Wednesday, March 5

Texas Two-Step : a review

Before experiencing the Texas caucus in person (last night), I wasn't so sure about the so-called Texas Two-Step .. where voters gather soon after the polls close and hold a party caucus to allocate 1/3 of the state's delegates.

After last night, I've come to appreciate The Process, and give it a Thumbs Up.

Yes, it was mildly chaotic in my precinct (repeated in thousands of precincts across Texas, so I hear). But, it's The Most Involved I've seen the Democratic party since I moved here in 1993. Long-time poll workers told me it's the most activity they've seen in thirty (30) years of primaries. Yes, it's mostly due to the continued campaigns of Obama-Clinton this late in the race ("only 8 months until the general election!") but it's remarkable to see so many young voters really involved.
Maybe they're finally wising up to the fact that McCain plans to draft them (that means "involuntary" to you newcomers) into his Hundred Year War in Iraq (plus The Iran Expansion) just as soon as he takes office - gotta fulfill that Biblical Prophecy of Armageddon, ya know. Get ready for a steady dose of fear-Fear-FEAR as we approach 4 November 2008.
At any rate .. the caucus proceeded deliberately in my precinct: 123 people packed half of a school cafeteria (the other half occupied by another precinct caucus of similar size) and carefully completed The Caucus Form where we filled out our names and candidate choice. In my precinct, Obama beat Clinton 71-52 and got 9 delegates to her 6. Those delegates will proceed to a County Convention (apparently) on March 29th - a Saturday.

The caucus accomplished several things:
  1. it brought everything out into the open - no secret ballot in this step. No hiding under a white sheet.
  2. it forced people to get involved in the party process. Many of us would otherwise never see this "level of detail" or even meet our "closet Democrat neighbors" (in a red state like Texas where the GOP has bullied the minorities for years, this is HUGE).
  3. it mitigated the nonsense caused by the Texas GOP in the primary (see my blog post of 4 March to understand how the GOP tried to Screw The Democratic Primary). In my precinct, only two (2) Republicans showed up for the Democratic caucus, and they only stayed long enough to sign their names and leave.
After all was said and done, Clinton won the Texas primary (as I predicted on February 9th*) but lost the delegate count. For what I observed, this was both fair and appropriate. Although the Texas Two Step sounded bizarre at first, I'm now a big believer in The Process.
* and YES, I acknowledge that I completely blew the prediction about Huckabee. Even the mouth-foaming Ron Paul supporters (with their Big Signs) didn't have any perceptible impact.

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