Caucuses vs. Primaries : A Report

What has 2008 shown us in terms of the fairness of the Democratic nomination process? That the caucus system is neither fair nor representative.

Here's an interesting report on the differences between primaries and caucuses and the impact in the 2008 Presidential nomination. I am reprinting it with the permission of its author, P. Cronin. It addresses:

  • Voter Suppression in Caucuses
  • Disenfranchised Voter Groups & Statistics
  • Differential in Voter Turnout Rates
  • Popular Vote Disparity
  • Estimated Voter Suppression in 2008 Caucuses
  • Caucus Systems Distort Election Results
  • Vote-spread Differences
  • Disproportionate Votes-to-Delegates Ratio
  • More Math of Electability
  • Other Primary versus Caucus Considerations
  • 2008 Democratic Election Snapshot
  • What IF: Florida & Michigan

Some highlights are below, but I recommend reading the entire report. [More....]

Here are some stats:

  • By the numbers, in 2008 primaries have averaged 400% greater voter turnout in eligible voters than caucuses.
  • Of the 33.5 million popular votes in the 2008 Democratic Primaries, caucus voters have
    collectively cast only 3.2% of the total or 1.1 million votes.
  • the 13 caucus states have 23.2 million eligible voters. The average Democratic voter turnout in 2008 caucuses has been 4.5% versus 19.92% in primaries.
  • 42% of Obama’s wins are caucus states, 95% of Clinton’s wins are primary states.

Three states have both caucuses and primaries. Take a look at the different results as to voter turnout and preference in the Democratic race:

  • Washington: On February 9, Washington held its statewide caucus and an estimated 245,000 caucus-goers – 5.3% of eligible voters – chose Obama over Clinton by 67.5% to 31.2%, a whopping 36-point margin. Ten days later, WA held a primary attended by 691,381 [15% of eligible voters, ie, almost 3 times the caucus turnout] and Obama won by 51.2% to 45.7%. [Citizens of WA voted-in a State-run Primary. However, the Party-run caucus results are still the legal results.]

    The impact:

    Washington allocated its 78 pledged delegates at a ratio of 2:1 [67% to 33%] and Obama got 52 versus Clinton’s 26. He gained 26 delegates. If the pledged delegates had been allocated according to the primary results, Obama would have won roughly 41 delegates compared to Clinton’s 37. He would be gained only 4 delegates. Bottom line: The caucus vs. primary election benefited Obama by a net 22 delegates – 14.5% of the 152 pledged delegates separating the two.

  • Nebraska: On February 9, Nebraska held a caucus and only 3.04% of the 1.3 million eligible voters participated. Those 38,571 caucus-goers chose Obama over Clinton 68% to 32% and he won 16 of the 24 pledged delegates. In stark contrast, on May 13th, Nebraska held a primary where nearly 94,000 voters [7.5% of eligible voters] chose Obama by 49.4% to 46.6% ,– only 2.8% instead of the 36% vote-spread recorded in the caucus. If delegates were allocated on the results of the primary instead of the caucus, Obama and Clinton would have received 12 pledged delegates each.
    Bottom line: Obama’s 13,700 vote victory in the red-state Nebraska caucus netted him 8 pledged delegates. Compare that to Clinton’s 204,000 vote victory in the battleground state of Ohio which netted her only 9 pledged delegates.

The third state is Texas, and the report has a section on that aw well.

The report asks, "which states are more important to win in the General Election? Which are a stronger indicator of candidate strength and offer a better barometer for voter preference for the Democratic nominee?"

Obama’s 138 pledged delegates lead derived from the 12 caucus states he won is only 18 less than Clinton’s 156 pledged delegates won from all of these hard-fought, primary states: California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Indiana, Tennessee, Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

These Clinton-won states have a combined 220 electoral votes, 87.2 million eligible voters and cast a total of 18,400,000 votes in these primaries. Compare that with the Obama-won caucus states with a combined 69 electoral votes, 21.5 million eligible voters and only 944,000 total votes cast.

The stats show what happens when all states are weighted equally:

42% of Obama’s wins have been in caucus states wherein one-half have not voted Democratic since 1964, 70% voted Republican in 2004, 8 out of the 13 states had only 8,700 to 43,900 voters each and there is a total of 74 electoral votes for all caucus states.

In other words, a comparison of the two systems shows:

  • suppressed voter turnout in caucus vs. primary states
  • lopsided vote-spread differential between Obama and Clinton in the caucus vs. primary states
  • relative impact of caucus elections on the allocation of pledged delegates to each candidate
  • disproportionate impact of caucus votes in relation to convention delegates

On the lopsided vote apread differential:

In 2008, the 34 primaries [excluding MI & FL] have produced an average .8 percent vote-difference between Obama and Clinton. By contrast, the 13 caucuses have had a 28 percent vote-spread.


Because of the restrictions inherent in the caucusing process, participants traditionally include the most motivated voters, party partisans & loyalists and voters strongly committed to a candidate and/or the voting process itself. Since this is generally a relatively small subset of all voters, true voter preferences can be skewed.

The result is "a disproportionate allocation per candidate of the 498 pledged delegates allotted to the caucus states [including TX caucus]".

35 Primaries w/FL :
33,832,107 total votes
Clinton + 35,387
Clinton + 62 delegates

13 Caucuses + TX :
1,057,137 total votes
Obama + 299,768
Obama + 193 delegates

In other words:

35 Primaries with 33.8 million voters have Clinton leading in both votes and delegates.

Caucuses with 1.1 million voters gave Obama 300,000 more votes and 193 more delegates.

....After 47 state elections to date, Obama leads Clinton by 152 pledged delegates. 97% of the difference – 148 delegates – is directly attributable to lopsided victories in caucus contests.

As to the disproportionate impact of the caucus results:

Though voters in all 13 caucus states have cast only 3.2% of the total 33.5 million votes so far – those votes control 15.3% of the pledged delegates and 16.4% of the Super delegates sent to the DNC Convention – average 15.5% of the total delegates [626 caucus / 4047 total]. After all remaining primaries the total votes could easily top 36 million, dropping the caucus vote to 2.9% of the total. In that event, 1 out of every 34 votes will determine and control 1 of every 6.5 delegates.

Bottom line: caucus voters will have a grossly disproportionate role in determining the 2008 Democratic nominee.

Put another way:

  • 34 Primary States -32.4 Million Votes
  • 13 Caucus States -1.1 Million Votes
  • 3.2% of the vote controls 15.5% of the delegate selection for the 2008 Democratic Convention.

Still More:

97% of pledged delegate difference between Obama and Clinton is directly related to the caucus victories, caucus delegates’ account for 1 in every 6.5 DNC delegates and nearly 2/3 of those delegates will vote pro-Obama essentially giving them substantially more clout in determining the 2008 Democratic nominee.

On the impact on the electoral math and map:

21 of Obama’s 29 states won are either caucus states or Red states – including 80% of the deepest Red that have not voted Democratic since 1964 to 1976. With a win in SD and MT, he will finish with 230 Electoral Votes –121 of those from Red states.

Notably, if Obama is the Democratic nominee, he will start the race for the Presidency with 109 Electoral Votes from blue or purple states. That’s 40% of what he’ll need to win in November.

For Hillary:

In contrast, only one of Clinton’s 20 states won is a caucus and only 26% of her total Electoral Votes are from Red states. Further, 227 of Clinton’s 308 EV are from blue and purple states meaning that she would start the Presidential race having won states that account for 84% of the EV needed to win the White House.

Consider this:

The 13 Caucus states comprise 26% of all states voting in the 2008 Democratic Preference Election but account for only 74 of the total 538 Electoral Votes in the General Election.

....70% of the caucus states -- – 9 of 13 -- – voted Republican in the 2004 General Election. Those states held 45 of the 74 total electoral votes for all caucus states. In 2000, 8 of the 13 states [62%] voted for Bush.

....There are 185.7 million total eligible voters [VEP] in the 47 state contests held so far. Clinton has won states with 104.9 million eligible voters and Obama has won states with 80.8 million. Moreover, based on VEP, the average Democratic voter turnout in Clinton’s states was 20.1% compared to 15.4% turnout in Obama’s states [17 primaries @ 19.4% turnout and 12 caucuses @ 4.4% turnout]. MI & FL are excluded.

....The United States has a total of 538 electoral votes and 270 are needed to win the Presidency. Clinton has won 18 states with 264 electoral votes versus Obama’s 29 states with 224 electoral votes. MI & FL are excluded.

Page 11 lists a host of reasons caucuses are less representative and fair than primaries. It then finds:

When the results of all 34 primaries are totaled and averaged there is only a .8% vote differential and .8% difference in total delegates –Obama is ahead by 259,000 votes out of 32.4 million and Clinton is ahead by 24 delegates out of 3,114.

When Florida is added in, Clinton leads by 62 delegates and 35,387 votes. These dead-heat Primary results closely parallel national polls in the two candidate match-up since Super Tuesday.

On Florida and Michigan:

Since the DNC stripped Florida and Michigan of their delegates, results from these primaries have purposely been omitted from most discussion till now. No Democratic candidate campaigned or ran political ads in either state. However, since both states conducted a legitimate Primary election and posted certified results and since the states have a combined 44 electoral votes and nearly 20 million eligible voters that cast a cumulative 2,345,000 votes [twice the number of all caucus votes and roughly 7% of total votes] readers may want to consider the voter preferences expressed in order to assess candidate electability for the General Election.

After several graphs of number-crunching, the report finds:

If Florida and Michigan are added to all election results, Clinton would gain another 27 and 17 electoral votes respectively and would have a total of 308 – 38 more than the 270 needed to win the Presidency in the General Election. Obama’'s 29 states won have 224 electoral votes which would be 46 short of the 270 needed to win.

Finally, if Florida and Michigan are added to the 47 state elections already concluded [34 primaries + 13 caucus states] there are 205.5 million total eligible voters [VEP]. Clinton has won states with 124.7 million eligible voters and Obama has won states with 80.8 million. In this instance, Clinton would have won 19 primaries versus 17 for Obama.

On the topic of built-in voter suppression, the report explains how and why these groups are not fairly represented:

  • Elderly / hospitalized / ill health
  • Military oversees or on out-of-state assignment
  • Voters out of state
  • Voters with kids – especially small children – who can’t get or afford a babysitter
  • Workers who can not get time off work, or who can’t afford the time off
  • Citizens with limited English proficiency [estimated at 8 to 10 Million voters nationwide]

In conclusion, the report quotes "“Has America Outgrown the Caucus?”" by Tova Wang, a Democracy Fellow at The Century Foundation:

Caucuses, as opposed to primaries, by their very structure violate fundamental principles of voting rights. Their time-consuming, inflexible, Byzantine procedures discourage broad participation, presenting substantial barriers to the right to vote. It is not that the caucuses violate the Constitution—they are run by the parties, not the states, and do not violate voting rights as a matter of law. Rather, because of their exclusionary nature, they go against some of the core values we express when we talk about voting rights, such as the fundamental nature of the right, equality of opportunity to participate in the process, and fair access to the ballot.

Regardless of what reforms are considered, it is clear that the caucus is a deeply flawed method for selecting a nominee, and this problem can no longer be shunted aside.

.... Caucuses, as they are currently conducted, do not respect those rights and should not continue in their current form going forward.

The report concludes:

[I]t'’s been shown that caucus elections not only suppress voter participation but also literally systemically disenfranchise voters such as people with disabilities, military personnel on assignment, those physically incapable of participation and all other would-be voters who can not meet the “exact time and place” physical
attendance requirement. Likewise, it’s clear that caucus elections skew overall voting results and have a disproportionate impact on selection of the Democratic nominee for President at the DNC convention.

From a voting rights standpoint the questions become: When millions of Americans are filtered-out or systemically lockedout of the caucusing process, how can we say we have a nominee who is chosen democratically, by the will of the people? When so many citizens are excluded from the voting process how can we trust the outcome of elections?

....[I]t seems clear that the voter preference of the 34 million citizens who have voted through the open, inclusive Primary system should receive the more serious consideration. Their voices have shown a near-tie race between Clinton and Obama, with Clinton having an edge in both delegates and votes.

While this is the system we have, and in 2008 it's not possible to change the rules in hindsight, we have more than 800 superdelegates who can change their mind up until the convention. The questions they need to ask themselves before making a final commitment:

Which candidate has the best overall education, experience and skill-set to prepare them for the Presidency? Which candidate is better suited to withstand the Republican attacks and unrelenting scrutiny? What core constituencies does each candidate draw? What is the size and voting record of those groups? How marginalized would each group’s vote become in their state’s overall election results in the General Election? How many voters will be lost if “their” candidate is
not nominated, ie, will not vote at all or will cross-over and become the 2008 Reagan Democrats? Which future, powerful voting blocks are at stake, eg, Latinos and youth and would they vote for McCain? Which states are “must wins” for the needed electoral votes? In this Democratic Preference Election, which candidate emerges having won most of those “must win” states?

