January 5, 2008
I'm finally getting a chance to write about the caucus.
First off, it felt pretty rad to be an Iowan! We don't get that very often. Mostly people make fun of us. But we're pretty awesome- we caucus.
The three of us trucked off to Precinct 13's meeting place (the fairgrounds) and had to register. We were registered democratic voters, but we had to tell them we were there. We got index cards with numbers on them. I was 62. They capped out at 254. Then we made it to the actual caucus room--- the basement. I scoped out a space in Obama's corner near the restrooms which gave Guthrie some room to move around. John found a spot in the Edwards section. They had snacks and sandwiches. Obama had stickers. I think Edwards was better in the 'cool things for your caucusers' category.
We milled. Gus and I went back upstairs to burn off energy. Back downstairs. More milling. (at this point it becomes pretty clear that more people are caucusing than they thought would. We're a little like sardines.) Call to order. We voted the head organizer lady into the main manager position. It all seemed pretty casual. Then we had seven minutes to make final decisions about where we would be for the first count. John stayed with Edwards, I stayed with Obama, and Guthrie was disappointed there was no table for Handy Manny, so she stayed in my front pack eating pineapple.
First vote. Announcement of viability. This is my first hint that caucusing might be a little tough for me. As a rule, I pretty much vote for the underdog. There were too many underdogs. And it was kind of sad. Guthrie and I were next to the Richardson table. Those Richardson people were nice and pretty passionate about Bill. And then they had to go find another candidate to support. It was a little bit heartbreaking. Part of me wanted to cross over because maybe it would help their sadness. To be viable in our precinct you had to have 36 voters on your team. Ricardson had 9, so I couldn't have helped out much. So, we stayed in the Obama camp.
Edwards, Obama, and Clinton had viability- everyone else was out. Then there was 30 minutes of trying to convert others to your camp. I'm not so into selling. I vote for who I want to and you should be able to do the same without me being in your face. That said, I realize one of the points of the caucus is to convince people to play on your team. John was all about it. Here's a picture of him milling about hawking Edwards as a candidate. He tried to make us come over to his side, but we were having none of it- especially because we had a spot next to the bathroom.
Then there was the final vote. By this time it was 79 degrees and people were getting a little cranky and sweaty, Guthrie included. How many times can you read "Where is Baby's Mommy?" even to a one year old whose passion in life is to do things over and over at will?
In the end, Obama got 2 delegates and Clinton and Edwards one each. Edwards beat out Clinton by about 2 voters.
It was fun, not as much fun as it would have been if we'd been in a larger room, but still, it was neat to see neighbors and the atmosphere was pretty festive, except for that poor guy who was SO excited about Richardson. He was pretty non-festive by the end.
I'm kind of sad it's over. We've been looking forward to it since we moved to Iowa. I also realized that it's kind of fun knowing you voted for the winner. It's been a long time since that has happened!