Texas Dirty Tricks Update

Ann Althouse has new information about the dirty tricks I first reported about campaign shenanigans in Tuesday's Texas caucuses.

Ann says it's a likely explanation for why Obama is winning in caucus delegates but not in primary votes.

Just another reason to avoid caucusing at all cost now. Caucuses can work when they are held as originally intended...for small neighborhood groups of voters to get together in a room and discuss the candidates and policy and then advocate for their choice and vote. They don't work when you have hundreds of people lined up to get in, are limited to designated two hour period and descend into chaos.

The caucuses I attended this year in Iowa and Denver were chaotic. Texas sounds worse. I hope the Dems learn from this experience.

< Obama Advisor Calls Hillary a Monster | Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Her son is dead on with this description (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by RalphB on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:41:55 PM EST
    These caucuses need to be completely eliminated now.  They are a mockery of democracy.

    This will never be reported (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by kenosharick on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:41:59 PM EST
    in the MSM or most blogs.

    So if this report is at all indicative... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Maria Garcia on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:43:36 PM EST
    ...of what went on in Texas then this superior, progressive, bottom up ground game that Obama camp has organized and deployed is really just a bunch of tricksters and/or bullies. These tactics are voter suppression and when it comes to citizen's right to vote on election day, it is shameful to use games, tricks, or deceptions of any kind.

    It's (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by tek on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:03:35 PM EST
    The Chicago Smackdown he brags about all the time,i.e. corruption.

    My friend in TX sent me an e-mail on (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by hairspray on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:24:25 PM EST
    Wednesday and validated all of our worst fears about these fraudulent proceedings.  Her caucus was taken over by 2 "agressive" Obama supporters who left with the official paper work!!! My friend wonders what happened then, since in her group Hillary had won.

    She should file a complaint (none / 0) (#72)
    by Cream City on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:56:59 PM EST
    -- Texas Secretary of State -- or heck, I'm mad enough to do it for her.

    I e-mailed her on Friday, but didn't have (none / 0) (#89)
    by hairspray on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 07:08:07 PM EST
    a specific address.  Thanks I will follow up.

    p.s. Now I see Angel's comment (none / 0) (#73)
    by Cream City on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:58:01 PM EST
    downthread about another avenue for filing a complaint. Maybe she can provide a link for your friend.

    Just because (none / 0) (#11)
    by sander60tx on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:15:24 PM EST
    there may have been dirty tricks in some places, doesn't mean it happened across the board.  I was on the Obama campaign's e-mail list and detected no organized effort to cheat the system.  Both campaigns, plus the local democratic party, tried to educate as many people as possible about how the caucus system works.  As a result, the caucuses were less chaotic than they probably would have been otherwise. People harly ever participate in the caucuses, so it was a new experience for almost everybody!

    What comes out of the national campaign office (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Angel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:59:13 PM EST
    isn't necessarily what the local offices do.  

    it keeps happening, and (none / 0) (#66)
    by kangeroo on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:33:49 PM EST
    i haven't seen obama denounce, reject, or decry it.  seems like he tacitly approves of it.

    I was referring to (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by NJDem on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:44:48 PM EST
    MSM journalists--like a cover story in the NYT, WashPost, or Time, Newsweek, etc.  Actually, 60 Minutes would be perfect!  TV reaches more people and they'll have visuals/video--like that YouTube of the Dallas caucus.  

    Hillary's campaign sent out an email today (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by Angel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:41:06 PM EST
    asking anyone who witnessed or experienced any disruption or incidents at their caucus Tuesday night to get in touch with her legal team.  The email listed the kinds of information they want and where to direct that information.  

    This is a very serious issue and I am glad they are contemplating doing something about it.

    Almost no new reporting (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by p lukasiak on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:03:29 PM EST
    I copied the caucus results put out by the Texas Democratic Party last night -- and there was almost no new caucus results reported today -- and most counties ave less than 1/3 reported.

    I have the feeling this is gonna be a GIANT clusterf*ck -- that so many irregularities have been reported that the party can't keep up with them all, and are completely swamped.  I also think that the results that were up yesterday were from people who actually made the mandatory phone call Tuesday night -- everyone else is already in violation of the rules.

    I'm pretty sure the phone line thing is voluntary. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Angel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:08:59 PM EST
    Caucus results are not official until after the state convention, which comes after the county conventions.  County conventions are not until March 29th.

