Democracy in Action?
I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that it is time to retire the caucus system and go to a primary. I did like the caucus when it was manageable. My first caucus upon moving to this state in 1978 was in a neighbor’s living room and there were eight of us. We had the opportunity to actually discuss issues as well as vote our candidate preferences; a kind of mini-town hall.
The caucus meetings later moved to publicly accessible places and became larger in attendance. Accessibility seems negotiable; in 2008, our precinct caucus was held at Nova High School, which has a number of steps leading up to the front doors. We had a voter in a wheelchair who was understandably upset. With no accessible entrance to the main building, we were moved to a portable on the school grounds. The portable held about a dozen people, and our leader had to stand at the door to the portable to address the large crowd that could not get in. Fortunately, it was a warm day; if it had been raining, there might have been a revolution.
At some point, we lost the ability to discuss any issues due to the large numbers of attendees. In retrospect, we probably should have gone to the primary system then, as we had lost the “town hall’ aspect of the meetings. But with a primary, we stand to lose the democratic electing of delegates to the next level. If the choice of delegates is transferred to the party “bosses,” the average person has no chance of becoming a delegate. It will always fall to the long-time party members who have paid their dues (both financially and in time, attending endless meetings). It is this piece that needs to be looked at; many young people were able to be delegates in this current caucus system, flawed as it is.
Those who had to work or had physical issues in getting to the caucus were able to vote on “surrogate” forms, IF they applied a week ahead. This was an improvement over past caucuses.
Our lower Leschi precincts met at Leschi School, and it was crowded with not enough seats, and the available seats were designed for little bodies. I fe