My Texas Two-Step Experience
On Tuesday I attended my first Democratic caucus. I live in a conservative neighborhood at the north end of a liberal city, and as I was driving to the caucus I imagined that it would be me, three old ladies, and the sound of crickets.
As I approached the crowd, I asked someone on the outer edges which caucus it was and was gratified to see her smile and say, “The Republicans don’t caucus ’til 8. These are all Dems.”
What? In my neighborhood?!
I wasn’t the only one who was surprised. A local somewhat well-known (to our group) Republican character running for some office or another looked downright appalled as he walked past the group. I wish I’d had the reaction time required to snap a picture of the expression on his face.
The shell-shocked caucus chairwoman managed to keep it together with grace, and the general mood was lighthearted and happy. After we’d all shown our voter registration cards or IDs and proof that we’d voted in the primary, we were directed to write down all of our information, including which candidate we supported.
After about 30 minutes, we were seated comfortably in a cafeteria chatting excitedly about democracy and the election. We looked around, trying to guess who among us might be Republicans in Hillary clothing while waiting for the people in charge to tally the votes.
We were informed that 235 of us had shown up, and that in 2004, 13 people had. Everyone looked around, feeling pretty impressed with themselves until the caucus chairwoman casually, smilingly tossed out, “Where have you all been hiding? It would have been nice to hear from you before now!”
They then announced our precinct’s results:
80 votes for Hillary Clinton
155 votes for Barack Obama
After that, they split us up into groups by candidate and asked us to elect our delegates, who will move on to the county caucus at the end of March.
And that was it. It was orderly – as orderly as 235 Democrats in one place can be – and it was friendly, and everyone left with a good feeling. Of course, 155 of those people left with a slightly better feeling, but overall, it was a good experience for all involved.
No questionable or illegal proceedings. No voter disenfranchisement. No shouting, crying, or police. Just 235 people, excited about a Presidential election, enthusiastically spending a couple of hours to help determine its course.