    From one of the TDP's handouts.. (none / 0) (#53)
    by p lukasiak on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:24:19 PM EST
    This is from one of the Texas Democratic Party's handouts for the caucuses...

    There are four things you must do:
    1. Call in the results of your precinct convention into the toll free results hotline number located on the "Results Hotline" flyer. (The Results Hotline toll-free number is 1-800-336-3248). Each precinct will have a unique access code to identify their precinct. The system is an automated system - simply follow the prompts and punch in the information the system asks you to input (see flyer for the process).

    you are correct with regard to "official" results, but caucus chairs were required to make those calls once the precinct caucus ended.


    Thanks for the factual information. (none / 0) (#56)
    by Angel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:27:09 PM EST
    It's posting the results that is voluntary (none / 0) (#74)
    by Cream City on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:59:26 PM EST
    on the part of the party, and I think it's clear why it doesn't want to do so just now. Wait until the buzz dies down, media won't notice, etc.

    The Clinton (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by tek on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:07:47 PM EST
    campaign must not accept caucuses in MI and FL.  I can't believe the DNC is actually pushing such a biased idea.  If they do that, I'm done with the Dems.  Why don't they just appoint Obama the nominee?

    Obama lost because he was not on Florida Ballot (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by downtownted on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:19:36 PM EST
    Watching 10pm news in Chicago. Astounding statement that Barrack lost Florida because he was not on Florida ballot.  Not sure where this sort of misinfo comes from, but has potential big negative in November. The big negative (low support by Obama folks for HRC or by Clintonistas for Barrack) is a downer for all of us. My goodness, just think of another Republican Pres appointing more Supremes to subvert the rights of people and allow corptocracy to squish us some more.

    I'm afraid this has become common lore. Even (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Angel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:24:54 PM EST
    my husband, a Hillary supporter, argued with me the other night that BO wasn't on the FL ballot.  I had to go to the CNN website and show him the vote tally.  This is just like those idiots who belived (still believe?) that Iraq had WMDs or that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the plane crashes on 9/11.

    He got like 67 delegates (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by kredwyn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:10:57 PM EST
    You can't get delegates unless you're on the balot.

    I Caucused on Tuesday (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by zfran on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:26:58 PM EST
    in Texas. For all of the people who said they "just signed in" and left, mine was a very different experience. We were told we could not start until after everyone in the outside line had voted so when we were packed into our venue at by 7:15, we did no caucusing until around 10:00p.m. This was not even a "caucus-like" atmosphere. We were told to elect a precinct captain and secretary (our particular grouping was about 90 people among about 200 others enjoined in one precinct). There were no forms present to sign and we lined up on the right for Sen. Clinton, left for Sen. Obama, they counted each side,found some forms for us to fill out (not sign by the way) and then we would leave if we didn't want to be a delegate in the next step.
    Very unorganized, very willy nilly, very dumb!!
    P.S. we didn't even have to show that we had voted in the primary earlier!!

    Good grief. Proving that one had voted in the (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by Angel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:32:26 PM EST
    primary is the first criteria to attend and be part of the caucus.  I shudder to think how much of this went on.  The forms did not require a signature but they did require a name, address, voter ID number (a unique number), and candidate preference, which was supposed to be written by the voter, in person.  

    This is one reason why the caucus delegates should not be awarded.  No checks and balances.  Ugh.  


    We were actually (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by zfran on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:36:29 PM EST
    told that we didn't need to prove we had voted as we wouldn't be there to "caucus" if we hadn't already done so. Also, for those who didn't have their voter card, thereby unable to put down their voter #, that it didn't matter, they said to just fill in the other info and they would look up the # later. Very unauthentic and I'm not too sure legally accomplished.

    Disappointing (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by sumac on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:36:27 PM EST
    the disparity that is clear among all of these different caucuses.

    I was required to show proof that I had voted - those who had voted just prior to the caucus had to stand in a line to make sure that their names were recorded in a book.

    So my experience was fine, but given the dissimilarity between caucuses, my thoughts that caucuses are undemocratic are only reinforced.


    I don't exactly care for Ann Althouse (none / 0) (#1)
    by Korha on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:31:23 PM EST
    But I agree caucuses ought to be eliminated. Also get rid of closed primaries (or have them with same-day registration changes).  

    what's wrong with closed primaries? (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Florida Resident on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:57:31 PM EST
    Well (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Korha on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:11:18 PM EST
    My argument is that if you can vote in the general election and you want to vote in the democratic primary, then you should be able to vote in it. The practical problem with closed primaries is that they exclude independents and disaffected republicans, skewing the primary electorate towards a set of demographics that force the candidates left when the goal should be to nominate the person with the greatest appeal in the general election. You can always use same-day registration to make non-democrats switch their party affiliation.

