If you have "no place to go," come here!

She got that right



"We need to get rid of caucuses," said Melissa Whitener, a waitress from Conneaut, Penn., who traveled to lobby the Democratic National Committee as it prepared its party platform.

"Caucuses are inherently unfair," she said. "I work in a restaurant. I can't take off a whole shift to go sit in a caucus. We need to all be on the same primary system. Why should 2,000 people in Iowa have the same say as 2 million in Pennsylvania?"

Why, indeed?

Let the snickering begin! Who needs waitresses in Donna Brazile's new party? Waitresses don't use twitter. They aren't shiny!

Double shot? Cinnamon?

NOTE More caucus horror.

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Historiann's picture
Submitted by Historiann on

I posted on the Colorado caucus on Super Tuesday, after I got back home from caucusing. Although I live in a town that is 1/3 Latino, we had only a few Latino/as in attendance (out of 150-200 people). The caucus population was heavily white, male, and middle-aged to senior citizens (able-bodied only, natch!) I voted in the extreme minority with the other HRC supporters--we were outvoted 3:1. Although Clinton was ahead in the polls in my state through most of the primary, Obama ended up winning the caucuses 3:1. Go figure. I guess all of our waitresses--Anglo and Latino--and mothers of small children who can't get away on a Tuesday night in February for 3 hours just don't really matter here.

Informally, I heard from other people in town that the Obama caucus-goers, who were overwhelmingly first-timers this winter, left immediately after the presidential preference vote, leaving the old-timers (among whom HRC supporters were much more numerous) to elect the delegates to go to the county convention. This meant that people who had caucused for Clinton were then asked to go caucus for Obama at the county convention, because the Obama supporters couldn't be bothered to stay through the whole caucus and actually do the hard work of attending the county and state conventions...

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

The Democratic Party is not Donna Brazille's party, and no amount of saying that will make it so. Yes, I do understand the point that you are making, however I can personally introduce you to at least five waitresses of my acquaintance who have been inspired by Obama to become more politically involved, and for the first time in their lives, to declare themselves Democrats. Two of them are black, two Latino and one is "white." They were also inspired by Hillary's last several months of campaigning, after I helped disabuse them of the media narratives about both Clintons that had been embedded in their thinking starting back in the nineties. Once they "got" it, btw, they were right on top of that final "smear" about RFK and raising the spectre of assassination, and Obama got some important demerits from them about having passed on Olbermann's rant to other reporters.

All of which means precisely nothing, except it it sometimes well to remember you do not speak for the world, or even for all "real" liberals and progressives.

It might also be well to remember that the caucus system has a long and honorable history. I am personally of the opinion that it may just be time to move to a system of of primary elections in every state, and perhaps to move away from the winner takes all formula as well. However, those states which may be reluctant to change their system are not going to be persuaded by snide contempt. And they are certainly not going to be persuaded by outsiders who insist on presenting the caucus system as a corrupt elitism.

Submitted by lambert on

... was grossly classist, as was the episode of Donna Brazile.

As for the waitresses you know, good for them, and good for you.* I expect they'll end up disappointed in the ability of the Democratic Party, or Obama, to deliver what they need or expect, on which I've called my shot. It would be nice to be wrong.

In any case, advocating for a primary system where their votes might actually count is a progressive cause, yes?

NOTE * And thank the good Lord they didn't read Bowers, et al, but ran into you instead.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

is California a caucus state, Leah? Or is the "CA" next to your name incorrect?

The question isn't whether this election energized people -- and its NOT about Obama (despite your attempt to make it so.) Its about how caucuses result in discrimination against certain classes of voters.

Submitted by lambert on

because the Obama campaign leveraged the discrimination (just like they leveraged hatred of the Clintons, misogyny, and false charges of racism). Therefore, they need to be held accountable for it, and immediately, because otherwise it will never get done.

However, these are also standalone issues, justice issues: That is, as if it needed to be said, our voting system shouldn't systematically discriminate against classes of voter, misogyny isn't a good thing under some circumstances, et cetera.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Corner Stone's picture
Submitted by Corner Stone on

Another STFU post. Quelle surprise.

Farmboy's picture
Submitted by Farmboy on

but 39.5% of the registered Democratic voters in Iowa took part in the Jan. 3 caucus this year: 239,000 which is a bit more than the "2000 people in Iowa" she mentioned.

Of course, her comment may have been "just a joke" which I didn't get.

My tuppence towards a factually-based discourse.

Submitted by lambert on

The disparity between the weights that caucus votes have and the weights that primary votes have is pretty big, though. I don't see how its fixable. I mean, secret ballot elections were invented for a reason, and I don't see why we would want to move away from them....

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

just not for a supposedly democratic republic of federated states in which all states are supposed to have equal representation or fairly proportional representation and/or both.

to me, it's always been a simple question, and the initial comment demonstrates that it's a relevant one: can everyone attend who wants to go? obviously, for the working poor, those without cars or english skills, those who lace the social skills to participate so's a long list of folks who for many legit reasons, can't or won't caucus.

there's nothing wrong with voting secret ballot on an election day. i'd like to see "election day" extended to two days, including one weekend day, but if we have to choose, i'll always choose that over a caucus. that latter is great for high school debating societies and ladies' gardening clubs, but not a fair and equal democracy.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Caucuses barely make any sense in physically-small, sparesly-populated states, and I'm talking places like Rhode Island, Vermont, etc...let alone for the other 45 of so states. lol One needs only to look at South Dakota on the primary map amongst the sea of caucus states, and the results of the Washington and Nebraska non-binding primary results to see how poorly causes measure "fear reflection"

BTW, I do agree with Paul, though, this particular primary season may have displayed better than most others how poor caucuses at accurately showing fair reflection, at the end of the day, this isn't really about the particular players so much as the system.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

without input from the DNC. In Kansas there was a huge uproar over the horror of ours.

It would have been bad enough to schedule them in places that could only hold a couple of hundred people (thousands showed up at each one) but we had an ice storm followed by a blizzard.

It was horrific. And the papers were screaming about it for weeks afterwards.