus math? Fuhgitaboutit.

But the folks ended up being really nice people. They were my neighbors, after all! Belltown is home to rich older folks and really poor people who live in public housing. Not many in between. But we’re all Democrats, and we’re all sick to death of the fuckwit in the White House, so together we meet.

People really do care about politics, and Democrats really do love our country. Sticking it out with an ill-prepared dorkwad like myself in a stuffy room for an hour is proof enough.

(My favorite goof-up of the afternoon: I searched for five minutes for the piece of paper that would tell me how many delegates we were going to award, only to find that it’s printed on the outside of the fucking manila envelope they gave me. Ouch.)

As Sandeep Kaushik would say, the “juice” is totally behind the Democrats right now. It’s going to take a whole lot of swift boating to tear down either one of our candidates, so they better start running those “he’s a Muslim” ads and those “she’s a bitch” TV spots right away, since clearly they can’t win this one on the issues.

If I was a Republican, I would be pissing my Dockers right about now.

Comments

  1. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I don’t think we’re going to hear very much from the swiftboat crowd this year. They’re too busy bailing water out of their own sinking ship to have time for us.

  2. 6

    Ken S spews:

    I, too, was the “PCO” for my precinct, did not have any training, etc. and it was a fargin’ zoo. I confessed my ignorance before we started, and the crowd was on my side – so it all went OK….

    And while I enjoyed it more or less, I still think sitting at home with beer, a ballot & a bic pen would’ve been better….

  3. 7

    ewp spews:

    Though I enjoy the old timey small town feel of the caucus, it’s kind of a screwy way to find out who the Dems want as their candidate. I think we’d get a more accurate assessment of preference using a primary.

  4. 8

    spews:

    Damn! Our caucus place was disorganized as hell! We were lucky to get in and out alive. 2 Obamas and 1 Clinton in our party. Apparently, our group was a fairly accurate representation of the entirety of Washington State democrats. Who knew?

  5. 9

    Kris spews:

    Hey Will, I was one of your 60 neighbors filling up that stuffy little room. I have the HorsesAss rss feed on my home page to keep me updated about local politics, but I didn’t realize how local they were until I saw a post about my exact experience. I was the guy in the back corner in the blue sweater that was probably 10 years younger than the second youngest person there. I’ve just moved to belltown and this was my first time caucusing. I thought it was pretty funny how little anyone know about what to do. Interesting mix of people, interesting process.

  6. 10

    Deb Eddy spews:

    Will, I share your pain. I was area coordinator for 19 precincts here in the 48th, Lakeview Elementary School, almost 800 people … crowded, noisy, etc. … but democracy at its finest, nonetheless.

    The scripts prepared by the State party for coordinators and precinct chairs were poorly written, ‘way too wordy … told us lots of things we didn’t need to know (like repeating over and over that this is an election year and we’re electing a president) and left out some critical bits of information that we should’ve known (like the dates of the next delegate meetings, which showed up in some packets and not others).

    We had a district voter list loaded on a laptop to help people find their precincts. Husband Jon manned the laptop and got an earful about everything from the role of the primary (Dems should have one) to local zoning. “I have no control over any of that,” he said, “I’m just a guy with a laptop. Go talk to my wife.”

    Still, there was a positive buzz in the room, in addition to lots of people, kids, water bottles and cookies. I suggested that each precinct find a teacher to act as chair; teachers already know how to keep order in the midst of chaos and are good with paperwork. They must’ve followed my advice, because the largest groups decamped from the gymnasium and found play areas, library nooks, etc., for more space and so they could hear each other talk. Precinct attendance counts ranged from 10 to over 70 people.

    Incredible.

  7. 11

    Pale Rider spews:

    Will, I agree the delegate allocation process is a bit, uh, complex. The word “Byzantine” comes to mind.

    But, having been through the training a couple of times myself, it starts to make more sense. A little training goes a long way.

    Also the fact that my PCO asked me to handle the attendee counts, initial preferences and delegate calculations while she ran the caucus was a good call.

    In a way, it’s a no-win situation. If you manage to bring in a whole bunch of people who are completely new to the process (like we did – our caucus count for the LD was triple what it was in 2004, and we had 61 people in our Precinct), you get accused of being disorganized.

    But if you keep it to just the experienced people, you get accused of having the party run by insiders.