    But I think people could disagree on that issue. The case against caucuses is much more clear cut--just an abomination on every level, except that they cost less, I guess.  


    I feel that if you ... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:15:34 PM EST
    want to play a role in a particular party's nominating contests you should be registered as a member of that party.

    I disagree to me the name Internal Primaries (none / 0) (#14)
    by Florida Resident on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:17:47 PM EST
    is the key They are called Democratic and Republican Primaries.  They are not called General Primaries or Pre-election Votes.  These processes were not set up to gage the power potential in the GE as if they were some kind of Poll, they were set up to select the nominee of a specific party.  The Republicans have shied away more and more from open primaries and they have most presidential elections since 1952.  

    Correlation. (none / 0) (#32)
    by Arbitrarity on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:50:57 PM EST
    Does not equal causation.

    While I understand your argument (none / 0) (#84)
    by cmugirl on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:25:40 AM EST
    I think I would have to disagree.  The point of this whole circus is to nominate the DEMOCRATIC nominee for the party.  If independents and cross-overs feel so passionate about a Democratic candidate, then they should register say, at least a month before the primary.  There should be no such thing as same day registration.  It leads to campaigns like Obama has run, where they have flyers sent out to become a "Democrat for a Day".

    If you had a closed primary system, it would also negate the need for superdelegates, because the nominee would be chosen strictly by Democrats who voted (not caucused).


    Please don't insult other bloggers here (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:39:19 PM EST
    This is directed more to comments that may take off on what you say. You can say you disagree with her (as I do on most issues) but there's no need to insult her.

    Could you explain... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:18:07 PM EST
    ...how saying "I don't exactly care for Ann Althouse" is considered an "insult"? Or did you replace what was really said?

    I'm just curious, because I could think of a lot more insulting things to say about her.  god forbid I get censured or anything...


    No I was heading off further (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:33:58 PM EST
    comments that took off on that one and used name-calling or personal attacks. It was a warning to people who might want to jump in on the topic of Ann rather than what she wrote.

    Having read... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:48:48 PM EST
    ...what Ann "writes", it is pretty hard to seperate the two.  Her "writings" are a reflection of who she is.  Just like anyone.

    The first thing that popped into my head when I saw the post was "Ann Althouse, are you kidding me?"

    I guess I'm not used to pre-emptive scolding from you.  I sure hope this huge influx of new readers isn't getting to you.  That would be a shame.  


    Jeralyn, (none / 0) (#3)
    by NJDem on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:41:27 PM EST
    I'm sure you're way too busy to do this yourself, but do you know any respected journalists who can do a cover story this caucus fiasco?  

    No one I ask even knows what one is--LET alone how undemocratic they are--LET alone the dirty tricks by the BO camp.

    This is too important for just us political junkies to be talking about.  If people knew the truth, they would be outraged (I hope!).

    Agree. Since Iowa, I read local papers (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Cream City on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:34:39 PM EST
    in each caucus state, and the reports in Texas are just -- well, it's Texas -- a bit more over the top than what has been happening since the beginning.

    But the national media move on to the next state and don't look back to see what readers in the last caucus state were saying.  So every time that Donna "Watch Me Walk Out" Brazile blathers that the DNC wanted more caucuses because they're so "party-building," I'm revolted even more than usual.

    Caucuses have damaged Dems greatly this year, and a lot of people won't be back unless they can go in a polling booth.  Really.  The reports of voter suppression, voter intimidation, voter fraud and more from caucus state after caucus state, and almost all about one candidate's campaign, are simply appalling.


    Unfortunately (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Kathy on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:01:33 PM EST
    the usual reliable media outlets for this sort of investigative journalism have signed some kind of secret blood oath to not touch this story.  Who would be best to expose the TX chicanery?  Rolling Stone?  Newsweek?  Very unlikely considering one endorsed Obama today and the other published an article by Alter calling for Clinton to do the ladylike thing and step down.

    This is right up Josh's alley but ... (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Angel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:06:59 PM EST

    Have you... (none / 0) (#59)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:35:47 PM EST
    ...read any gripes about Iowa in the local fish-raps, Cream City?  I haven't seen any in the esteemed Des Moines Register, so just curious.

