So last night the whole family went to the local caucus. It was quite the learning experience. I made the boys go so that they could see what a caucus was all about. It's amazing to me how much people DON'T KNOW about how the political system works in this country. SO let me take a minute to explain the system as it is here in Colorado to everybody.
Here in Colorado they do what's known as a non-binding caucus. So it's a bit different than some other caucuses. Here's what happens:
1. EACH precinct gets together on a specified night at a specified meeting location. For our district it was the local town's meeting room. We had I believe 4 different precincts represented.
2. We started out with a group meeting with all the precincts to say an opening prayer, do The Plege of Allegiance and give each candidate (or somebody willing to speak for the candidate) 2 minutes to say their peace. EACH candidate could only be talked about 1 time. This could be local, state, or national candidates.
3. We then broke into separate areas to have our precinct meeting.
4. In the precinct meeting we took a straw poll about who we wanted to be the Republican nominee for President. This is simply a quick poll that means absolutely nothing. There are no delegates awarded here, there are no official votes that bind anybody to anything. This is just a snap shot to see who is running ahead of who.
5. After the straw poll we then moved on to electing our precinct chair and co-chair. It's pretty informal and basically this is the organizer of the party for our voting precinct. I'll get into this later.
6. Once the party precinct chair and co-chair are elected we move onto the election of delegates. Our precinct gets 2 delegates. These aren't presidential delegates, but they may eventually be. These are the people that will go to the county Republican convention. Here, each precinct delegate will have the opportunity to run for state delegate. Now, you gotta be realistic here, I live in Pueblo County, there will be I think something like 104 delegates selected to go to state, from state, ALL the counties delegates may choose to run for the National Convention, BUT the ENTIRE state of Colorado is only allowed 10 delegates, so you gotta figure there will be 500 or so delegates there, and only 10 get to move onto the National Convention........just so you understand what small chance each person has. BUT they are important at the state level. At the state level the people wanting to run for office will speak and the delegates that will be effected by them will vote if they get to be on the ballot or not. This is where I lost out on my last run for office. They didn't put me on the ballot.
7. After the delegates are selected, we move onto resolutions that we want to be part of the party platform. This is where the everyday citizen gets to have a say in the political process.
8. After that we wrap it up and all go home! :)
In a few months the State of Colorado will have a primary election. THAT's the time that the delegates will be awarded to the Presidential Candidate that wins. That's why it's STILL important to go to the primary! :)
NOW, here's a few back door things. The precinct chair has a VERY important job. When I was growing up in Michigan (a state that is almost 3-1 Democrat) the Republican Precinct chair would send a birthday card to everybody on their 17th birthday telling them not to forget to register to vote on their next birthday. On your 18th birthday you got a card welcoming you to voting age, and asking you to please consider registering as a Republican. That makes QUITE the impression on young adults. I'm kinda surprised that in a swing state like Colorado, nothing like this goes on. In fact, that's the only state I've lived in where something like that happened. That's an involved precinct chair. If all of them throughout the country did this, registration may just jump!
I think also that if more effort was made by the people that run the party to explain what exactly goes on at the caucus, more people would be willing to come out.
Interesting things happen locally. Although I'm a STAUNCH Republican, I'll always remember the words of Tip O'Neil, "All politics are local!"
Till next time -
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