The superdelegates can decide that all delegates and states won should not be weighted equally in selecting the Democratic nominee. Will they? Probably not. But the system does need to change for 2012 so we don't go through this again.

Update: Several commenters have asked for more information about the author of the report, P. Cronin. Here it is:

Peniel Cronin is the President & CEO of Global Basics and eNameWiz.com. Cronin holds a B.S. in Accounting from Arizona State University and has 16 years experience as an accountant and Director of Marketing for several SMEs.

Cronin directs all strategic development and product/market research and developed the algorithms and database that power the eNameWiz multilingual domain creation and search system.

Representative clients through Global Basics have included the Arizona Office of Tourism, the Nevada Commission on Tourism, the Arizona Shopping Consortium, Shop America Alliance, America West Airlines, Southwest Airlines, AeroMexico and numerous other travel and domain industry organizations. Cronin holds three US & German Patents, several trademarks and numerous copyrights.

Cronin suffers from a disability resulting from a car accident 40 years ago at age 12 which left her "wheelchair bound" for two years, at a time when there were no curb cuts or ramps and nothing was accessible. This is what fueled her passion about the caucus information. She knows what it's like to be locked-out of the mainstream and to be excluded from full participation in what others take for granted.

Comments now closed.

< The Electoral Map: Can Obama Overcome the Challenges? | Final Media Walk-Through for Denver Convention >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    In other words, (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by bjorn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:28:00 AM EST
    Clinton has won the nomination but she will not get it because of wimpy SDs. I wonder if even half the SDs will even read this report.  Thank you for posting it, most fascinating. And who can we write or call to tell them to change the stupid system for 2012?

    I understand your point, (5.00 / 0) (#120)
    by TomP on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:13:58 AM EST
    but no one has "won" the nomination.

    The playing field was there for all candidates.  Cuacuses are not as good as primaries.  I agree they should be phased out. But they count this time.

    As for superdelegates, the Democratic Party did that to itself.


    "Playing Field" (5.00 / 2) (#204)
    by Pacific John on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:03:56 AM EST
    Your opinion will change as facts come out. I guarantee it.

    Maybe so. (none / 0) (#251)
    by TomP on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:07:14 PM EST
    Time will tell.

    Sorry to be cryptic, Tom (5.00 / 1) (#254)
    by Pacific John on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:13:38 PM EST
    I have the highest respect for your posts and thinking, and have a strong hunch that as this story is told, we'll end up on the same page.

    TomP...you are correct, no one has won the (5.00 / 0) (#268)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:37:40 PM EST

    To change the system and to tell the DNC (5.00 / 0) (#267)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:36:12 PM EST
    to stop screwing around with MI and FL, and tell the SD's to keep their pieholes shut until the convention.

    Right now (none / 0) (#100)
    by befuddled on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:45:47 AM EST
    you can go to lobbydelegates.com and very painlessly (throw money) send notes to your own Super Dees. Except that just now as I was doing that their server crashed from heavy traffic. :) Trolls? Irate Clinton supporters? Fun if we knew.

    Hear, hear! (5.00 / 5) (#2)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:31:07 AM EST
    What an excellent and well-researched post. Thank you very much for the detailed information about caucuses!

    And yes, I do think America has outgrown them. There are too many of us now for this outdated system to be truly representative.

    Let's nominate this woman (5.00 / 7) (#3)
    by masslib on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:32:00 AM EST
    for crissake.  

    We don't have to nominate the guy who had a good caucus streak.  

    I was gonna quote you, masslib (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by magisterludi on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:55:39 AM EST
    if you weren't here (with proper credit, of course!!).

    A book is gonna be written (5.00 / 6) (#8)
    by Edgar08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:37:48 AM EST
    I wish I was in the position to write it, cause it's gonna make the writer a fair chunk of change.

    Quick question not covered above, what percentage of Obama's Primary wins were pre-Wright?

    Well, let's see... (5.00 / 0) (#242)
    by mike in dc on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:49:49 AM EST
    ...he won North Carolina and Oregon, nearly won Indiana, is likely to be competitive in Puerto Rico, and will win Montana and South Dakota handily.  Clinton won Pennsylvania by 9, won blowouts in West Virginia and Kentucky, won narrowly in Indiana and is favored in Puerto Rico.

    so, that's Obama 4, Clinton 5(at worst), with one contest being a near-draw(Indiana), post-Wright.

    If Obama pulls off the upset in PR, then he'll be 5 and 4 post-Wright.  I'm not counting Guam in all this.


    Mississippi? (none / 0) (#272)
    by flashman on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:42:03 PM EST
    Do you think people vote (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by Edgar08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:42:20 AM EST
    On the system that is used in their stat?

    I never saw "Caucus or Primary" on my ballot.

    It doesn't happen often enough (5.00 / 5) (#31)
    by Edgar08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:52:05 AM EST
    For people to think it matters, it's not an issue that one thinks to protest about.

    Although it might be now.

    I'm quite sure the people who have the free time and enjoy the perks of status are quite happy with the system that's in place.  


    It was on my ballot (5.00 / 3) (#213)
    by oldpro on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:11:10 AM EST
    years ago...an Initiative by the people...who wanted to have a say in selecting nominees.  It passed...bigtime.

    Rs said, "Oh, OK...we'll let the primary select some delegates."

    Ds said, "No way, Jose.  Caucuses only."

    So, we have both....but the primary counts for nothing if you're a Democrat...which I may no longer be following this nominating process.



    Right now the Party pays for Caucuses, but not for (5.00 / 5) (#20)
    by kindness on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:45:23 AM EST
    primary elections.

    I suspect if that is addressed so that there wasn't a financial incentive for a state to use a Caucus, that all the states would find it in their self interest to just hold a Primary vote instead.

    Precisely (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Stellaaa on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:52:29 AM EST
    Caucuses are cheaper for the states.  What I don't understand is the Texas system and the other states that have primaries as well.  

    They are more than "primaries" (5.00 / 0) (#45)
    by Fabian on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:58:40 AM EST
    They are actual Elections with votes cast on more than just a Party Primary.

    IOW - the state was spending the money already, so it isn't a one time expense strictly for a Party Primary.


    I've answered this (none / 0) (#215)
    by oldpro on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:13:22 AM EST
    a hundred times!

    Oh, OK...slight exaggeration...but still...see my answers above re Washington State as an example.


    Another huge drawback (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:17:25 AM EST
    is that the caucus events are not "advertised" well, so there is a large element of the population that learns about them after the fact. The party should be obligated to do a mailing, and at least 3 other forms of advertising for 3-4 weeks in advance of the caucus to make sure all voters know when and where.

    Caucuses are intimidating to a lot of people. The crowd aspect, the element of unknown.


    That's a point -- laws require notice (5.00 / 2) (#146)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:29:06 AM EST
    in newspapers in every town, at least in my state and in many, I know, of elections -- sample ballots, too.  I have seen that even so, potential voters can view the process with considerable trepidation and decide not to vote.  I can imagine that the caucus system would be even more discouraging in that way, in addition to the many other ways identified here.

    Thus, the extensive training by campaigns to prep participants in caucuses.  So in addition to several hours on caucus day or night (or both:-), it can mean many more hours, days, and nights of training.

    How this is seen as party-building, the excuse given for caucuses, I don't know.  It certainly results in only certain population segments being "built" to be part of the party apparatus.


    You're Right (5.00 / 1) (#274)
    by creeper on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:44:05 PM EST
    The caucus process is so arcane that many people are intimidated by it.  It took me several years to work up the courage to attend our Iowa caucuses.  I had no clue how they worked and was loath to make a fool of myself.

    One more drawback to them.


    by appearances the caucuses were ripe for (5.00 / 3) (#193)
    by thereyougo on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:54:52 AM EST
    the aggressive tactics used by Obama's team. The strategy took every advantage of the weaknesses and it worked until someone actually took it apart to reveal it for what I've suspected was a arcane process.

    What an excellent analysis. thank you Jeralyn

    What would the Kos Kids say about this report?
    Nothing rational I'm sure.


    And to lay out the rules of that (none / 0) (#125)
    by zfran on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:18:16 AM EST

    True (5.00 / 0) (#149)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:30:30 AM EST
    WA also fails to get proper ID. It reminded me of a comment on an earlier post from a college student from OR who knew way too much about what happened in a WA caucus site. I asked at the time if s/he had attended one, but didn't get an answer.

    WHAAAAT???? (5.00 / 1) (#261)
    by Eleanor A on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:28:55 PM EST
    (Sound of head exploding)

    For real?  DNC pays for caucuses?!

    (slaps self in forehead)  We are so screwed....


    I will reiterate my solution as previously posted. (5.00 / 6) (#21)
    by Saul on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:45:53 AM EST
    This was an excellent report.  As I previously posted here is my solution to the nomination process.

    Everyone goes to a primary method. No Caucuses

    No Super Delegates

    All the primaries will be held on one day.  That day should be in late May.  That way all the candidates will have from Dec to May to campaign where ever they want to.

    This way no one has an advantage and every candidates gets an even playing field. Then it's over.  If no one gets the number of delegates required  then whoever gets the most popular vote is the winner.

    I agree (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:47:54 AM EST
    and I would just add that the primaries should be held on a weekend in May, so as to include as many voters as possible; and I'd want to do away with delegates also.

    Direct popular vote with instant runoff voting.


    All elections should be on the weekend (5.00 / 1) (#269)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:39:12 PM EST
    or else make the Veterans' day automatically coincide with election day so that election day is a holiday.  You might be interested in this organization.

    One note (5.00 / 3) (#103)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:46:50 AM EST
    The one day scenario would mean that all 15 candidates who start out running would have to campaign in 50 states (plus territories). They would not be able to raise the money to do that and no potentially great candidate should be pushed out for lack of money.

    The early states are intended to encourage the candidates with the fewer votes to drop out. Super Tuesday will generally encourage the remaining weaker candidates.

    I agree that this extended time period is awful because of this year's primary, but the solution needs to allow for a reasonable method of narrowing the candidates in the race early on.


    You Have a Point (none / 0) (#279)
    by creeper on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:51:00 PM EST
    If all primaries are held on the same day it's likely that little states will not see the same level of campaigning as the big ones.  Candidates are likely to kiss off Rhode Island in favor of spending time in Ohio.

    There seems to be a general feeling here that what we have is a disaster.  But this year we have states casting votes that matter for the first time in ages.  To that extent, it could be worse.  

    Of course, there were all those years when the late states didn't matter.

    I don't know what the solution is.  


    This is an excellent idea. (none / 0) (#29)
    by masslib on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:48:57 AM EST
    Don't forget the icing on the cake (none / 0) (#142)
    by blogtopus on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:26:15 AM EST
    National Voting Days. Two per year.

    One point (none / 0) (#181)
    by ghost2 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:45:54 AM EST
    I don't know if all primaries in one day would be a good idea.  

    Look at how many you have already on Super Tue (5.00 / 0) (#225)
    by Saul on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:26:28 AM EST
    You almost got half of the states.  No one complains about that.  If you can handle an a presidential election on one day you can handle all primaries on one day.

    Had we done that this primary season (5.00 / 1) (#240)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:46:58 AM EST
    Obama wouldn't have been vetted at all.

    This process has more behind it's reasoning than just counting the votes.


    Break the country up in 5 sections (5.00 / 0) (#227)
    by BarnBabe on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:33:37 AM EST
    Within the sections, break up the states to 4 different Tuesdays in May. That would give a fair comparison from the entire country and still allow a break of all at once. We could then concentrate on the states voting on 'their' day.

    Early voting should be allowed (none / 0) (#304)
    by splashy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 02:53:50 PM EST
    At least for the week before. That way, if there is better weather, or it fits into someone's schedule better, they can do it before the big day.

    We have that in Arkansas, and it works very well. I really like being able to pick the best day and time  to vote for me. It really helps save time and energy.


    Always meant that to be just assumed it would be (none / 0) (#313)
    by Saul on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:52:21 PM EST
    In fact you can have early voting two weeks up until that day in May.  Also it should include mail in ballots for those that cannot go to the polls.

    Early voting should be allowed (none / 0) (#323)
    by splashy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 05:28:22 PM EST
    At least for the week before. That way, if there is better weather, or it fits into someone's schedule better, they can do it before the big day.

    We have that in Arkansas, and it works very well. I really like being able to pick the best day and time  to vote for me. It really helps save time and energy.


    I just read (5.00 / 4) (#50)
    by mogal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:02:30 AM EST
     a post at TM this morn from Florida that says the DNC did approve a re -do  in Fl. providing it was a CAUCUS.  

    Didn't we honor those who died for DEMOCRACY yesterday? Count the Votes!

    Yes, same in MI (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:48:28 AM EST
    Not too hard to figure out why Obama wanted that solution in both states, and Clinton did not. Both states rejected that idea.

    Well, Of Course They Did (5.00 / 0) (#283)
    by creeper on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:56:54 PM EST
    Obama is the DNC's chosen candidate and they'll do what it takes to make sure he's the nominee.