    Maybe I'm just old-fashioned (or just an ex-Iowan), but if the Iowa causus isn't party building, it is at least community and neighborhood building.  Sure, it's confusing to some and someone will always be left out of the process, but it is one of the few remaining times when neighbors can meet neighbors and talk politics.  

    I think we need more of that.    


    Yes, there was a reader comment site (none / 0) (#75)
    by Cream City on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:07:49 AM EST
    at the Des Moines Register online, full of reports and concerns that I started to read after hearing the same from Iowans I know. Ditto in the Nevada press online, where an Iowan signed on with the following that I saved (I wish I had done so sooner with the others): From Laura on Las Vegas Sun: In Iowa, we saw Obama operate Chicago machine politics at its worst. For each claim here, I've got at least two witnesses: We saw (1) vanloads of out-of-staters and under-aged voters dispatched to whichever precinct was "short" on Obama supporters (using a complex headset system worn by political "observers" working for Obama, as reported to me by friends at numerous caucuses around Des Moines). (2) Obama surrogates participated rather than observing. Former Mississippi governor Ray Mabus waded in among the caucusers in a downtown precinct and started pressuring people to shift to Obama. (This was so outrageous, I got 4 witnesses on it, and Eriposte, feel free to contact me directly for names and phone numbers). (3) The Iowa Democrats' overly polite "rules" for the caucus allowing everyone who showed up and filled out a slip with their "name" and "address" to vote. Many of us moms in the crowd knew perfectly well some of those young people were YOUNG and I mean 14 or 15. And just in case the teenagers weren't sure what birthday to put on their newest fake IDs, the Party kindly posted signs at every caucus with the cut-off birthday. The County Auditor tells me 37 of the new voters in my own precinct said they were 17 1/2 to 18. I'll be using the open records law to try and get access and check these. (4) Obama supporters, here as elsewhere, were booing and hissing at other Democrats' choice of alternate candidates. Anyone can see this for themselves on YouTube; check videotapes of that primary "launch" dinner in New Hampshire last week. (Do they actually think we'll vote for him in the general election now???). And (5) overwhelmed caucus chairpeople pretty much lost control of the process when more people showed up than there are households in any precinct. (My precinct is 20 short blocks by 3 major streets, taking in about 100-150 households, not all Dems or Indies, but we had 322 "Democrats" at our caucus. Other sites had 450+!!) Control was so lost that when my Republican neighbors left their own caucus and went down to see the Democratic one, they found the doors wide open; they walked in unchallenged and said they could easily have caucused. Sadly, I've been interviewing caucus-goers all over the greater Des Moines area and hearing the same stories: Open side doors that people came in by, observers by the dozens who were counted at some precincts, floods of people that no one who had been door-knocking for months for Biden, Edwards, or Clinton had ever seen before, arriving to caucus for Obama..... It was a dirty caucus and should not be regarded as any sort of mandate but one to clean up the process here. Meanwhile, 60% of the votes counted in the Iowa Democratic caucus were from the new "voters".

    You (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by tek on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:02:39 PM EST
    can contact any press service and bring a news story to their attention.  I just contacted Reuters and told them they should run a story on Ms. Powers calling Hillary a "monster."  They had a story about Obama's aides linking Hillary's foreign policy with McCain (!) so I just responded to it.

    There wasn't a caucus fiasco (none / 0) (#82)
    by Jgarza on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 02:06:05 AM EST
    this is made up by the Clinton campaign as an excuse for loosing it.

    I, my friends, and my family experienced it first hand.  


    Really? (none / 0) (#83)
    by sumac on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 02:40:04 AM EST
    Your family was able to participate in the caucuses of 8,247 precincts? That's amazing.




    The caucuses were chaotic (none / 0) (#9)
    by sander60tx on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:09:45 PM EST
    but there are many other explanations for why the totals differ, the most obvious being that not everyone who voted was able to go to the caucuses.  A good thing actually, because facilities were often not big enough to handle the crowds.  I arrived at my caucus at 6:50.  The rule was that the caucus starts at 7:15 or later if people are not finished voting in the primary.  (I don't see how doors could have closed at 7:15 - nobody should have been let in before that!)  I arrived at my caucus at 6:50 and the doors opened at 7:15.  I was done signing in at 7:45 and there were still people lined up outside the door when I left (after signing in).  I did not stay for the whole thing.  In any case, the process was poorly understood and chaotic, though I observed no dirty tricks during the sign in process at my caucus.  However, one thing the caucus DID accomplish was that the democratic party was able to gather data on thousands of people which it can use to help democrats win in Nov.  The process needs to be fixed, but the side benefit can't be ignored!

