Time to end the caucus system?

After experiencing the caucus system first hand, it’s clear that it’s a broken system that does not help get the most people involved in the process of electing presidential candidates. This isn’t just about Hillary losing. It could be your candidate next time.

Let’s  look at the numbers.

In 2012, Washington Democrats turned out 1,755,000 voters to vote for Obama. This year, the caucuses turned out just 230, 000 voters. That represents only approx 13.1% of the eligible voters.

Alabama, just to randomly select one state which runs a primary, in a part of the country that usually votes Republican so there should be disillusion with the process, received 398,164 out of 797,000 voters. That is almost 50% participation.

Louisiana turned out 311,000 votes for their primary, 809,000 in voters in 2012. Again, almost 38% in a state with a low voter turnout in general.

I could go on with this, but the general trend is that the Democrats are purposely culling almost 87% of the Democratic voters in WA. It seems to me that Hillary’s camp probably, in general, felt that her comfortable lead meant that they didn’t have to come out to be faced with Bernie supporters, a small percentage of whom have had  anger management issues, from what I’ve seen on Facebook and also at Hillary tables around Port Townsend, for example.

There were also some fudging of the rules at my caucus, and I’ve heard at another caucus a friend attended. I don’t believe that the fudging caused any difference in outcome, but it certainly led to a mass exodus from the caucus before either side could elect delegates. Both team captains where I attended were not happy with the decision, arbitrarily made by an election official, who was not willing to change anything.  Add to that misinformation of what precinct voters were in on various official web sites, a rule  that said if I was out of town or unavailable for some (most) reasons I couldn’t vote while this rule was not enforced at all, just left me feeling that there has to be a better way to do this.

It’s amazing that in a state like Washington, that values it’s Democratic principles, and is usually electing Democratic officials from Presidents, Senators, Congresspeople, etc, that the Democratic Party is so willing to put in place an antiquated system that keeps so many voters from participating. It’s also ironic, because the Bernie supporters are often so keen on ending the privilege of the 1% that they claim is running the country. We’ll see if they are so keen to democratize the voting process, that seems to be run by the 13%.



3 Responses

  1. I agree with you Al – time for a 21st Century process!

  2. I agree. Democrats should be more democratic. Is there a name behind this post?

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