Coming to the aid of the party
Aspen, CO Colorado
The most interesting and humbling thing about the local and national political process, in this time of intense and unprecedented interest in it, was how little I understood about it, and how many holes in the system need to be repaired.
I would have said I was pretty savvy on the subject, and it turned out I didn’t know squat. I didn’t understand the caucus system, didn’t have a clue about the superdelegates and their potential deciding role in the August democratic primary, didn’t know that the rules were different for every state (and for the different parties). Colorado has been left out of the loop for so many years, with the nominees sewn up before we had a say, so it came out of the blue when the caucus was advanced to February and we became a swing state.
We ended up with the sardine-packing caucus at the former youth center, and I know that I didn’t know I was supposed to check a delegate box or stay to vote for precinct delegates; I just wanted to vote and get OUT and so did everybody else. Lesson: To make the caucus process really work, more of us should have stayed.
Ever since I began learning about it, I’ve said that Colorado should scrap the caucus and have a civilized primary election where everyone can participate. I suggested this at the assembly meeting last week, where delegates officially were chosen to go to the state meeting, thence to be whittled down for the national convention in August.
I would have prepared better if I’d realized (duh) that the 50-odd people left in the pack had a high tolerance level, if not downright enthusiasm, for this sort of thing. The suggestion was shot down, but the group agreed to get rid of the superdelegates and, very important, endorsed Woody Creek’s suggestion to encourage county precincts to hold their own smaller caucuses in the future instead of trying to squash everyone together into one room where the “chatting” purpose is nonfunctional.
If Colorado is going to stick with the caucuses, we need to make it work the best way we possibly can. Woody Creek, Precinct 7, broke away from the pack and held its own caucus on Super Tuesday, which, from all reports, was a success. Not as many participants as a primary would have allowed, but a big turnout with room for discussion.
We have venues in the county (the library, the schools, plenty of big homes, Redstone Lodge) to encourage smaller, more participatory caucuses. If we’re going to have a big caucus, fire up the Music Tent.
Some say we’ll probably never have an election like this in decades, but I hope (note the “hope”) it’s not true. I wish ALL elections were this exciting and that we would ALL take part whether it’s a caucus or a primary.
I’d rather boil in oil than go to any of the conventions, but I think this election season has shown us that to fight the system you have to maybe not JOIN it, but participate in it. We found out that Independents had absolutely no vote or say in this election.
I’m a registered Democrat, but I’ve always thought of Aspen as a party-less town (in the political respect) and of myself as an Independent. Now I’m thinking I’d better get my butt over to the party meetings (whenever they might be, more to find out) and get involved on a more grassroots level.
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