    "A good thing"? Caucuses discriminate (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Cream City on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:36:20 PM EST
    and keep too many people away owing to age, class, religion, and more. Really, read what you said.

    There is an air of desperation here. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Chango on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:15:29 PM EST
    Hillary is finished.  Obama has the most votes, the most states, and the most delegates - and there is no mathematical way for the Clintons to close the gap.  All they are doing is forestalling defeat at the expense of the party.  

    can you provide the mathematical (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by SarahinCA on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:26:46 PM EST
    evidence that Obama clinches the nomination?

    Yes (none / 0) (#76)
    by Chango on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:49:42 AM EST
    Most votes + most states + most delegates + most money + most contributors + most independents and new voters = nomination.

    Wrong Math (none / 0) (#78)
    by cdalygo on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:32:59 AM EST
    The only math that counts is the electoral college.

    Most votes from a state that does not go democratic in the GE means nothing. That's especially true when those "most votes" come out of the caucus system, which by it's nature suppresses the entire vote.

    Most independents and "new voters" can just as easily mean "democrat for a day." But if you don't accept it understand that Hillary pulled more of them in Ohio and Texas.

    Most donors is nice but what do you do with your money? He outspent her 4:1 but still lost. It's not a really good return on anyone's investment.

    Here is what equals the nomination ---> the person most able to win the battleground states and the necessary electoral votes.


    How odd (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by Steve M on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:40:14 PM EST
    that there is all this chatter about Hillary's tax returns, real estate deals, and such, considering that it is impossible for her to win.  I guess that suggests the Obama campaign likes to bring up such matters just for fun.

    please prove your comments or (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by hellothere on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:52:41 PM EST
    don't make them. i suggest to you since obama can't close the deal and get any of the big states, he would make a poor candidate in the general election.

    Your Opinion (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by tek on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:04:48 PM EST

    Do you dispute Obama lacks enough (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:28:58 PM EST
    reg. delegates to be the nominee prior to the convention?

    link? thx (none / 0) (#28)
    by thereyougo on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:42:13 PM EST
    I can't see how that's a good thing (none / 0) (#16)
    by sumac on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:18:29 PM EST
    "...not everyone who voted was able to go to the caucuses.  A good thing actually, because facilities were often not big enough to handle the crowds."

    I did not have a bad caucus experience in Texas. It was, for the most part, fine. However, I think we can see that the potential advantages (community building - I didn't get names and numbers of my fellow Democrats or Dems for a Day) don't outweigh the drawback, mainly the gross disenfranchisement of the electorate.

    Out of curiosity... (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by sweetthings on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:30:58 PM EST
    Are you seeing any widespread outrage among disenfranchised Texas democrats at the caucus?

    I haven't come across any yet, but I don't know how meaningful that is.


    my sister was at one and words cannot (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by hellothere on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:53:19 PM EST
    describe how disgusted she was.

    To be fair... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by sumac on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:19:00 PM EST
    I am a Hillary supporter, and I am opposed to caucuses (not just for the reason that I am a Hillary supporter ). But, no, my experience wasn't bad. It was a bit chaotic, but that's what happens when you force 250-300 people into a hot, elementary school gym.

    It was okay. Nothing to celebrate or condemn. I didn't witness any malfeasance. I did see some tempers start to flare, but it was nothing to compare to, say, a Thanksgiving family argument.


    I should add... (none / 0) (#50)
    by sumac on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:20:41 PM EST
    I have not witnessed a lot of outrage either, but that may be due to the fact that most of my friends are either Obama or Ron Paul supporters. :)

    Yes, once again I will say that the caucus system (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Angel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:34:08 PM EST
    sucks.  It disenfranchises voters.  I did not see one disabled person, one person over the age of about 65, and no single parens toting children at my caucus, and we had over 250 people attend.  Not everyone can fit an evening into their schedule, and not everyone can physically attend a caucus.  Disabled people who need a ballot for the general primary election can receive one by mail, but they can't get a ballot to for voting at the caucus.

    And add in the fact that most of these are held in venues smaller than can accomodate the crowd, and you get an unruly mass of people whose tempers are already short because of the closeness of the election and other factors.  The rules are somewhat hard to understand and there is no official training for the volunteer workers.  Thus chaos ensues.    

