Saturday, March 29, 2008

Better Know a Delegate*

In February, I received an email from a local group of fellow Obama campaign supporters and volunteers mentioning that the Missouri State Democratic Party would be holding caucus meetings in March at the ward and township level to elect delegates to the Missouri State Democratic Convention.

Even though I would consider myself to be a pretty well politically engaged citizen— I follow political news closely; I research political candidates; I attend political rallies; I vote regularly in both national and local elections; I have been known to voluntarily watch CSPAN—I had never been to a Missouri caucus meeting before. As a matter of fact, I had never really considered going to my home state’s Democratic caucus before.

Why not?

Well, in Missouri, we hold a Democratic presidential primary, and the number of delegates assigned to each candidate is determined by the results of that primary. The Missouri caucuses are held, not to choose a candidate, but to choose which Democratic party members from each ward, district or township will be sent to the Missouri State Democratic Convention as delegates pledged to vote for a particular candidate, and then to select a small number of those state-level pledged delegates to be sent on to the Democratic National Convention.

In the past I have trusted that, if I voted in a primary, my voice would be heard by the state party; the election of delegates seemed little more than a symbolic process to me. In recent decades, most Democratic presidential primaries have been decided long before the Democratic National Convention, and the delegates who attended most recent national conventions have done little more than ratify the ascendancy of an already chosen candidate.

But, as any Democrat with a television or internet access knows, this election cycle, things are different.

This time, the fight for the 2008 presidential nomination may well continue right into Denver. And even if it doesn’t, the 2008 Democratic National Convention is certain to go down in history, either as the first to nominate a woman presidential candidate, or the first to nominate an African-American presidential candidate.

This year, I found myself very interested in the Missouri caucuses.

And so, I went to my township caucus meeting, where, much to my surprise, I was elected a state-level delegate on the spot, without even having to plead my case—the turnout at my township meeting was so low that I was basically pressed into service. My husband was also named an Obama delegate at the same meeting.

Thursday night, we attended the Congressional District Caucus Meeting for Missouri's First Congressional District.

If you'd like to read my account of the national-level delegate selection process there, go and check out my very first post at Momocrats!

I'm really honored to have been invited to join this group of passionate, intelligent, opinionated women bloggers. Whether you're interested in a parental perspective on progressive politics, or you're just looking for more news and views about this year's historic Democratic presidential primary race, if you haven't visited Momocrats yet, you don't know what you're missing. Go check it out!

*As always, props to my secret lover Stephen Colbert.


Lisa said...

Congrats, woman. On being a delegate and writer for Momocrat blog. Very cool.

Ok. Need to go over there and check out your post ....

Fran said...

Came here via John... nice blog. Off to Momcrats to see your other post.

alicewonderland said...

I think some of this comes down to usability. People are lazy, and you have to accept it and build to it. More people might show up at the local end if it was better publicized. Where is the media at for these events?
Off to Momocrat.
BTW, my 5 year-old made an election prediction the other day. She leaned towards me and said, "I don't think Hillary is going to be president."