Tuesday, January 05, 2010

What the @$%^&* is a “walking caucus,” anyway?

The precinct caucuses and the district and county conventions are coming up. Perhaps you are considering attending, but you have no idea what to expect.

First of all, you can expect people to help you find the right room for your caucus; you can find your caucus location by contacting the state parties. There will also be a “caucus convener” whose job it is to get the caucus started. If you attend a caucus and have a candidate or issue that is important to you, the chances are excellent that you can get a spot as a delegate to the district or county convention.

If there are more people who want to attend the conventions than are allowed by your caucus, you may have to “run” for a convention delegate spot; be prepared to give a one minute or so speech on why you should go. But relax, everyone there will be your neighbor; it is the purest form of democracy that you will ever experience.

At the lowest level of conventions (basically, the Senate district level), you will be asked to vote to endorse candidates for the state house and senate seats in your legislative districts.

At these district and county conventions, the competition for slots as delegates to the congressional and state conventions is a lot keener. This is where the walking caucus comes in. Delegates will seek to form “viable” caucuses to elect delegates to the congressional and state conventions; the latter, of course, is where the endorsement for governor and the other state-wide office will be made. The delegates for the congressional and state conventions will be chosen from within these viable caucuses.

“Viable caucuses” are determined by having a sufficient number of delegates coalesce around a candidate or a cause. It’s kind of like a giant game of musical chairs where people in “non-viable” caucuses are encouraged to walk to another, larger caucus that needs people to be viable itself.

Still confused? Don’t worry; the likelihood of serious injury is nil.

One of the most popular programs ever at Drinking Liberally was an evening a couple of years ago where attendees were, er, walked though the process. We’re going to try to do that again this year, sometime in January, so if you have questions about the process, be on the look out for the date and come with your questions.

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