    If we've already voted once at the booth why should be have to vote again?  It is ridiculous.


    Your last sentence is why I am puzzled (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:38:43 PM EST
    about the TX Dems. thinking.  Why have a primary, followed by a caucus where the only people entitled to vote in the latter must prove they already voted in the former?  

    Texas allots delegates two ways. The first is (none / 0) (#29)
    by Angel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:45:42 PM EST
    based on the actual primary vote (in the booth, if you will) and the second is through the caucus (in the evening, open to people who voted).  A larger percentage is based on the primary vote and a smaller percentage is based on the caucus vote.

    Generally, only a very small percentage of primary voters show up to caucus.  Thus, whichever candidate has the most people attend caucus gets the most votes for that portion of the delegate allotment.

    Democrates in general, and Texas Democrats in particular, can wreck a one-car parade.


    but what added purpose does the caucus serve? (none / 0) (#67)
    by kangeroo on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:40:57 PM EST
    Bigger doesn't always mean better :) n/t (none / 0) (#51)
    by sumac on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:22:19 PM EST
    That was a TX reference... (none / 0) (#52)
    by sumac on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:23:18 PM EST
    ..not a reference to the bigger primary turnout vs the smaller caucus turnout. Bad time to try and be witty. Sigh.

    Well, (none / 0) (#42)
    by sander60tx on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:03:51 PM EST
    I am a single mom and I attended my Caucus with my two kids in tow (they're were a few other kids, but not many).  Ahead of me in line was a person in a wheelchair and another using crutches.  But I think you are right that many people don't go because they can't for various reasons.  My university did not excuse students or professors from their evening classes.  Also, many children (including one of mine) had to take the state-mandated TAKS test the next day, so parents needed to get their kids to bed on time.  That is one reason I left after signing in.  

    Glad you were able to attend. Many people did (none / 0) (#47)
    by Angel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:10:28 PM EST
    not have that luxury.  Again, this system disenfranchises people.  And when that happens the system becomes worthless.

    I can't think... (none / 0) (#63)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:05:34 PM EST
    ...of a system that isn't going to disenfranchise someone.  Even if you made elections and/ primaries a holiday or had them on a Saturday, someone is going to be left out.  That's pretty much how life is.

    VOTE BY MAIL (none / 0) (#77)
    by zyx on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:01:24 AM EST
    like we do in Oregon.

    Everyone, and I mean everyone, seems to love it.

    I sure do.


    Not the author of Deliver the Vote (none / 0) (#79)
    by Cream City on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:36:47 AM EST
    Just sayin' -- there is potential for fraud.  

    Just not in Oregon.  You're so darn good there.


    My friend in TX sent me an e-mail (none / 0) (#68)
    by hairspray on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:42:22 PM EST
    on Wednesday and her experience in El Paso was of having to fight off the "agressive" Obama supporter(who immediately got himself into the official position) and with the aid of his friend tried to control the whole process. Fortunately my friend is no fool, and Hillary did win.  However, Jamie was worried because as she said "The Obama precinct captain took the hand of the materials form (sic) the election judge, the official chairperson was from Hillary and by the end of the evening the official paperwork had vanished.  Well Official reporting paperwork.  We had the voter sign in sheets."   This sounds fishy to me as well.

    I'm not saying (none / 0) (#30)
    by sander60tx on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:47:37 PM EST
    that the advantage outweighs the disadvantages.  Just that there is a silver lining (i.e., the democratic party getting ahold of a lot of information it can use to benefit democratic candidates).  If having all that information, for example, can help us elect a democratic U.S. Senator (i.e., Rick Noriega), then I'd say that is a pretty big advantage.  But, yes, in principle, I agree that the caucuses are bad.  In many locations, there is no physical way for everyone to participate... my polling place could not possibly handle the number of people who were there to caucus that night. It was okay for signing in, but all the people who were in line could not fit in one room at the same time.  I agree that it disenfranchises people who cannot attend, unlike our early voting system which is great for allowing as many people as possible to participate.  I wrote to several state senators this morning asking them to please try to fix or eliminate this bizzare system.  I encourage other Texans to do the same.  Don't just complain... do something to help fix it!