    Democracy?  What's that?


    florida redo (none / 0) (#237)
    by vrusimov on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:41:59 AM EST
    the alternative delegate selection method was a caucus because it is against Florida state law to hold a primary on any other day but the new one they voted on...mail-in voting is also prohibited in Florida...

    I can't help but note the irony of proposed solutions of fire-house caucuses or state conventions or libraries and soft money and etc. etc. ad nauseaum...

    The real question is where was all this creative thinking in Michigan in the 30 days following September 4, 2007.

    Florida Democratic Party chair Karen Thurman:

    "Last week, the Florida Democratic Party laid out the only existing way that we can comply with DNC Rules - a statewide revote run by the Party - and asked for input.
    Thousands of people responded. We spent the weekend reviewing your messages, and while your reasons vary widely, the consensus is clear: Florida doesn't want to vote again.

    So we won't.

    A party-run primary or caucus has been ruled out, and it's simply not possible for the state to hold another election, even if the Party were to pay for it. Republican Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio refuses to even consider that option. Florida is finally moving to paper ballots, which is a good thing, but it means that at least 15 counties do not have the capacity to handle a major election before the June 10th DNC primary deadline.


    Note "it's not possible for the state to hold another election, even if the party were to pay for it"...again it is now against state law to hold a presidential preference primary on any other day than the following, buried within the 80 page superbill known as HB 537:

    The bill moves up the date of the primary in Florida to make it no earlier than January 8th and no later than February 7th. The bill specifies that the date of the primary must be on the earlier of either:
    The first Tuesday in February, or
    The first Tuesday immediately following the New Hampshire primary.
    However, the date cannot be earlier than the second Tuesday in January.

    The bill passed the Senate 37-2-1 and the House 118-0-2...that's a pretty strong consensus of support for a bill, and that included Democrats...

    It is arguable that this trainwreck bill should've been sliced into it's more meaningful proposals and given more scrutiny, but like pork barrel projects, everyone stuffed something that they wanted in and pushed it through...imagine the horror of the voters to learn that their votes would'nt count...they've known this since May 2007...Governor Crist, though he had veto power, signed it and set in motion a fabulous disaster.


    Oh, and the simple fix to this (5.00 / 1) (#273)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:42:53 PM EST
    is that the DNC changes its June 10 deadline to a later date.  I read that you have an election for other purposes at some point prior to the convention?  If not, if cost is the problem, as I also read, Clinton offered to pay for it.  Etc.

    Main point is that we really, really have to stop treating DNC rules as law.  Even laws can be changed, if by legislatures.  But DNC rules can be changed just by, oh, demoting Prima Donna Brazile. :-)


    Mail-in voting not prohibited (none / 0) (#271)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:40:06 PM EST
    in Florida, as it has absentee ballots.  Perhaps there is another term that applies to what you mean -- en masse mail-in voting?

    What's the Difference... (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by fctchekr on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:05:29 AM EST
    I think most people realized that the caucus method couldn't be a fair representation because you could game it in real time.

    But if the party wants to exert its control, which is more than obvious in this election cycle, they will not endeavor to fine tune.

    Now the question is are we going to accept dirty pool from our own party? Well, I'll answer that, there are a lot of Dems who won't.

    Commenter Coolaide (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:35:05 AM EST
    has been banned under six different names, including ObamaMama. Her latest attempt and 19 comments are now erased.

    Tano is questionable (5.00 / 0) (#113)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:08:03 AM EST
    Commenter Coolaide (5.00 / 0) (#131)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:20:47 AM EST
    LOVE the literation.

    Thanks for cleaning up the aisles (5.00 / 2) (#263)
    by Eleanor A on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:30:47 PM EST
    on occasion, JL...

    Moral of the story (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by Stellaaa on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:36:44 AM EST
    If anything if the Democrats do no reform their process, none of this would be of any value.  You cannot continue with a system that has an inherent injustice, voter suppression.  In the long run, we will never win cause the primary process does not reflect who can win or more, who the people want.  

    Dems will not reform... (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by ineedalife on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:09:58 AM EST
    unless they lose in November. If they win they will point out the invisible wisdom of the present system in picking an ideal candidate.

    And don't forget (5.00 / 0) (#122)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:14:39 AM EST
    about the policy of rejecting entire blocks of voters, giving them no place to go....and knowing if these voters aren't supported in the primary for the purpose of winning, they CERTAINLY won't be supported in the White House after a win.

    ...results of the caucuses suggest? (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Fabian on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:45:06 AM EST
    The primaries went for Clinton, not Obama.

    Stunning Report (5.00 / 3) (#102)
    by bmc on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:46:39 AM EST
    ...that caucuses have lower turnout than Primaries. But I think there's something to say about people getting to chose for themselves what kind of system they want in their state, isn't there?

    No one gets to choose for their state which date the general election is held, do they? It's a federal election, held on one specific date, and all states fall in line and pay for the election held in their state on that day, during specified time periods, and then the state counts the votes cast and certifies it with the Sec/State.

    Since primaries are held by the respective parties to determine which candidates will be on the ballot on that specified date in November, I don't see why the states should all have differing methods--i.e, caucuses vs. primaries--held on differing dates. It makes perfect sense to me to hold a single primary on a specified date for each respective party. Caucuses are simply inherently anti-democratic, and are a way to exclude large sections of the populace from exercising their right to vote. I certainly dissent from any notion that delegates should be apportioned on the basis of caucuses! A simple rule for the parties to install would be that delegates are chosen solely by primary vote. Then, most states would change to primary systems. How on earth could these moronic rules have occurred--it's patently idiotic to choose delegates from caucus results!

    These stats just show how undemocratic the Democratic Party rules are. The tragedy is that Democratic Party voters are not being given a voice in selecting their own nominee. Can anyone watch RECOUNT and not see the relevance here? This infuriates me.

    Just count the votes in Florida and Michigan, apportion delegates on the votes earned. Any other option will render Obama illegitimate as a nominee, and Democrats will be horribly tarnished as the party of justice and equal civil rights.  

    In WA state, one of the specious reasons (none / 0) (#319)
    by imhotep on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:27:27 PM EST
    for ignoring the ballot primary and using the results of the caucus, was that it was NOT an election, but a nominating process.  The Party gets to choose the nominating process.

    I see there has been some argument here (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by Anne on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:58:34 AM EST
    that the caucus system is good because it gives more control and influence to party leaders; if there is one lesson we should be learning from this nominating season it is that vesting the bulk of the control over the process in the "party leaders" is a mistake of significant proportions.  

    Now, for those who will argue that there is a difference between local party leaders and national ones, please do not waste my time our yours: not buying it.

    There may have been a time when the caucus made sense, but that time is long past.  Any system which contracts the time when voices can be heard, which does not have a mechanism for absentee voting, is bad for democracy.

    If every state voted via the primary system, we wouldn't be sitting here haggling over which method of voting was more or less democratic because everyone would be voting the same way.

    What a sad state (5.00 / 3) (#112)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:07:34 AM EST
    of affairs.  Those of us who can clearly see that the DNC is heading headstrong into disaster by nominating Barack Obama to appease a certain demographic.  

    The numbers are telling.  Not even in the best of situations, can a Democrat take the Plains states west of the Mississippi.  In 1992, the only Plains state that went Clinton was OK.  It went back red in 1996.  Solid red line on the western side of the river.  Predominantly, the mountain states have stayed ruby red, w/the exception of CO in 92 and NM in 92,96 and 00.

    After experiencing the travesty and the illegal activities conducted by the Obama campaign here in Texas, and yes, these actions were reported to Voter Protection at the Hillary campaign, all of this will come back to haunt them.  The Republicans are MUCH more astute to gaming the system.  Axelrod will be proven a rank-amateur in the general, as will his candidate.  

    The caucuses are a true joke.  It should all be just one vote, one time, that's it.  Caucuses are antiquated IMO.  We have machines that can take your vote and move on.  I certainly don't have time to mill about a voting precinct for hours on end to write my name on a clipboard and watch poorly trained elections personnel hap-hazardly conduct a so-called caucus.

    That was the story here in TX.  In a word, it was a joke.  No more caucuses.

    One second there... :0 (5.00 / 0) (#270)
    by NWHiker on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:39:44 PM EST
    I certainly don't have time to mill about a voting precinct for hours on end to write my name on a clipboard and watch poorly trained elections personnel hap-hazardly conduct a so-called caucus.

    I've attended a few caucuses (WA state) and my dh is our local precinct committee officer.

    I agree about all the evil of caucuses. I didn't like them last time when I supported Dean (ugh!) and saw how the Kerry people gamed them. I didn't like them this time, as an Edward supporter who would have gone to Clinton if it would have made a diff. The Obama folk were pushy and derisive.

    BUT please please please don't diss the "poorly trained personnel". They're not "personnel" in that they are all Dem party volunteers, at least here in WA. They're been trained but hey! running a caucus isn't something you do every month or so, so despite training and knowledge, it might be a slow process. The Obama folk were flat out nastily suspicious of my dh's math, checking and rechecking it, in case he was cheating (even though he was pretty verbal about being an Edwards guy). That certainly didn't help.

    Anyhow. Sausage being made, it's gross, and we should get rid of them... but don't blame the volunteers. They all give oodles of time to the Dem party (trust me... and no, after this election, he's not signing up again), and do their best. I know there were glitches, I also know that in the 3 caucuses I've been to, the numbers have gotten larger and larger and larger (dh was only PCO for the last two, on the first one we didn't HAVE a PCO and one old old old woman officiated. Hee.), and it's not easy.


    The elections judges (none / 0) (#307)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:11:51 PM EST
    at the precinct levels conduct the caucuses in most if not all the locations.

    Elections judges are PAID by the county elections board here in Fort Worth/Tarrant County.

    So YES the caucuses are conducted by poorly trained PAID personnel.

    I saw the elections judge at my precinct throw her hands up in the air because she didn't know about caucusing here in TX.  Nice lady but it was a challenge because of opposing streams of information being put out.


    Jeralyn (5.00 / 5) (#119)
    by Stellaaa on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:12:34 AM EST
    First of all thank you for posting this report and for the brilliant summary.   This report basically summarizes the frustrations with the Democratic party process that are inherent, and highlights why the stripping Florida and Michigan of their delegates, further aggravated the flaws of the process.  The fact that the DNC leadership did not deal properly with the Florida and Michigan delegations will always be a stain on this nomination.  

    DNC had plenty of time to get a solution, actually force a solution, that would have prevented the feelings of grievance.  The process is inherently flawed, now the DNC decision makes it appear like an inside job.  

    When half of the voters, 17.6 million voters feel that the system does not care to hear from them and that all votes are not equal, then frankly why bother?  Just close the doors and pick the candidate.  We will save money.  

    Some thoughts (5.00 / 6) (#123)
    by FleetAdmiralJ on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:15:43 AM EST
    1. Unfortunately, we're stuck with this system for this term, so as unfair as it might be, Obama is ahead by the rules, and will win by those rules.  We're just going to have to take the lessons learned from this and apply it to 2012 and beyond.

    2. People on some other blogs are like "well, if caucuses are unfair, why didn't Clinton do something about it before the nomination process?"

    Well, first, I'm not sure how much clout Clinton had in determining the process.  Second, no one paid much attention to caucuses vs. primaries before just because the race was always over before it mattered.

    1. one note on comparing the WA and NE primaries is that those have traditionally never counted, and so you don't know what impact that might have had on who might have voted in it.  It's an interesting comparison, but that note probably should be made

    2. I didn't see this stat listed in the article: w/o FL and MI, how many votes cast per pledged delegate won:

    Obama: 10,047
    Clinton: 10,819

    So basically, Clinton has had to win nearly 800 more votes to earn the same number of delegates.

    Let's say, or argument, based on these numbers, each candidate won exactly half of the pledged delegates (1626.5).

    Clinton would have to get 1,255,658 more votes an Obama to get the SAME number of delegates, based on the trend so far.

    Again, not much we can do about it this time, but it definitely needs to be fixed for next time.

    One Problem, Of Course (5.00 / 2) (#175)
    by The Maven on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:44:41 AM EST
    is that it seems increasingly unlikely that the Party "leadership" will have any incentive to significantly reform and overhaul the nomination selection system for 2012 and beyond, mostly because Obama's most fervent supporters will presumably be the ones in charge in those states that most need change.

    And regarding your valid point about the WA and NE primaries, one should also consider that it's reasonable to believe that the primary turnouts would have been even higher still had they counted for something (à la TX), so if anything, the comparative ratios might have been even more lopsided.  But considering that DNC principles state that systems are to be designed to maximize voter participation in the selection process, it's hard to see how that reconciles with caucuses generally.


    One possible counter (5.00 / 1) (#205)
    by FleetAdmiralJ on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:04:41 AM EST
    the one counter I have to that is that Obama probably wont run in 2012 if he somehow loses this year, and if he wins the presidency, he's probably going to be near-unopposed in the nomination in 2012, so 2012 most likely won't have Obama running in any sort of competitive race.  As a result, one would think that it would no longer matter to him personally how the system was set up.

