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I Am A Delegate...

…To the County and Legislative Conventions of the Washington Democratic Party in May. Unfortunately, I'm not a Rev. Sharpton delegate, which was the plan. Here's what happened:

Shelly and I went to the local caucus over on 75th Street, at the school there. The attendance was amazing; roughly 2/3 of the visitors had never participated in a caucus before. Our precinct, the 2233rd, was to select three delegates to the regional conventions. Those conventions pick state delegates, and the state delegates will go to the national convention to nominate a candidate for president.

The Washington Democratic Caucus process works in three stages:
  1. signing in and declaring a preference,
  2. the first round of balloting, and
  3. the selection of delegates.
Our precinct didn't go multiple rounds of caucusing, though there was some stumping. The results of the sign-in were good for Sharpton (4 of 33 votes), but better for Kerry, Dean, and Undecided. Clark got a single vote.

I attempted to elevate Sharpton to our natural allies, the Kucinich supporters. No go; they outnumbered us. My support of Sharpton was skin-deep; I convinced my fellow Sharpton voters to join forces with the Kucinich group, and what do you know, that put Kucinich ahead of Edwards. We tied with Dean, and had enough support to get a delegate from our precinct. I was mildly amazed that I got my Sharptonites in line so easily, to be honest. Meanwhile, the Dean group was organized enough to also get 11 votes and a delegate. Finally, Kerry limped in with 8 votes and our third delegate. shellyinseattle was one of the Kerry supporters, but not a delegate. Edwards was shut out.

The actual politicking held only moderate appeal for me; I'm usually not a big deal-maker. The best part was meeting the neighbors, listening to what they had to say. Democracy at its most basic is fairly invigorating, though the Seattle version is a little too polite for my tastes (the most negative comments anyone made were about electability and "selling out").

I met the other Sharpton supporters (all white men, one a teacher — though the district has both black and Hispanic residents, they weren't present at the caucus), plus some other folks who live on our street. Since each precinct is so small in the city, you pretty much meet folks within a few blocks of your home. Anything that expands the bonds of community is fine with me, and worth the coming deluge of Democratic party appeals and political junk mail.


I'm a Kucinich alternate delegate to the county convention in May. If he drops out, I become an Uncommitted alternate delegate.

The process was enjoyable, and done in less than 2 hours. I don't understand why more people don't get involved in local politics.

Comments

( 10 sutras — Your wisdom )
xenmis
Feb. 7th, 2004 11:16 pm (UTC)
I can't believe...
That you would even /CONSIDER/ Al Sharpton. You're joking, right? I'm going to pinch myself and I better wake up from this nightmare.

*pinch*
the_monkey_king
Feb. 7th, 2004 11:29 pm (UTC)
Re: I can't believe...
Why the hell not? He's right on all the issues, and he impressed the hell out of me in the radio debates. Have you heard him speak? He's got rhetoric down to an art. So much less weasel talk than anyone else.

What's your objection to his candidacy?
mckitterick
Feb. 8th, 2004 03:50 am (UTC)
Re: I can't believe...
You're serious? You must not have seen the televised debates. He does a great job at raising issues, but comes across as realllly uninformed about a lot of topics one had better understand to be Prez. Of course, this comes from a guy who matches his politics almost 100%.

I find it really scary how you make it sound as if the nomination process is decided by a group of a few dozen people. I mean, gawd, I think the Electoral College is horrific enough, and how one Prez candidate wins an entire state when he only gets, say, 100 more votes than the other guy, but I get creeped out hearing about it.

Is there more to this process than you're suggesting? I mean, is there any real reason for people to vote?

Chris
the_monkey_king
Feb. 8th, 2004 08:04 am (UTC)
Re: I can't believe...
The point of voting for someone like Kucinich or Sharpton isn't that you ever expect them to be president. It's that you want their issues to get attention. I walked into the caucus expecting to see Dean and Kerry sweep the delegates, and I was surprised by the depth of support for Kucinich. So I said, what the heck, the nominations are about ideals and a platform.

Being uninformed on the issues is not a disqualification for the presidency, as you know. If anything, being a policy wonk who understands government's role is (sadly) perceived as a flaw by the voters.

I'm sorry if I make it sound like the people choose candidates, but that's exactly what happens. The die-hards rule the primaries. This is why people like Jerry Brown or Pat Buchanan or George Bush or Jesse Jackson could get delegates — they appeal to radical elements in their party. But the nomination process is averaged out by tens of thousands of caucuses across the country. My precinct nominated 3 out of the ~7,600 state nominating delegates. Note that the caususing process is NOT winner take all, like the Electoral College. It's proportional representation.

