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:
- signing in and declaring a preference,
- the first round of balloting, and
- the selection of delegates.
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.