    But your point is noted.


    WA primary is not admissible data in my view (5.00 / 1) (#218)
    by Faust on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:15:06 AM EST
    Your point on WA primary is quite correct. I would not try to argue that the WA caucus is more inclusive or better than a primary. But just because primaries are in theory better than caucuses, it does NOT follow that the WA primary in THIS PARTICULAR CASE is more representative of the will of the people of WA than the WA caucus.

    I know many people who only voted in the caucus. Why vote twice? All of the media, the newspapers, local TV, national TV, all repeatedly said that the primary "wouldn't count." In fact there was a lot of anger localy about the stupidity of spending money on a primary that wouldn't count...what a waste people said.

    In fact I had a blowout argument with my wife because she threw out our mail-in ballots. She couldn't understand why I was pissed because in her mind we had already voted in the legitimate contest.

    Both campaigns were very active in WA just prior to the caucus, before the primary...nothing.

    The resuslts in Oregon also tend to indicate that the WA primary is innacurate. The two states tend to be quite similar in demographics, it's certainly not conclusive proof of anything but I have no doubt that if WA had had an actual competetive primary the results would have been much closer to what was seen in Oregon.

    Again none of this is to try to argue against the main point of this thread, which is that primaries are more democratic than caucuses. This point is conceeded. It does not follow therefore follow, however, that the WA primary in this case is more democratic or more representative. There was far to much confusion in state for that.


    Your logic doesn't hold (5.00 / 1) (#231)
    by ChuckieTomato on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:36:31 AM EST
    In statistics, as the sample size increases it tends to more accurately reflect the population. I have nothing to base this on but I would guess that's true for primaries as well

    Sure some people stayed home. So did some Hillary supporters. Bottom line is more people participated.


    Actually what I'm suggesting is (5.00 / 0) (#266)
    by Faust on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:35:21 PM EST
    that the sampling of the primary was corrupted. Here is a sample for you. I have a very small smaple of people that I have asked about the caucus and the election locally. So far I have talked to 15 people that voted in the caucus (my parents, my wife's parents, friends, people in my neighborhood). Of those 15 people only 1 of them voted in both the caucus AND the primary.

    Now of course this sample is totally unscientific but what if this pattern holds? What if 90% of people who participated in the caucus did not vote in the primary? Don't we have a huge sampling problem if several hundred thousand people self selected themselves out of the primary thinking they had already voted?

    Now I very much doubt that it's quite as high as 90%. But it's probably quite high. Most people are not inclined to vote twice especially if they have been told the second vote "doesn't count."


    a family sample isn't random and is biased (none / 0) (#300)
    by ChuckieTomato on Tue May 27, 2008 at 01:26:29 PM EST
    and second what if 50 percent of the greater population voted in the primary and not the caucus? It's still larger and more representative than the caucus.

    Many people UNABLE to attend the caucus (5.00 / 1) (#322)
    by imhotep on Tue May 27, 2008 at 05:16:08 PM EST
    voted in the primary.  I know two.  Not a big sample...  

    I'm not suggesting (none / 0) (#308)
    by Faust on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:13:44 PM EST
    my sample is conclusive. It's obviously not. Family members and 9 people from my neighborhood do not a scientific sample make as I noted.

    However, IF such nubmers or even simply 60-70% of caucus goers did not participate in the general it would most certainly alter the margins significantly.

    One might wish to ask for example why Washinton had relatively low turnout in its primary. We had about the same numbers as Oregon and yet we have twice the population. One reason, besides the fact that it was supposedly a "beauty contest" may be that a significant number of people in the state felt that they had already voted.

    I also don't think that elections qualify as a "sampling" of a population. Strictly speaking they don't sample as samples are not from one self selected. This is one of the problems with exit polls for example...exit polls only measure people who wish to be polled...a self selecting group. We would probably want to consult with a pollster or statistician however on that particular topic.

    In any case it's pure speculation as to how Washinton would have voted had we had an actual primary where both campaigns had boots on the ground, where eveyone understood that it counted, and had there not been a caucus that occured two weeks prior. You are of course free to choose your method of calculating the popular vote out of the 10 or so available methods, and I'll choose mine.


    I'd Rec This Comment (5.00 / 1) (#295)
    by creeper on Tue May 27, 2008 at 01:07:14 PM EST
    but for the statement that Obama "will win."

    Obama's not there yet, and neither am I.


    That report is some demolition job (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by lambertstrether on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:19:36 AM EST
    Caucuses need to be abolished. The secret ballot was invented for good reasons -- like fair elections.

    Who the heck is P. Cronin?

    Do you think it will be abolished after (none / 0) (#153)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:32:50 AM EST
    this primary though?  My own grandmother was a big caucus chick.  I grew up being taught that it was about being politically active, but it's about power too.  Will the party leaders who have played large roles in the Democratic party caucus systems be willing to do what needs to be done in order to end them?

    Some party leaders will never agree to it (none / 0) (#234)
    by shoephone on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:40:17 AM EST
    Because, as you know, the caucuses are first and foremost party-building exercises.

    Who's P. Cronin? (5.00 / 2) (#141)
    by tarheel74 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:25:45 AM EST
    I would like to cite this study and findings in other sites and online forums but without knowing more of the author I cannot do so. Please let us know who he or she is. Thanks.

    Jeralyn, thanks for the update -- (5.00 / 2) (#229)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:35:11 AM EST
    as I have been concerned and commenting from the beginning of this about the obstacles to participation by PWD's (as I have been one, temporarily, and have experience with this with a family member with a chronic condition that is defined by the feds as a disability).  And I teach many PWD's at a campus that "specializes" in serving them, so I have learned a lot about accessibility under the new law.

    So I am so appreciative that this author, with her perspective as a PWD, put her considerable skills into this study.  What I have asked again and again, but I am no lawyer, is whether the caucus states are in violation of the ADA?  And wouldn't the ADA trump state parties' practices, if they now -- after more than a century of caucuses vs. recent passage of the ADA -- are defined as discriminatory?


    ADA should trump caucus system (5.00 / 2) (#280)
    by befuddledvoter on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:51:09 PM EST
    I do not see how the caucuses could be exempted from ADA compliance at all.  I also cannot see how the caucuses even comply with the Equal Protection Clause as then severely limit older voters from participation, and also limit those who are non-English speaking and a host of other categories.  I am not a voting rights attorney, not my field, but this seems ripe for litigation.  

    Here's my two cents: (5.00 / 4) (#145)
    by MarkL on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:27:43 AM EST
    Many Obama fans are whining because the popular vote count does not include caucus state (or not all of them). Turn it around: if Obama actually is the favorite of Democrats, that should be clear by looking at vote totals from primary states, which are not selected to help Hillary in any obvious way.
    No, the fact is that Obama knew how to work the caucuses, but that does not reflect his actual support.
    SD's are welcome to take this into account.

    Another thing that bothers me: (5.00 / 4) (#148)
    by MarkL on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:30:02 AM EST
    Hillary wanted to check the signatures in TX, and she was blocked, with Obama partisans crying that it would have been immensely unfair to do so.

    Double voting (5.00 / 4) (#163)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:39:03 AM EST
    TX election auditors were even on the news right after their election and showed boxes and boxes of caucus rosters and ballots. They said they we investigating for people who voted more than once and that criminal charges could be forthcoming depending on what they find. The woman was convinced there was a substantial amount of fraud.

    Never saw or heard another thing about it.


    They suspended all investigations (none / 0) (#166)
    by zfran on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:40:30 AM EST
    and didn't follow-up on any complaints, from Hillary or otherwise. Lawsuit???

    TX still hasn't posted final results (5.00 / 3) (#196)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:56:08 AM EST
    of the caucuses -- only of the primaries.  Yes: lawsuit.

    Because (5.00 / 3) (#216)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:13:44 AM EST
    it's not over until the convention this summer in Austin.

    Being an old Dem pol operative here, I can tell you that the Latinos in the Rio Grande Valley and in S TX that won the state for Hillary are going FULL BOAR against the newbies of the Obama wing.

    These old cats KNOW about gaming the caucus system.  When they're done with the newbies, Obama will come out losing delegates.  Blacks at the convention can scream all they want, but the Latinos, who are predominant at the convention, will push their own influence around.

    I am hoping for a lot of blood on the convention floor.


    To be clear: TX hasn't posted first caucus (none / 0) (#262)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:30:30 PM EST
    results.  Yes, as in all caucus states, there are no final recaucusing numbers until June; I ought to have clarified that understanding of the process.

    But your state hasn't posted results from the first caucus, that I can find.  I have kept looking.  Are they somewhere other than where they are supposed to be, on your secretary of state's website?  And if not counted, well, I don't know why the heck your state's taxpayers put up with such nonsense.

    (Btw, re your capitalized words, um, a boar is a hoglike animal, and I know you don't mean to impute that to Clinton.  You mean "full bore.":-)


    i wil say it again (none / 0) (#298)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 01:18:40 PM EST
    damn homonyms

    TX is not the subject here (5.00 / 0) (#226)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:30:55 AM EST
    but will be in a future post soon. Please comment on this report.

    A copy of this report (5.00 / 4) (#156)
    by stillife on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:34:32 AM EST
    should be distributed to every super delegate.

    Not that I expect it to do any good.  

    As a WA State resident, (5.00 / 5) (#162)
    by imhotep on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:38:28 AM EST
    I was disgusted that the Dem party bosses insisted on ignoring the state-run primary and going with the caucus system.  I refused to donate any $$ to WA Dems on this basis and will continue to do so.  
    There were several letters printed in WA newspapers criticizing the caucus system, but the entrenched Dem machine continued to give their very weak reasons for supporting caucuses.
    The purpose of the caucus in WA was, and still is, to allow the party bosses to select the nominee.

    well then WA (5.00 / 2) (#189)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:50:44 AM EST
    will have political blood on their hands for handing Obama a primary victory that will lead to GE defeat.

    WA has a rich history of voting :) (5.00 / 0) (#194)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:55:11 AM EST
    Pat Robertson was the Republican winner in 2000 caucuses.

    The year WA voted Nethercutt in and Tom Foley out, 70% of the polled voters believed that Nethercutt would replace Foley in the Speaker's seat.


    WA didn't (5.00 / 2) (#235)
    by oldpro on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:41:08 AM EST
    vote "Nethercutt in and Tom Foley out" although your point about the ignorance of the electorate is well taken.

    One very conservative Congressional District's voters sent Tom (and Heather!) packing...following the House scandals which Tom the Speaker ignored.  

    Dems should have seen that one coming.  Some of us did.

    Whoa!  Too late to stop the Gingrich revolution in '94.


    Personal attacks are unnecessary, OldPro (5.00 / 0) (#246)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:55:14 AM EST
    I'm far from ignorant and my take on the interviews I saw on the news is just as valid as your opinion.

    Whaaa? (5.00 / 0) (#253)
    by oldpro on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:11:57 PM EST
    What in Hades are you talking about?  I'm not picking a fight with you.

    What personal attack(s)?  I don't personalize my politics so I am at a loss to understand your response.  Maybe I need more coffee this morning but would be pleased to have you spell it out for me, in any case.

    Just what are you taking offense at and what do you disagree with in my response to you?


    Sorry, OldPro (none / 0) (#312)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:46:46 PM EST
    I missread your comment and thought you were speaking directly to me with the ignorant comment. My bad.

    Clarify (none / 0) (#317)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:02:20 PM EST
    Nethercutt did take Tom Foley's seat in 1994, what do you mean WA didn't vote that way?

    Another bad aspect of caucuses is forgotten here. (5.00 / 2) (#164)
    by ghost2 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:39:42 AM EST
    That is the results of the caucus night is not binding (as far as I can tell).  Then you get Texas Hillary delegates who got calls telling them it's not necessary to go to state conventions.  

    You get the arm twisting, and more noise to change the outcome at the county and state convention levels.  

    It's a mess.

    Even as Obama camp and their MSM friends are screaming 'pledged delegates', Obama camp is doing ALL to flip pledged and add-on delegates from Hillary/Edwards to their camp.

    Her flawed strategy (5.00 / 1) (#167)
    by blogtopus on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:40:40 AM EST
    was that it didn't cynically and hypocritically game the system so that she would win a vocal minority of dems who would decide the Dem Nominee through means fair and foul (see: caucus shenanigans).

    She may have missed the boat on the caucus system, but as you point out this site may have been celebrating her nomination if she'd used it. On the flip side, I find it very easy to believe that not only would Obama fans be howling substantially louder than we are right now, the DNC, including Brazille and Dean, would be AT THIS MOMENT changing the caucus rules and/or investigating shenanigans to disqualify those results.

    It's fun to make up events using 'if', isn't it?

    correct - Hillary didn't game the system (5.00 / 0) (#217)
    by Josey on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:14:44 AM EST
    but Dean, Brazile and other Dems leaders supporting Obama knew he would and did. Whatever it takes to snatch...

