The Tragic Optimist

Brief political aside

This isn’t a political blog, but I wanted to post a note about the MN caucuses here. I love the caucuses in MN. I love that we have these not terribly well-run little meetings where everyone comes together with their ideas for the party’s platform, and we all just talk and argue about the issues. It gives me hope to see so many people involved in the process, even when I don’t always agree with them.

In MN, for the DFL (equivalent of Democratic party), the caucuses are a little strange. We first do a vote for presidential candidate preference, the result of which determines how the delegates from MN are allocated. Then we do the rest of the fun stuff – choosing delegates for the next convention, voting on resolutions, asking for volunteers for party committees. It has this great small, grass-roots feel to it. Chris was the associate chair, and in charge of voting – our ballot box was an empty wine box on which Chris had written “Ballots” with marker.

Our precinct caucus tonight was just crazy. Four years ago we completely filled up a big room. Tonight, there was a line snaking through the entire retirement home where we were meeting. At one point someone came down the line telling people that if they’d caucused before, they could move to the head of the line since they didn’t need to register. Less than a dozen (me and Zoe included) stepped out of line. So many first time caucus-goers! It was awesome.

I wanted to stay for the whole thing, but Zoe was tired and overstimulated by all the people, so we headed home after I voted. The voting itself was tough, but in a good way. I had the luxury of choosing between a woman who had inspired me when I was in high school – here was a woman who showed me that a woman could be married to the most powerful man in the nation and still hold her own – and a guy who inspires me today – I love the audacity of hope. I finally settled on Obama, based on what he said were his top priorities: Iraq war, health care, energy policy and global warming. For contrast, Clinton’s top 3 were Iraq war, health care, and helping the middle class.

So the really cool numbers of the night: We had a total of around 470 people at our precinct. Thats 3 times what we had in 2004 – and 2004 was a big night for our precinct. The cool part was how much people wanted to volunteer to be part of the DFL: in our precinct, which could never convince people to volunteer for the precinct chair and associate chair positions had to change the bylaws to allow 3 people to be associate chair.

Final results for our precinct: Obama got 70%, Clinton pretty much took the rest with the odd Edwards, Biden and Kucinich votes. Apparently a fight nearly broke out about how to count the ballot with “Osama” on it (Chris said the “s” really looked like it might have been a “b”). There were exactly the right number of volunteers for the delegate / alternates, so there was no walking subcaucus to choose delegates, but apparently they did an informal count and the delegate support for senate candidates breaks down to about 70% Franken; 10% Pallmeyer; 15% Undecided; 5% Cirese.

I wanted to be a delegate and be on the resolutions committee. Since I left early, I gave our chair a letter that stated my desire. The chair told me to just sign up for the resolutions committee since no one ever wants to do that. I wasn’t too optimistic that I’d get to be a delegate given the turnout, but the chair just shook his head and said he had no idea what would happen. Turns out I do get to be a delegate (well, I’m 3rd alternate, which means I’ll almost certainly be seated at the convention) and of course, I’m on the resolutions committee. I’m pretty excited after all is said and done.



  1. Wow, that’s so cool, Ann! Good for you for being so involved!

  2. Wait…does seated at the convention mean you get to ACTUALLY GO to the Convention???? That’s SO COOL! And here I am putting in 6 hours a day doing volunteer coordination for the Obama campaign with no reward…should’ve stayed in MN!

  3. Ann

    Well, yes, but just to our Senate district 60 convention (doesn’t even include all of Minneapolis). Not the state convention or anything, so it’s really not all that exciting. I don’t really have any interest in trying to do that, though I know quite a few people who have done that.

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