There's no real reason to vote as long as the Rs rig elections with Diebold machines and other frauds. But if you don't vote, you pretty much concede the field of American political life to the evangelicals, the senior vote, and other mass movements. I'd rather be involved, even if my hopes are rarely realized by the American political mainstream.
(Deleted comment)
the_monkey_king
Feb. 9th, 2004 12:30 am (UTC)
Re: I can't believe...
I withdraw my support for the Reverend. Thanks for the pointer!
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
the_monkey_king
Feb. 9th, 2004 03:32 am (UTC)
Re: Mr Reading Comprehension weighs back in.
Jeff and I now greet each other with "In the name of the Senate and the People of Rome!", followed by the proper salute.

Lesser mortals can only shake their heads in wonder.
shellyinseattle
Feb. 8th, 2004 04:39 am (UTC)
I am really proud of the Monkey King stepping up as an alternate delegate. So many people want things to change and don't do anything. You go!

For another view of the same caucus and a list of why your actions like voting count, check out my LJ site
(Deleted comment)
xenmis
Feb. 9th, 2004 12:05 am (UTC)
Re: *sigh* STUPID LJ!
Gee, I don't know... he's a HATE MONGER and the worst kind of self-aggrandizer who uses RACIAL ISSUES to get ahead. Live in NYC for a few years, and he'd sicken you as well.

ooh ooh... here we go... from the Village Voice:

"A good place for Sharpton's humility to start? The farcical Tawana Brawley incident. The reverend made a national name backing Brawley's tale of rape and abuse at the hands of a gang of white men, including a local prosecutor. Brawley's unfortunate deception was long ago revealed, but Sharpton claims to believe her even today.

At every media stop, journalists have rightly challenged Sharpton about Brawley. In response he has been defensive, invoking the specter of racism and insisting that other candidates have just as many skeletons. He recently noted that if he'd derided foreign-born citizens the way possible Democratic candidate Gary Hart did, the denunciations would have flooded in. True, but ultimately irrelevant."

and

"Sharpton, for all his eloquence and folksiness, went long on rhetoric but short on specifics. "I'm glad Saddam Hussein was toppled," he said. "But I'd like to see things toppled in this country, like poverty and illiteracy."

If Sharpton is to be more than a sideshow, he has to surround himself with people who are smarter than he is—campaign operatives who can absorb the intricacies of taxes, homeland security, and welfare reform, and then school him. Not having the burden of trying to win frees up Sharpton to push important ideas that may not be poll winners. "There are real issues out there, but he has to show himself to be knowledgeable," says Aronowitz. "He's got to have a firm grasp of international relations. It's not enough to say, 'I'm against the war.' What is his approach to foreign policy? Where does he stand on taxes? Is he for a single-payer health plan?""

Already bets are being taken that when Sharpton does not get the nomination, he'll be less than forthcoming with support for the Democratic nominee. The New Republic opined sinisterly: "Anyone who rules out the possibility that in August 2004 an aggrandized Sharpton will, after a private conversation with Karl Rove, issue a pained statement declaring that the Democratic nominee has betrayed the party's base and doesn't deserve the reverend's endorsement should have a conversation with Robert Abrams, Mario Cuomo, or Mark Green."

Sharpton has to remember the moral point of his candidacy—this is not a scorched-earth campaign.

back to me:
And all of that was taken from a PRO-Al Sharpton left wing newspaper. They're just citing what we all think about him (I just cut out the bits where they give their theories on how to fix it)

Maybe you like what he stands for NOW, but frankly, I have a hard time overlooking what he has done in the past. If there is one political figure I honestly DESPISE, you found him.

For another viewpoint, see
http://www.grouchyoldcripple.com/archives/000382.html

If you really want to get into it, I'll assemble a lot of shite that came about while I was living in NYC, and I'll even look at the platforms he's 'preaching' now... and we can discuss it next month. :)
the_monkey_king
Feb. 9th, 2004 12:28 am (UTC)
Re: *sigh* STUPID LJ!
If Sharpton's the only politician you honestly despise, I'd be very surprised. My own list runs to several pages, and starts with Tom Delay, who is one of the sorriest excuses for a party leader I've ever seen. He makes Nixon look virtuous.

Sharpton's "hate-mongering" seems fairly mild by comparison. He's a rabble-rouser, but hardly a criminal on the scale of many of our elected officials.

Since my support for the Reverend is about an inch deep, and the Village Voice etc are fairly persuasive, I'm abandoning my support for him.
mckitterick
Feb. 9th, 2004 05:02 am (UTC)
Re: *sigh* STUPID LJ!
It only goes to show how little influence Sharpton has had on the race that this stuff isn't news for the mainstream media. Either that, or it proves that Republicans or other right-wingers own the media...

Chris
( 10 sutras — Your wisdom )

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