    Club Obama explicitly gamed the system (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by Ellie on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:44:01 AM EST
    Talking about winning more "contests" for instance, to make it seem that all states were equal in size, is explicitly gaming the system.

    Using positive media from those early wins -- and using Dems for a Day -- to make it seem like an unstoppable movement was occurring is the definition of gaming the system.

    It doesn't matter if the other team could have used these barely democratic tactics. This report shows that the popularity and substance of Obama's candidacy is exaggerated.

    All the smoke and sizzle was intentionally generated to draw attention, and it's pretty clear why, months into this, the promised steaks have yet to appear.

    There are a lot of things Penn could have done (5.00 / 3) (#222)
    by dianem on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:23:13 AM EST
    Axelrod gamed the caucus system. He manipulated students and black voter's to believe that Clinton was a racist and it was their duty to actively oppose her whenever possible. I wonder how open and honest the caucuses were? Caucuses are a lot easier to game than primaries. Based on what I've read, it's easy to game caucuses. And the people who voted were motivated. Many on the internet had been told that Clinton was cheating and told how to game the system to benefit Obama. I was still posting on Daily Kos when caucuses were going on, and there were diaries describing Clinton cheating (mostly overblown, from what I could see), and there were wink, wink comments describing how to manipulate the process in Obama's favor (always phrased as a way to counter Clinton's cheating). There are very few things that an 18 year old who is on a mission will not do for "justice". They haven't learned to temper idealism with judgement.

    Good points (5.00 / 3) (#249)
    by Pacific John on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:59:43 AM EST
    I'd also add that netroots political culture articulated by Crashing the Gates heavily borrows its tactics from movement conservatism, that politics is a blood sport, and you have to dive into gray ethics to win. IMO, the CtG crowd took all the wrong lessons.

    As you say, newly political Obama supporters lacked moorings to know when people were simply throwing sharp elbows, or when people were violating taboos. It did not help at all that these new gate crashers assumed that the Edwards, Dood, Clinton, etc. campaigns were operating from the same anything-to-win ethic.

    It was very interesting to see how Obamaism manifested itself differently in the two states I volunteered in. In Texas, we saw hyper-aggressive zeal. In Oregon, I saw a much mellower, less aggressive crowd, but one that still didn't seem to have an ethical anchor - for example, as seems to have happened elsewhere, I took a call from befuddled Hillary voters sent to me by the elections office after Obama canvassers offered to take their ballots. Now, as any aficionado of Greg Palast knows, it does not take much to shave votes in a traditional election, but such efforts are far less effective when you are dealing with a couple of ballots at a time, rather than when you are working with documents for a whole gym full of people.


    Wow. Taking ballots. (5.00 / 1) (#310)
    by dianem on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:29:37 PM EST
    I'm betting that's an effective technique. It would ensure that Obama's supporter's ballots get turned in and it would provide an opportunity to filter out Clinton ballots. I'm betting that it's illegal. I can't believe that the law allowing vote by mail permits this. How would a voter ever know if their ballot was actually turned in? Heck, a lot of people write votes in with a pencil. How would they ensure that nobody simply changed the ballot to a different candidate? And hte people most likely to fall for it would be seniors who are unfamiliar with the system and probably don't really like going out to the polls. A lot of seniors don't drive more than they have to.

    In Oregon (none / 0) (#318)
    by Pacific John on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:07:41 PM EST
    this appears to be legal.

    exactly: the real Democrat wanted to win the WH (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by dotcommodity on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:47:00 AM EST
    Axelrod just planned to win the nom, who cares if its in states that will never go Democratic. (He maybe thought Obama would do better in the big swing states - but he has failed to.) But he has won by winning in low turnout little red state caucuses, with high delegate to voter ratios.

    His delegate lead is 97% from those little red sates/caucuses.
    And that does not win the WH. It IS gaming the system.

    Clinton today per electoral-vote.com shows that clearly. She would exceed the 270 electoral votes we need to win by well out of the stolen votes margin you can expect from the Rethugs in the GE.

    With May 21 latest polling:
    Clinton 327 McCain 194

    She's a winner! (She's a lady, she's got style, she's got grace...)

    I agree (5.00 / 2) (#208)
    by stillife on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:07:16 AM EST
    (He maybe thought Obama would do better in the big swing states - but he has failed to.)

    Just as the Clinton campaign got out-gamed in the red caucus states, the Obama campaign expected to win Big Blue States like CA, NJ and MA on Super Tuesday.  If it had gone their way, Hillary would have been knocked out of the race.  Too bad about that pesky popular vote.

    I don't think anybody expected this race to be a dead heat at this late stage.


    You are rationalizing (5.00 / 0) (#198)
    by ineedalife on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:59:17 AM EST
    There wouldn't be such a thing as super-delegates if they were bound to rubber-stamp the elected delegate results.

    brilliant (5.00 / 4) (#203)
    by p lukasiak on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:03:34 AM EST
    this report is absolutely brilliant... I'm so jealous I could scream... Jeralyn, please send my personal regards to "P. Cronin" -- as someone who has been looking at this data for months, I'm just overwhelmed by his/her work on this subject.

    FWIW-I'm jealous of your work! (5.00 / 0) (#220)
    by Joan in VA on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:16:39 AM EST
    The author of the report (5.00 / 3) (#212)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:09:38 AM EST
    is Peniel Cronin, President & CEO of Global Basics and eNameWiz.com. Cronin holds a B.S. in Accounting from Arizona State University and has 16 years experience as an accountant and Director of Marketing for several SMEs.

    Cronin directs all strategic development and product/market research and developed the algorithms and database that power the eNameWiz multilingual domain creation and search system.

    Representative clients through Global Basics have included the Arizona Office of Tourism, the Nevada Commission on Tourism, the Arizona Shopping Consortium, Shop America Alliance, America West Airlines, Southwest Airlines, AeroMexico and numerous other travel and domain industry organizations.  Cronin holds three US & German Patents, several trademarks and numerous copyrights.

    Cronin suffers from a disability resulting from a car accident 40 years ago at age 12 which left her "wheelchair bound" for two years, at a time when there were no curb cuts or ramps and nothing was accessible.  This is what fueled her passion about the caucus information.  She knows what it's like to be locked-out of the mainstream and to be excluded from full participation in what others take for granted.

    My pledge: (5.00 / 1) (#232)
    by Radiowalla on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:38:30 AM EST
    If the Democratic Party does not seriously revamp the primary system to make it a truly democratic process, I am going to register as an Independent.

    I have been a party loyalist for more years than I care to admit, but this byzantine, anti-democratic primary has pushed me to the brink.

    Anyone care to join me?

    You may very well see me (5.00 / 0) (#236)
    by shoephone on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:41:57 AM EST
    right there with you.

    Points (5.00 / 1) (#233)
    by Athena on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:38:57 AM EST
    Several quick points:

    1.  At least in spirit, the caucuses are not ADA-compliant at all - I've been asking about this here for a while.

    2.  The report even more points to the travesty of ignoring 2 PRIMARIES in 2 of our largest 10 states - the scale of the problem is magnified.

    3.  The whole nomination should NEVER begin with a caucus - the holy Iowa caucus.  

    Reports of Iowa caucus fraud (5.00 / 1) (#281)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:53:13 PM EST
    were linked here 'way back, when I did so.  I found many in readers' comments on the online Des Moines Register, for one site.  But Iowa's incredibly lax residency rules meant that outright fraud wasn't even required -- essentially, with a three-day residency rule, all you have to do in Iowa is say that you're an Iowan.  That you intend to be an Iowan, yep, youbetcha.

    I was watching this and appalled by it because I was tipped off by a young relative in school there for only a few weeks when she was recruited to be an Obama caucuser.  She thought it was a fun way to meet guys -- including, as it turned out, guys from Illinois who came across the river that day.

    Btw, by the time of the Iowa caucus, she already had packed her bags and was transferring to college elsewhere.  So she was only briefly an Iowan and didn't intend to ever be in Iowa again.  But she had fun being an "Iowan Dem for a Day."  (She also sent me to YouTube for the videos posted there on how to do so and game the Iowa system. . . .)


    Try searching archives here (none / 0) (#305)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:00:18 PM EST
    as the search function is good.  Try my screen name, Iowa, caucus, etc. -- same for Texas, as there were reports of caucus thuggery here -- and/or also search the online Des Moines Register.  Same in Nevada, where I read reports of caucus thuggery in the online Las Vegas Sun and other papers there.  Etc.

    Good to have you with us here. :-)


    Some problems (5.00 / 1) (#238)
    by DFLer on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:43:41 AM EST
    a. Not all cauci are created equal. In MN, for example, there was a secret ballot, though the cauci were run during boutique hours and being a registered voter was not required. But there was no Iowa style public "intimidation" factor.

    b. Not all primaries are created equal, that is some open to only Democrats, some to everyone, etc.

    c. Cauci are also use for other purposes, ie. party business, election of officers, election of county and district convention delegates, and selection of delegates on the issues of State wide or Cong District races.

    d. The problems cited all above come up primarily (oops) in presidential election years. What to do the rest of the time?

    The system is a mess. I sure don't know the answer. This year really points out how unrepresentative of the Democratic Party  electorate the process can be.

    I know cauci is correct... (none / 0) (#244)
    by kredwyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:51:50 AM EST
    but gosh...it looks odd. :)

    Jeralyn, this post is exceptional (5.00 / 1) (#239)
    by shoephone on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:46:21 AM EST
    Most distrubing to me is that, at the same time so many states are making it easier for people to vote in the primaries (mail-in ballots), the states with caucuses, like mine, are making it much harder. And the parties are so transparent about disenfranchising us.

    "Counter-intuitive" doesn't begin to describe it...

    Caucuses ARE Unfair (5.00 / 1) (#255)
    by creeper on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:18:46 PM EST
    I live in a small town in Iowa.  We have a high proportion of elderly in our town.  It's impossible for many of them to get to the caucuses.  That's simply not fair, nor is it representative of our voters.

    This needs to be changed...NOW!

    I wrote a long post on the (5.00 / 1) (#260)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:28:54 PM EST
    unfairness of the caucus system for those in nursing homes here.

    Paul Lukasiak did this one on the elderly.


    This is the chief talking point ... (5.00 / 0) (#259)
    by Robot Porter on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:27:09 PM EST
    if Clinton continues to lead in the popular vote when the primary season ends:

    "Obama's margin in the elected delegates come from a grossly flawed caucus process, and this is demonstrated by Hillary's lead in the popular vote."

    If the Democratic Party will not support the clear will of the voters, who will?

    Arguments for caucuses (5.00 / 0) (#277)
    by McKinless on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:50:14 PM EST
    Caveat: I support Hillary over Obama for policy reasons.

    The current--and unprecedented--contest between two equally-popular candidates has generated enormous interest and hence enormous turnout, both in primaries and caucuses.

    Enormous turnout strains the caucus system. The caucus system was not designed to handle conditions where huge numbers want to participate. It was designed to function when overall popular interest is much lower. Caucuses typically attract the most committed, most interested political types. Yes, it gives them disproportionate voice but mostly because they're the ones willing (or able!) to turn out and do the party's business.

    In such times, caucuses serve(d) a useful purpose. But it's a purpose that loses meaning when so many people want to be involved, as this year.

    Masterful (5.00 / 1) (#316)
    by andrys on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:00:33 PM EST
    and certainly thorough.  This is a piece that should be distributed far and wide the next week...

    Unearned Delegates versus Earned Delegates (4.20 / 5) (#59)
    by Exeter on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:09:09 AM EST
    If the status quo stands, Obama will be the first candidate in the modern political era to lose popular vote and still win the party nomination, if he is nominated.  And he will have lost the popular will of the people by a landslide. Part of the super delegates job is to correct flaws in the system-- such as Obama racking up unearned delegates in caucuses.

    Not bugs, features... (1.00 / 0) (#4)
    by Tano on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:32:34 AM EST
    The whole point of a caucus is to weight the preference toward the committed party member, rather than the casual voter, and to bring those committed people directly into the process. Who can go out and generate real excitement, real commitment?

    Otherwise you end up with candidates who skate by on name-recognition or inevitability auras. Depth of committment is certainly a valid criterion to consider when a party is choosing a nominee.

    LOL! (5.00 / 6) (#6)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:35:36 AM EST
    Spin much?

    Isn't this another way of saying the creative (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by bjorn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:39:24 AM EST
    class should pick the nominee.  What the hell is a casual voter?

    Yes, it is. (5.00 / 9) (#13)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:41:55 AM EST
    It's the attitude of a typical Obama supporter. Only SOME voters are good enough to pick the nominee. The unwashed masses are too low-information and bitter and racist to be trusted. Besides, some of them have scary vaginas!!!!

    I agree, madamab! Caucusing (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by zfran on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:48:29 AM EST
    brings more elitists out than the common man/woman.

