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Caucus
buzzed, B&W
hairylunch
I just got done participating in my caucus. Interesting experience, and one that definitely makes me feel more involved in the democratic process. Democratic results are being called in as I type (Hillary is edging out Obama with 50.5% vs 45.2%), and with about 1/3 of the precincts reporting for the GOP, looks like Romney's got 54% with Ron Paul tied with McCain in second with 13%. Crazy how far ahead Romney is, and how the results are so different from early states. An impressive showing for Dr. Paul!

Nevada's been described as the first test in the West for the candidates, and the results are showing that the west really is different. Ron Paul with an impressive showing, and Edwards coming up much weaker than he has in either Iowa or New Hampshire (30% and 17% respectively, with only 4% in NV).



As mentioned previously, the caucus definitely made me feel more involved. Earlier, when speaking with friends, I had mentioned how I didn't want to spend two hours on a Saturday, that I'd much rather have a primary where I could fill out a ballot, drop it in a box, and be done with it. But, I liked the process. In my precinct, we were deciding for 14 delegates, and there were 86 of us present. On the other hand, I spoke with Greg right after we finished, and his precinct had 10 delegates, but over 160 people. I liked th caucus, because with the small number we had present, I felt very involved. I spoke to a few other people, and it made it an interactive experience, rather than the insular experience that voting has been for me. Surprising to me was that people were campaigning within the caucus location, but in hindsight that makes sense. That's the whole purpose of a caucus, to allow people to speak to others, to try to influence people to their cause, etc.

In my precinct, ~6 people equated to a delegate. With rounding, as few as 3 could make a difference! After the first round, Obama, Clinton, and Edwards were viable, and the 9 Kucinich supporters had to switch. After the switch, Edwards went from 2 to 3 delegates. What was also surprising was that none of the Kucinich supporters went to Clinton, but split between Edwards and Obama. In the end, my precinct went 7/4/3 for Obama, Clinton, and Edwards respectively.

The disparity between downtown and the northwest where Greg is was clearly shown today though. 160 for 10 votes vs. the 86 for 14 votes. Median household income for 89501 is $22,342, with 15.7% have a bachelors or higher, while 89523 has a median income almost triple that at $59,212 and 38.8% having college educations. While correlation is not causation, it seems hard to argue against the fact that income and education play significantly in participation in the democratic process.

The one other thing that bugged me is the lack of understanding of the process, even by the precinct captain. In my mind, caucuses are pretty simple, with a candidate needing at least 15% to be viable, and delegates being assigned proportionally with supporters. While I applaud whoever made the decision to make the process transparent by assigning time to explain the process, and using a whiteboard to show the calculations, the weakness was that the person explaining the process did, in my opinion, a poor job. I feel there were a lot of people who did not understand the formula given ([number of participants supporting a candidate*number of delegates]/[total participants]), and while they worked things out on the whiteboard, they were obviously fumbling around.

Overall though, my experience today was such that I felt very involved in the process, even if I don't believe my candidate (Edwards) can win the nomination.

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