    I'm bewildered by the caucus/primary (none / 0) (#25)
    by thereyougo on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:39:34 PM EST
    process. It seems the Obama people got a handle on it and the Hillary people thought the caucuses were going to be held in good faith and everyone was going to be honest about their votes but Obama supporters were in there just to vote for him.

    It appears this was their plan and Clinton's team thought naively that they would caucus. :\ ??

    You can't generalize (none / 0) (#35)
    by sander60tx on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:56:31 PM EST
    like that... different things happened in different places.  In my location, there was an Obama volunteer and a Hillary volunteer signing people in... they were cooperating with each other.  I believe that individuals from either campaign may have tried to play dirty tricks in some places, but I doubt that was an organized effort by either campaign.  At least not in my district.  The Obama people went out of their way to try to make sure the process went smoothly and according to the rules.  That was not an easy task!

    please don't try to blame this equally on (none / 0) (#69)
    by kangeroo on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:46:28 PM EST
    hillary.  obama seems to tacitly approve of the shenanigans; otherwise why wouldn't he decry the instances of malfeasance?

    no actually (none / 0) (#81)
    by Jgarza on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 02:03:55 AM EST
    the reports out of the south Texas precincts are pretty bad.  but if you news source is one sided, this is what happens.

    obama seems to tacitly approve of the shenanigans;

    do you have evidence of this.  Or does it just help you vilify Obama supporters?


    uh (none / 0) (#39)
    by myed2x on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:02:46 PM EST
    I'm sorry, regardless of dirty trix, you're referencing Althouse? I mean I stumbled upon this a few years ago http://altmouse.blogspot.com/ and that was even before she was actually taken seriously by a select few.

    Uh huh... (none / 0) (#57)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:27:37 PM EST
    ...I wonder what self-interest Ann Althouse could possibly have for reporting on Democratic "dirty tricks".  I don't think it is her love and/or concern about teh "liberals".  

    I also wonder what she had to say about vote fraud/tampering/suppresion that the Republicans have been carrying out for years.  My guess would be nothing bad--or just nothing at all.


    Althouse has said she voted for Obama (none / 0) (#71)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:53:45 PM EST
    She wrote a long post explaining her reasoning.

    I hope you're not judging Ann Althouse (none / 0) (#62)
    by Josey on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:55:55 PM EST
    on that altMouse site.

    no (none / 0) (#88)
    by myed2x on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 02:19:01 PM EST
    I have visited her site numerous times, she in my opinion is off her rocker, the fact that she tries to temper her lunacy behind a facade of bi-partisanship makes it all the more laughable.

    You can respect her if you like, not many do.


    and how exactly is your link relevant to (none / 0) (#70)
    by kangeroo on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:47:42 PM EST

    it's relevant (none / 0) (#87)
    by myed2x on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 02:17:33 PM EST
    to how seriously people have not taken her for years, thereby bolstering my own opinion on not taking her seriously - not to mention it's funny, her bi-partisan facade is legendary, she's a right wing hack, plain and simple....jeesh

    actually dirty tricks (none / 0) (#80)
    by Jgarza on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 02:00:58 AM EST
    in campaigns aren't usually from the campaign, but the political culture where the campaign occurs.

    I was in Austin, CNN was at my caucus.  It was a really great experience.  We far out numbered Hillary supporters yet agreed to elect a Clinton supporter to head it.  Our delegate split was 69-34.

    My brother on the other hand was in South Texas, and had a much different experience.  Obama supporters were prevented from voting, by Clinton endorsing election judges.  An Obama organizer(female) was assaulted by the male election judge, then arrested, the witnesses were taken by the Clinton supporting DA into a room, and then promptly left.  During the voting then police came out and tried to make my brother leave and prevent him from doing visibility.  Most people probably would have left, buy my brother is an attorney.

    He told me that Clinton Caucus goers regularly referred to Obama with the N word, and repeated the Obama Muslim line.

    Any how I meant to post this early but i really don't feel welcome at this site.

    I agree... (none / 0) (#85)
    by sander60tx on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 09:34:13 AM EST
    my hunch, and it is only that, is that dirty tricks on either side were not a systematic effort by a particular campaign in Texas, but just the efforts of individuals who took it upon themselves to do these things.  Unless you have evidence that the campaign encouraged or supported these tactics, you can't blame them for the behavior of the individuals who probably acted independently.  That these things occur, however, is a good justification for doing away with caucuses.

    Well except (none / 0) (#86)
    by Jgarza on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:06:10 PM EST
    I know in South Texas intimidation tactics were used during the election as well.