    Hee! I wouldn't go that far. (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:51:21 AM EST
    But, I do think that the report proves that caucusing does disenfranchise a lot of voters.

    I believe that the poster to whom I was responding has an elitist view of who REALLY should be choosing our nominee.


    It takes away (5.00 / 3) (#72)
    by BarnBabe on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:17:51 AM EST
    the 'secret' voting plus you can bus in all of your own people. It is just a sneaky way of back room Chicago style. Can you imagine being a hispanic worker on the LV strip with your union bossess watching having to stand there and cast your vote? Like you have a choice? Intimidation for sure. And if the party pays for a causus, then they need to pay for all the primaries too or else pay for nothing.

    Depth of support? (5.00 / 11) (#42)
    by kredwyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:56:51 AM EST
    You mean that a single mom who has to work her shift cause she doesn't get paid for taking time off and can't spend hours in the caucus gym doesn't have the appropriate level of commitment?

    The 18 year old who is registered to caucus but can't because he's stationed in Afghanistan? Not enough commitment their either, right?

    The 89 year old who tires easily...has been voting since FDR...doesn't have the level of commitment because she can't get to the site, gets to the site but can't hear everything and gets confused?

    I think that caucuses are worse because the way they are handled in most places are confusing and  clamorous time sucks that cause problems for a number of different voting blocks...


    Just look to FL to see how the "elderly" (5.00 / 5) (#63)
    by zfran on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:14:54 AM EST
    spread their time around and I believe are the most reliable voting bloc (someone could check that on me). In Tx we voted by machine and caucus. Believe me, by the very stretch of the term "caucus" we did not. There were no rules to follow, and you had to have voted in the "primary" to caucus. No one cared if you had proof that you had voted (ie, voting card, receipt)and we were told, oh, well, if you're here to caucus, you must have voted earlier. There were teachers at our precinct and the state testing was the next day. We didn't even get to start to caucus until after 10PM (we were told to be there at 7PM). I could write a book!!

    Look, address the points (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:16:13 AM EST
    in the post.

    The whole point of the nomination process is to pick the best candidate to win the GE.

    Caucuses in red states with very low turnout are being weighted the same as high-turnout primaries in swing states that we need to win the GE.

    Is that realistic? No. Do we caucus in the GE? No.

    Seems to me that our system is failing us and needs to be reformed. This year, due to the fact that the nominee was not chosen early, we are finally focusing on the flaws in our system.

    Clearly something is wrong here. Or do you think that the Democrats have a good record of winning Presidential elections?


    States do select how they vote. (none / 0) (#83)
    by zfran on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:26:48 AM EST
    Tx votes both ways. The people who do vote are in essence punished by the dnc for low voter turnout in past elections. If the dnc wants better turnout, they need to turnout better candidates. This year, however, was the exception. Imagine what the delegate count might be if the same number of voters in the last election, turned out this year. They would have been different using the same delegate split.  

    Neither may be perfect (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by Democratic Cat on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:16:24 AM EST
    But it is wrong to equate them. One is demonstrably better, i.e., more reflective of Democratic principles, than the other.

    Participation is astonomically higher for a primary than a caucus. There is no denying that fact.

    Sometimes (like in 2000, 2004) I rue the fact that everyone gets to vote in the GE, becuase I think many people make stupid decisions. But I always try to remind myself that it's their country too. Participation is good.


    I.e., democracy wants us to be voters (5.00 / 1) (#282)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:55:48 PM EST
    but the Democratic Party wants us to be party regulars.

    And this year showed the vast gulf between the two goals -- and that the latter is not necessary good for democracy.  Or even for the party, when it loses in fall.

    The stoopid hurts, huh?


    But... (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by NotThatStupid on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:23:56 AM EST
    ... at least your ex ...

    My (now ex) Boyfriend served a tour in Iraq (in 2003 when it wasn't so bad) and he told me that he didn't know a single guy in his unit other than he that had requested an absentee ballot. He said, basically, that an absentee ballot deadline is the last thing on your mind when you're in a war zone.

    ...had the opportunity to vote absentee, whether or not he exercised it.

    In a caucus state, he wouldn't even have had the opportunity.


    Woah... (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by kredwyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:35:08 AM EST
    when comments get deleted...the conversation looks really strange.

    Didn't say it was the cure all... (none / 0) (#74)
    by kredwyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:20:01 AM EST
    But the elderly and the absent do have the option of an absentee ballot for primary states.

    They don't have to take it...and it appears that your BF's unit opted to not (I know other soldiers who have made the request for ballots).

    But there is an option.

    I remember taking a train and a bus to get to the embassy to vote in 1996 when I was living overseas.

    The answer to the long lines is adding more polling booths...not fewer.

    And many states are trying to figure out how to set up a papertrail for future elections to make sure that 2000 doesn't happen again.


    Really? (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by kredwyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:27:58 AM EST

    How exactly do they do that? Cause my understanding of most caucus states is that you have to be in the room to be "counted."

    I know that IA doesn't have absentee caucusing...


    Casual voter is 'wrong' to media + Class Creatives (5.00 / 1) (#206)
    by Ellie on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:05:23 AM EST
    What the hell is a casual voter?

    LOL -- that jumped out at me too. Maybe it's someone who doesn't care what kind of hot beverage bloggers drink or who they're promoting this year, and won't care again when s/he's being blamed for the candidates that those bloggers are denouncing next year.


    A casual voter (5.00 / 0) (#241)
    by lilburro on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:48:33 AM EST
    is someone who didn't show up to vote in Florida or Michigan, because they had no commitment to the Dems downticket.

    I'd prefer casual voters (5.00 / 0) (#257)
    by blogtopus on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:24:22 PM EST
    to faddish voters.

    a casual voter (1.00 / 0) (#15)
    by Tano on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:43:21 AM EST
    is someone who hears that there is an election happening and says, oh - I should go down and vote for that person I heard was pretty good.

    Vs. a committed Democrat who maybe even works for the party, or at least tracks the issues and candidates closely and has a real committment to the party.


    Unfortunately (5.00 / 6) (#17)
    by Edgar08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:44:35 AM EST
    The people in this case aren't committed Democrats, they are committed Obama supporters.

    I suspect they don't agree with you. (3.00 / 0) (#26)
    by kindness on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:48:26 AM EST
    I also suspect that if Hillary had won any of those Caucuses that you wouldn't be saying the same thing about that particular Caucus.

    Perhaps (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Edgar08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:54:22 AM EST
    It was just my understanding from the get go that Obama supporters aren't inclined to be Democrats if it wasn't for Obama.

    Maybe that was over-reported at the time.


    OMG, you are hilarious. (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:46:07 AM EST
    As if you can measure commitment that way!

    I suppose no one who works for the Democratic Party has ever voted in a primary!


    huh? (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Tano on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:56:42 AM EST
    I dont follow your logic.

    Of course if the option is a primary, then people who work for the party will vote in the primary.

    What are you trying to say?


    All I'm saying is that in (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by zfran on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:07:07 AM EST
    past elections, as well as this one, there has been voter disenfranchisement. The powers that be do not want one vote per person, they want people to fall in line. Each state gets to decide to have a primary or caucus, or both, and this would be fine if the goal would be to get out as many voters as possible. Both candidates this year energized voters and yet, when push came to shove, again, the votes weren't always counted fairly. That is why both sides should be furious.

    yeah, sorry to be the cynic (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Tano on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:59:23 AM EST
    but something tells me that if Hillary had won all the caucuses and Obama won the primaries, then this site would be filled with praises of the wonderful caucus system.

    Its not like every single solitary issue, event, word, or thought that has been uttered this season hasnt been run through the spin cycle.


    Maybe so (5.00 / 6) (#48)
    by Edgar08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:02:09 AM EST
    But then we'd be on the wrong side of the issue.

    How are we disrespecting people? (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:02:09 AM EST
    The figures clearly show that the caucus system is not as democratic (small d) as the primary system. What does that have to do with the people in the state?

    I really don't understand this sort of talking point. We Hillary supporters are not the ones that insult voters. We think everyone should have a voice.

    As for putting the "blame" on the voters of the state for whether or not caucuses are held, I think it's a financial thing, just like kindness said. If the party paid for primaries, all the states would have them. The voters could say whatever they wanted, but if the state didn't have the money, it would be moot.


    Yes and no... (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by oldpro on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:23:12 AM EST
    "it's a financial thing."

    "If the party paid for the primaries, all the states would have them."  No.  They wouldn't.  Parties cannot afford to pay for primaries.  In my state of Washington, we have both, thanks to a voter initiative establishing a primary for which the state pays (around $10M)  The caucuses cost the parties NOTHING...in fact, the caucuses RAISE MONEY for the party.

    Your further comment about "if the state didn't have the money" is not germane.  All states 'have the money' to run elections.  It is appropriated in their budgets by their legislatures and signed by their governors.  They cannot refuse to fund a legal statewide election.


    Nope, caucuses do cost the parties (5.00 / 0) (#180)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:45:05 AM EST
    and not the states.  That's why some states won't do them.  You mean that state parties -- at least, apparently in your state; some reported otherwise -- can show a net gain, be in the black, after paying the costs of caucuses.

    this isn't just a matter of taste (5.00 / 5) (#67)
    by kempis on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:16:19 AM EST
    As demonstrated by the material Jeralyn has painstakingly provided, caucuses do not take an accurate reading of the will of the majority in a state.

    This fact--and it is an indisputable fact--needs to be hammered until people who live in caucus states AND the parties decide that to avoid nominating someone who is essentially less electable than his opponent in the future, we need to do away with caucuses and replace them with the more democratic primaries, which give us a much broader sampling of voter sentiment.


    Caucus meetings inheirently (5.00 / 3) (#91)
    by masslib on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:32:30 AM EST
    limit participation.

    Both are citizens (5.00 / 7) (#24)
    by kredwyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:47:23 AM EST
    who get to have their say.

    Additionally, you have the citizen who has done their research, is a member of the party, but doesn't have time or energy to volunteer and work for the party.


    its not about citizenry (1.00 / 0) (#36)
    by Tano on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:54:40 AM EST
    Political parties are private organizations that run their own affairs and get to choose their own leaders any way they want.

    I am not arguing that caucuses are necessary or objectivly good, just that they are perfectly legitimate, in that they implement a set of perfectly legitimate criteria, including having the leadership chosen by people who show at least some level of committment to the party and the process beyond just checking a box and mailing in a vote.


    Who cares? (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:58:26 AM EST
    Seriously...if they are marking a ballot with Obama's or Hillary's name on in it November, are we going to disdain their votes because we don't think they are "committed" enough to the Democratic Party?

    Are we Bush, now, expecting loyalty oaths from our voters?

    And what about the Independents and "Obamacans" that Obama was bragging about? Are they "committed" enough to the Democratic Party to deserve a vote?


    I disagree (5.00 / 6) (#51)
    by Democratic Cat on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:04:59 AM EST
    I think it is a problem when the criteria set by the party -- the *Democratic* party, for pete's sake -- is not reflective of the will of the people, especially the likely voters in the GE. Whether more or less committed, everyone gets one vote in November. The most solid voting group in the Fall is older folks, yet I believe they caucus at lower rates than younger folks. What does that tell you about commitment in the primary translating to commitment in November?

    the will of what people? (1.00 / 0) (#287)
    by Tano on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:59:59 PM EST
    hey, you are the guys so upset about the "Dem for a day" phenomenon. That is much more likely, in fact guaranteed to be a permanent part of any strictly primary system. George Bush can go down to an office in DC and register as a Dem and vote in our primary. Anyone can.

    I think Dems should run our party and choose our candidates. Maybe some GOP troublemakers might sit around for a few hours in a caucus just to sabotage us, but not many. Give 'em an easy chance however - like instant registration, internet voting etc. and the process will not be a Democratic primary anymore - it will be. at best, a mini general election.

    Maybe you have no problem with that, but those are the issues.

    Caucuses are not some evil institution perpetrated by the great powerful "They" that controls all our lives, or whatever the reigning conspiracy talk is. They are a very tradtional institution, growing out of small-town direct democracy days. The people who cared enough about the party to be activly involved would get together and express their preferences for leadership. It was never meant to be a contest waged amongst the general public, or even that part of the public that checked "D" when they registered to vote.


    Right... (5.00 / 4) (#55)
    by kredwyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:06:04 AM EST
    That's why members of other parties and Independents can and do join into the caucus process.

    My point is that they cut out voters who, regardless of the level of research they put into it, cannot make the several hour commitment to go into a gym and be herded around like a bunch of pack animals with confusing rules, haphazard control, and folks jeering at them for supporting the "wrong" candidate.

    The way most caucuses are handled makes them sloppy and chaotic affairs.


    The POTUS is not a PARTY Leader (5.00 / 3) (#107)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:55:24 AM EST
    Where have you been getting your information?

    The POTUS is the Leader of the People of this country. The Party Leader is Howard Dean.

    The PEOPLE choose their president in this country.


    Wrong. The POTUS is automatically (5.00 / 2) (#169)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:42:03 AM EST
    the leader of the party.  Always.  In either party.  That's why it gets a small "l" -- it's not an official position, but it's a fully recognized unofficial leadership post.

    Dean's position is the party's paper-pusher, office manager, pr person, etc.  Think of it as the president's other chief of staff, for party business rather than POTUS business.  


    Regardless, when you go to the poll (none / 0) (#186)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:47:52 AM EST
    during the primaries, are you trying to choose the party leader or the president?

    Of course. But that's a different point. (nt) (none / 0) (#264)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:33:41 PM EST
    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by cmugirl on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:43:27 AM EST
    The President is the de facto head of the party.  Until August, when McCain is officially nominated, GWB is the head of the Republican Party.

    Howard Dean is head of the Democratic National Committee.


    huh? (1.00 / 0) (#289)
    by Tano on Tue May 27, 2008 at 01:02:50 PM EST
    We are not talking about a presidential election. We are talking about a system for choosing nominees. Pay attention.
    Of course there shouldnt be caucuses in a general election.

    This "private organization".... (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by ineedalife on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:38:28 AM EST
    is inviting independents and even Republicans in many states into this process. They openly use the nominating process as a party-building exercise. So saying it is a private matter is very disingenuous.

    Everything you say is true but the final phase in this process is the super-delegates and they can, and I think should, factor in the caucus deficiencies into their decision. This is the time to put the spotlight on this matter, not sweep it under the rug.


    disingenuous? (1.00 / 0) (#291)
    by Tano on Tue May 27, 2008 at 01:04:53 PM EST
    what the heck do you mean by that?

    The term "private organization" has real meaning in this society, and that is exactly what a political party is. A volunjtary membership organization in the private sector. There is nothing disingenuous about stating those facts.


    Political parties that don't have a... (5.00 / 1) (#221)
    by santarita on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:17:43 AM EST
    reliable system for determining the will of the electorate don't endure in a democracy.  

    As a private institution the party can choose any system or criteria that it wants but it had better choose wisely.


    Tano, Did you vote in a state with (none / 0) (#40)
    by zfran on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:56:21 AM EST
    a primary or caucus, just curious?

    Michigan (1.00 / 0) (#294)
    by Tano on Tue May 27, 2008 at 01:06:25 PM EST
    I voted in an illegal primary, for someone who wasnt on the ballot.
    I'm a happy camper....

    To the Dem party, a casual voter (1.00 / 1) (#284)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:57:19 PM EST
    is just a voter -- and not a donor.

    That is hysterical. (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by dk on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:41:39 AM EST
    Why don't we just let the people who donate the most money pick the candidate>  I mean, isn't that more of a measure of commitment than showing up at some high school gymnasium for an hour or two one evening?

    Tano is just agitating the thread (5.00 / 3) (#109)
    by JavaCityPal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:58:48 AM EST
    this topic is worth better discussion than where this person is taking it.

    Hear, hear. Please ignore those here (5.00 / 0) (#182)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:46:20 AM EST
    who have not read the report but only their own agendas.

    no (1.00 / 0) (#16)
    by Tano on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:44:34 AM EST
    are you a republican or something? I think getting involved in ones community, and showing up at a caucus is far more of a committment than writing a check.

    Not at all (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by Edgar08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:45:54 AM EST
    Time is money.  By your logic, Money has to be considered a metric on commitment.

    I see Tano has no sense of humor (5.00 / 5) (#33)
    by dk on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:52:34 AM EST
    (or logic).  Thanks for getting it, Edgar08.

    I'm wondering if Tano might realize that it is easier, say, for a college student to show up somewhere at dinnertime for an hour or two and shout and scream for a candidate than it might be for a frail, elderly person...or a working single mom who can't afford a baby sitter to look after the kids, etc.  Or maybe someone who doesn't want their latte sipping boss (and before you go off, I personally love my lattes), see you openly declare your preference for a candidate that you know they are against.


    If I ever argued (5.00 / 5) (#52)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:05:16 AM EST
    that caucuses were better than primaries, I'd deserve all the ridicule that was thrown at me.

    Ugh...don't you get it? (5.00 / 5) (#56)
    by dk on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:06:19 AM EST
    This particular post is not about Clinton or Obama.  It is about the fact that caucuses are less democratic than primaries.  Period.

    Do you think that your "but but but Clinton did it too!" comment makes any sense in this context?   Seriously?


    Bait and switch. (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:19:13 AM EST
    No one is arguing the primaries are perfect. No one is arguing the GE is perfect.

    Let me ask you: Which method of voting more reflects the method of voting in the GE? Caucuses or primaries?


    Are you kidding me? (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:25:47 AM EST
    What is the point of the nomination process, if not to pick a winner of the GE?

    Do you really, REALLY think that this particular system produces winners?

    When was the last Democratic President again?


    So caucuses are better because..? (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by Fabian on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:24:47 AM EST
    Let me see a caucus versus primary study about which system does the best job of picking GE winners.

    From a voter POV - primaries are superior.  From the Party POV - I dunno.


    Taking your points in turn (5.00 / 3) (#85)
    by Democratic Cat on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:27:24 AM EST
    1. I don't know enough about the NV situation, but would not support suppression of the vote. Participation is good. Democrats should always encourage participation.

    2. Caucuses are "less democratic" because they suppress participation. That's all it means. Participation is good.

    3. I have never lived in a caucus state, and I am happy for that. That doesn't mean I can't criticize caucuses as a voting method. I've never lived in Zimbabwe either, but I can certainly criticize the conduct of the recent election there.

    4. Primaries still have problems, and we have huge problems with the way elections in general are conducted in this coulntry. But look at the problems you cite: they are all problems because they suppress the vote (long lines, VoterID, purging the rolls) and/or they make the election result not reflective of the will of the people (Florida 2000, Paperless electronic voting). These are exactly the problems people are complaining about with caucuses.

    And to finish the thought (5.00 / 3) (#92)
    by Democratic Cat on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:33:28 AM EST
    although they have some problems, primaries have fewer problems than caucuses -- if one of your goals is to actually have people participate.

    Ha ha ha. Getting involved (5.00 / 0) (#286)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:59:00 PM EST
    in one's community equates with going to a caucus?  Yeh, tell us how all those college students who flooded the caucuses for fun got real involved in those communities.  C'mon.

    I agree that "depth of committment is (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by zfran on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:45:04 AM EST
    certainly a valid criterion" however, to call this the year of the "casual voter" is so ludicrus. To equate which has more impact, open all day polls, or specified-timed caucus open to fraud and the like. I did the Tx 2-step and believe me, there was fraud going on. Complaints were made, nothing was done. Fair?

    Your point would be valid except (5.00 / 4) (#35)
    by Florida Resident on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:54:28 AM EST
    that in thoses caucuses independents and Republicans voted too.  So are those your
    committed party member

    that you are reffering to?

    Reread (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by befuddled on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:58:40 AM EST
    Sure, enthusiasm is nice, but it's very clear even in the partial figures quoted here that those "enthusiastic" voters are in states where a few enthusiasts will never help and ONLY something like a massive name-recognition (with positive associations, like that's going to happen in a red state) will change enough of the electorate to post a win. The difference in numbers between the mass of the electorate and the mass of caucus attendees makes it likely that a poor sample was picked for prediction, since it was picked on the small "enthusiastic" crowd, not on typical (dare I say befuddled) voters.

    This is my new mantra and sig from the Big Dem in the Sky, pass it on:
    "Rules are not necessarily sacred,
    principles are." - Franklin D. Roosevelt


    Great Quote! (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by mogal on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:12:30 AM EST
    Hope someone uses it at the convention.

    A College Student Who Is Caucusing For The First (5.00 / 3) (#127)
    by MO Blue on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:19:11 AM EST
    time is more a committed party member than a senior who has voted a straight  Democratic ticket for decades?  Somehow that does not compute.

    A six pack of redbulls (5.00 / 1) (#178)
    by blogtopus on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:45:02 AM EST
    is an easy replacement for lack of commitment, it appears.

    Yes. The young'ns get fired up every four years (5.00 / 1) (#195)
    by Joan in VA on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:56:00 AM EST
    and then oversleep on election day. Yet their judgment should override those who have been through this drill countless times before? I don't think so.

    Joan...that is what I was saying just yesterday (none / 0) (#276)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:49:43 PM EST
    the young, newly minted voters show up for the primaries/caucuses and many are never heard from at the GE or ever again for that matter.  And, this is one of the reasons obama is going to be in trouble come November IF he is the nominee.

    Depth of commitment (5.00 / 4) (#134)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:22:16 AM EST
    is what sunk the Dems in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000, 2004...

    why stop the tradition huh?


    yes, why mess up a bad thing when we are (none / 0) (#278)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:50:33 PM EST
    on such a roll....mornin'

    Good afternoon (5.00 / 0) (#306)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:05:29 PM EST
    sadly yes, the Dems are not bringing in the Super D's to do what they were supposed to to.

    let me break the news to you: (5.00 / 5) (#147)
    by cpinva on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:30:00 AM EST
    the entire electorate is comprised of "casual voters", because it's not something done on a frequent basis. it doesn't follow, by definition, that we're all uninformed or uncommitted (just ask my wife, she'll tell you i should be committed!), it only means that most of us aren't political junkies.

    some of us even have lives outside of politics, with jobs and families and a whole bunch of other stuff going on. however, we take the time to vote, and our votes should mean something.

    so no, i don't buy into your assertion that only the "truly committed" should have a say.


    Truly Committed (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:46:21 AM EST
    could be translated into "elitist" IMO

    Yeh, I was trying to think what would be (5.00 / 0) (#290)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 01:04:01 PM EST
    the other sort of voter.  A daily voter?  (In Obama's Chicago, of course, those are Daley voters -- and some vote several times in a day.:-)

    What the Dem party officials, the paid staffers, mean by a casual voter is . . . not a donor.  That's all that their "party-building" is about -- perpetuating the positions, the jobs, of the party officials.  Paying their salaries.  And what's left over goes to, well, party parties and other events for more "party-building" -- and the cycle continues.  Self-preservation is the major motivation to understand so much in politics.  And for the voters, too, but they don't get paid for it.


    The issue (4.80 / 5) (#5)
    by Buckeye on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:35:13 AM EST
    is what system produces the most likely winner in the GE?  A caucus or a primary?  I argue, and the above analysis agrees, it is the primary.

    wouldnt the answer to your question (1.00 / 0) (#11)
    by Tano on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:41:26 AM EST
    come rather from a historical analysis of what kind of nominee tends to win GEs? Nominees who win through heavy reliance on caucuses vs. those who win through primaries?

    I dont see how the report given here makes any conclusions about the GE.


    Well, we'll just see won't we (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by Valhalla on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:09:41 AM EST
    in November, in the General Election where the 'casual voter' is king.

    The problem is that in the GE, depth of conviction does not matter.  You only get one vote and no opportunity to shout in the face of other voters about it.


    Republicans (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by ineedalife on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:20:48 AM EST
    Historical analysis says Republicans usually win in the general. Now they do caucuses too but with one big difference, they have winner-take-all. That is what the electoral college is in November. And it does not pre-suppose anything about the distribution of votes within a state. The proportional system of handing out delegates locks you into fighting last cycle's election and not adapting to new conditions. Look at Texas. The Dems gave the emerging Hispanic demographic the finger this time. Don't think they didn't notice. The returning Reagan Democrats that Hillary brought back into the party also were under-represented in delegates in many states as well.

    well - (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by Josey on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:44:29 AM EST
    >>>>from a historical analysis of what kind of nominee tends to win GEs?

    It's not the candidate backed by the Washington establishment that has always supported Obama!
    Presidents Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry...
    That's why Dems have been voting for Hillary.
    They want a Dem to win in November!


    Based on the Dem party history (5.00 / 0) (#292)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 01:05:56 PM EST
    for the last five decades, the best kind of candidate in the GE, one who can hold the White House for two terms, is the Clinton kind.  

    Who can generate real excitement? Who? Um ... (none / 0) (#299)
    by RonK Seattle on Tue May 27, 2008 at 01:22:39 PM EST
    ... it wouldn't it be Democratic windmill-tilters in turf so red they can't even elect an occasional county commissioner, would it?

    Very interesting report (none / 0) (#7)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 08:37:28 AM EST
    Can you tell us more about the author, "P. Cronin"?

    Ok (none / 0) (#117)
    by flyerhawk on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:11:47 AM EST
    Well you can do a lot of things.  Hard to see how the best possible candidate could be someone who is not interested in the job.  

    I'm arguing that the purpose of the nomination process is to select the best candidate by whatever means possible.  It certainly could be improved upon.  

    Winning in November is all that matters.  Talk of disenfranchising voters in a primary is a new phenomenon.  Up until this year my vote was ALWAYS disenfranchise since my state's primary was in June, well after things were locked up.

    Caucuses may be a flawed system but I fail to see the compelling argument that states should no longer get to choose their own nomination process.

    I'd humbly suggest (5.00 / 2) (#135)
    by kredwyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:22:44 AM EST
    that sometimes the best person for the gig is the one who says he/she doesn't want it...depending on the rest of that person's qualifications.

    The best leaders don't always have a huge flashing sign over their head saying "Hey!!! I'm a leader." They simply just lead. But on the whole, we're being conditioned to expect the flashy signs as an indicator of leadership.

    I'd also suggest that caucus states should consider how badly the caucuses appear to be run...and work to revise the process so that the established standards are met more solidly.

    For example, TX where it's supposed to be required that you show proof that you voted earlier that day...have people there to look at the proof and check you off as having voted earlier. If you didn't vote, don't caucus.


    STATES don't choose (5.00 / 5) (#177)
    by oldpro on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:44:46 AM EST
    their own process.  State PARTIES do.

    ie. Washington, my state, has both caucuses run by the two major parties (D & R) and a primary run/paid for by the state, courtesy of a ballot initiative passed by 'the will of the people' who wanted to have a say in the selection of candidates!

    The wacky result?

    The Republicans listened and allocate some of their delegates to their national convention based on the primary results and some based on the caucus results.

    The Democrats ignore the primary and base all their delegates on caucus results and a wacky formula and lots of rulz controlling the results.

    The operative word here is 'control.'

    The results this year in Washington State clearly show the problem that results from our party's chosen system.

    It's nuts and many of the party's most reliable, loyal workers are mad as Hell...and not going to take it any more.  The boss is a bully, so we'll be going on strike.  Some will even find a new boss.  The rest of us are retiring, more in sadness than in anger.

    Oh.  Wait.  That's wrong.

    We're pretty damn angry.


    To Add to the WA Dem's Disingenuousness (5.00 / 2) (#230)
    by shoephone on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:35:25 AM EST
    the party's excuse for preferring the caucus is that we don't register by party here. Therefore (they claim) Republicans can cross over and game the system in a primary. Funny how those same people clam up when someone points out the obvious: that Repubs cross over and vote in Dem caucuses as well -- just like some of the Dem party's own holy roller insiders did in the 1990's. By doing so, they got the wackiest, easiest to beat Republican Crasswell to face Dem. Locke for the governor's race.

    But here's the kicker: it's not just that the voters approved a primary system and the Dem.  party said "f*ck you". Because we had competing systems this year where only one (the caucus) was awarding delegates, people who otherwise would have voted in the primary stayed home. I know this because I spoke to those voters in the midst of doing outreach the week before the caucus. They all said, "what's the point of voting in the primary? My vote won't count for anything". End result, some of them could not make it to the caucus, and many of them refused to waste their time on a primary that would get them nothing.

    If they had voted in the primary, the numbers for Clinton would have been much higher. She may have even won that primary.

    Now the court has decided WA has to accept a "top-two" system for all statewide races, where -- regardless of party -- the top two vote getters will face each other in the general election. Both parties are flipping out because it means that, in the western part of the state, it's likely only two Dems would face each other in the GE, while in the eastern part of the state, only two Repubs would face each other.

    The current brew-ha-ha is over the way the parties are going to choose their most electable candidates for the primaries. It's looking like a very top-down decision which is angering even more historic party members.

    And you are absolutely right about the bully at the top of the Democratic food chain (though I could name a dozen other bullies in the so-called "leadership"). If Dwight Pelz isn't polishing off his resume, he oughta be. He and his little lieutenants in the WA Dem Regime have done more to anatagonize the voters than any of the candidates ever could.


    My one R vote (none / 0) (#285)
    by NWHiker on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:57:32 PM EST
    Just like some of the Dem party's own holy roller insiders did in the 1990's. By doing so, they got the wackiest, easiest to beat Republican Crasswell to face Dem. Locke for the governor's race.

    That race was my one, lone R vote: I voted for whatever his name was who was against Craswell, she scared me so much. I figured that I didn't care who the Dem was (they were all fine with me), and that in the unlikely event that the R should win I'd rather a non-lunatic. It was in 1996, iirc, and after the 1994 debacle, I felt that a normal repub was much better than the crazy Newt-like ones.

    So gaming does happen. At the 04 caucus we had a guy come in hell-bent for Kerry who gave so many right wing talking points I'm pretty sure he wasn't a Dem. Saw him later in the neighbourhood: his truck had a Bush/Cheney sticker on it. Not proof but.....


    Btw, Flyerhawk -- to your prior post (5.00 / 2) (#223)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:25:07 AM EST
    re "rationalization," in which you said that Clinton "clearly understood" what was to be done this year, I disagree.   Historicity helps.  Caucuses drew far smaller numbers, party activists, until this year.   What she/Penn didn't do was anticipate what Obama/Axelrove did in exploiting -- is that better than gaming?  I'll give you "brilliantly exploiting," if that helps -- the caucus system in a way not seen before this year.  So no one can "understand clearly" what hasn't been done before.  There are no crystal balls foretelling the future.  

    It reminds me of the story of the first legal forward pass in football -- not the Reagan movie version, but the even better real story.  After the rule change between seasons (i.e., after deaths of players and the president himself calling a meeting for a rule change), St. Louis U coach Eddie Cochems figured out that the rule change meant that the ball could be thrown through the air.  His team won the first game of the next season, 70-0.  And all opponents scored only 2 points against St. Louis U all season.  

    By the next season, of course, every team had practices throwing forward passes.  But imagine the faces of that first team up that first year when they saw the ball fly through the air.  That's what the caucuses looked like this year (if, ironically, they were won by the opposite tactic, i.e., what was called the "ground game" in politics vs. the end of the dominance of the ground game in football).

    So the question is: in 2012, is exploiting the caucus rules the way we want to pick a candidate again?  Has it resulted in the best candidate?  We will see, of course, but so far the polls say not so.  (Noting that the best candidate is not the same as the best president, as too well we know.)

    Other questions would include . . . has this really resulted in party-building, the purpose of caucuses, so those states' parties claim?  I've read a lot of reports from participants who say "never again," after what they witnessed.  So  we also will see whether they are sufficiently replaced at the polls, and in contributions to party coffers, by the bright shiny new caucus participants.

    Also . . . is this how we want candidates to spend their time and coffers?  Do caucuses, with their considerable costs per participant (all those buses across the Mississippi River!) really help Dems win in fall?  That "ground game" is far more time-intensive, it seems from reports, than campaign tactics for primary elections -- thus costing candidates time that could be spent in generally larger states that have more significance in the general election.

    This leaves aside questions of the worth of time and costs of caucuses, generally in "red states."  But this comment is more than long enough; sorry.


    Without public financing... (none / 0) (#139)
    by citizen53 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:25:27 AM EST
    you can't fix the system.

    Or you can fix it as the GOP did (5.00 / 0) (#191)
    by Cream City on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:52:06 AM EST
    and keep the caucuses in their recalcitrant states.

    Instead, you run the primary/caucus season as the general election runs -- Electoral College-style.

    I.e., winner takes all.  If Dems had done it that way, as the GOP does, it would be all over now.

    There's a quicker fix, something that's up to the party.  (Since the party cannot force states to do primaries.)


    Where were the reforms in 2000? (none / 0) (#197)
    by zfran on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:59:05 AM EST
    No one even tried to improve the system. How many primaries use machines with no paper trail?

    Dem Problems Are Not Caused Just By (5.00 / 2) (#228)
    by MO Blue on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:33:53 AM EST
    paperless voting machines. In 2000 and 2004, there were not enough polling places or operable voting machines in AA communities. Some AAs had to wait in long lines for hours to vote. Those who could not devote 3 or 4 hours to the process had to leave and were denied the opportunity to vote. It is CW that if Obama is the nominee, there will record turn outs in AA communities. Has this problem been rectified nationally? If not, why not since a large part of Obama's strategy to win the GE relies on voters in this demographic?

    Interestigly (5.00 / 1) (#265)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:35:04 PM EST
    those paperless DRE machines WERE the answer to 2000.  Talk about the medicine being worse than the disease.  

    Off topic comments (none / 0) (#200)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:00:07 AM EST
    have been deleted. This is a serious report and comments must address the caucus vs primary system.

    The report confirms what we've known (none / 0) (#210)
    by Prabhata on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:08:49 AM EST

    I would stlill like to know (none / 0) (#243)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:51:47 AM EST
    who this mysterious "P. Cronin" is.  

    Check the update (none / 0) (#245)
    by kredwyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:52:38 AM EST
    Jeralyn gives a pretty good write up on who she is.

    In the interest of full disclosure (5.00 / 0) (#250)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:04:59 PM EST
    Ms. Cronin has contributed in excess of $1,000 to Hillary.  And even though I am from Iowa originally and enjoyed the civics aspect of the caucus system, I do recognize that the nomination process is in serious need of reform.  

    In the interest of full disclosure... (5.00 / 1) (#275)
    by kredwyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:47:27 PM EST
    that doesn't negate her findings.

    Assuming her findings are factually sound (none / 0) (#309)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:18:01 PM EST
    that is fine.  She also includes her own opinions and conclusions about how to use her findings, which need to considered in light of her previously established support for Hillary.

    I do agree that caucuses should be eliminated in future elections.  


    meh... (5.00 / 1) (#314)
    by kredwyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:53:06 PM EST
    If her research methodology is sound (and after reading it, it appears to be fairly sound), her personal support for a candidate is one one factor of many to consider including her being in a wheelchair...as well as her being an accountant.

    Most of us who do research for a living try very hard to not allow our personal opinions cloud our judgment when it comes to the work we do.

    Ultimately, she points to several problems with the caucus system...ones that Marcy and I have noted in much earlier dKos discussions on the whole caucus system.


    I agree with all you say (none / 0) (#320)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:44:35 PM EST
    It may have been better for her to disclose who is supporting though

    I don't know... (5.00 / 1) (#321)
    by kredwyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:48:29 PM EST
    I'm thinking that the ADA access issue trumps a thousand bucks if you're looking at terministic screens (aka opinion filters).

    Iowa is different.... (5.00 / 0) (#293)
    by p lukasiak on Tue May 27, 2008 at 01:06:08 PM EST
    because it has developed a tradition of broad based participation in the caucus system thanks in part to the amount of media attention given to the Iowa caucuses. As a result, while I've no doubt that there would be some variation between the results of a primary election and caucuses in Iowa, you wouldn't see the gross distortions of voter sentiment that are obvious in places like Nebraska, Washington, and Texas. The problem with Iowa isn't the caucus system itself, its how the results are reported. Getting 37% of caucus participants in Iowas should be the kind of thing that barely gets mentioned in the media...

    That may be true (5.00 / 1) (#311)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:46:37 PM EST
    but in the end I have to agree that caucuses adversely impact folks with mobility problems, single parents with limited chlidcare, etc.  I 77 year old mother attended the Iowa Caucuses this year, and it was very hard on her.  Not just the trip in the middle of the winter, but the amount of time she was required to stand around and wait.  Primaries are the way to go.  

    Of course, that is just one aspect of the nomination problems overall.


    Missed that, thank you (none / 0) (#247)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 11:58:58 AM EST
    My thought too (none / 0) (#252)
    by befuddled on Tue May 27, 2008 at 12:08:29 PM EST
    Someone carefully analyzed the primary system for loopholes and this system has such big ones--besides the caucus angle, I think there was a careful plan to go for the counties/districts that would yield disproportionate delegates due to all the different state rules for translating the votes to delegates. That's the other main disadvantage and unfairness in the overall system, that the raw vote numbers are translated to representative delegates in a variety of ways. Mathematically it means that all the delegates end up having different worth too.

    I don't think the effort was to exploit the... (none / 0) (#297)
    by p lukasiak on Tue May 27, 2008 at 01:16:34 PM EST
    I don't think the effort was to exploit the differential in the way that delegates are alloted to states, rather Axelrod recognized that Clinton was running for President, and would put little time or effort into states where her chances of winning were practically nil (most of the south) or in caucus states where the effort that has to be made produces no tangible results in November. But Obama's plan would have failed miserably had it not been for the media's love-fest for him, hate-fest for Clinton, and turning Edwards into such a non-person that he felt compelled to drop out before Super-Tuesday. And Edwards ran the dumbest campaign ever -- one completely without any awareness of how the media functions. The media had Hillary, and had room for just one anti-Hillary, but instead of being smart and trying to knock Obama out of the race, Edwards concentrated his fire on Clinton -- and she wasn' going anywhere....

    Today, BTW, is Reality-Check Day in Idaho (none / 0) (#301)
    by RonK Seattle on Tue May 27, 2008 at 01:30:20 PM EST
    Their "beauty contest" primary today will supply another data point of popular preference comparison to Obama's 62% margin in the Feb 5 caucus.

    Watch also the MT and SD primaries next week, in the thick of "caucus country" (ID, WY, CO, NE, ND, IA, MN) where similar-state comparisons have been scarce.