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February 7, 2004
We Are Elected.. err.. Sort Of!!!


anthony elected alternate delegate

My first official elected office, of sorts! Sure, I'm only an alternate. Sure I was the only other person who volunteered to be a delegate. Still, one person besides myself voted for me!! And it wasn't Liz!

The caucus was very interesting. Here's how it went down:

We arrived at the church just before 10, and the place was packed. By all accounts, even those of the veterans, it was a huge turnout. Seeing that alone was worth going. It really felt like people cared about something.

We sorted ourselves into precincts and started talking. Our precinct was fairly split between Dean and Kerry, with several undecideds. I started out as a Kerry man, but in the process of debate changed my own mind to undecided. I was never really behind Kerry so much as an individual candidate, and I wanted to make a point concerning electability.

The Dean supporters were well-informed, well-spoken, and passionate. I liked to see that. The problem I had was that to a person they downplayed, if not completely ignored, the issue of electability. Many of them made points about "the horse race," "the junior high school idea of electability," etc. I think this is very wrong, and very dangerous.

The problem, as I see it, is that the people who attend caucuses are not the people we need to be concerned with. Everyone in that room this morning will vote for whoever the Democratic nominee ends up being, we can count on that. Because of this, they feel that they can and should be passionately supportive of their candidate of conscience. They ignore, though, that this election will be decided largely by people who weren't there today. Many of them aren't Democrats, and it is our job as Democrats to nominate someone who has enough broad appeal to get the votes of those people.

Of course we shouldn't only nominate someone based on their media-sponsored image, or their current standing in the polls, or their joementum, but we also cannot just ignore these things. It IS VERY important to find a candidate who can appeal to the middle, to the average, non-activist voter whose choice comes down to Bush vs Whoever We Nominate. I find it troubling that so many people seem to not get this basic point.

Dean is a great man, it seems, and people who follow him more closely than I do articulated many reasons why. Unfortunately, that alone is not enough to make him president. This is obvious. When have we ever, as a country, elected exactly the best person? It has always been a popularity contest to some extent, and it always will be. I think Dean has helped this campaign, and the Democratic party, enormously. He has made hopefully lasting changes in the party. Whoever is nominated will absolutely have to pay attention to the Dean supporters and their issues. He has shifted the party back to the left, when it had been moving right for several years. Still, he is not our next president.

Anyway, I tried to make my argument. I didn't argue strictly in favor of Kerry, but in favor of a well-rounded and complete look at what it takes to elect a president. At this point Kerry is the man, and it's ever more certain that he will be nominated. I think he has a chance to win. I think Edwards would also have a chance, and possibly Clark, if his campaign was being run better. I sincerely don't think that Dean can attract broad enough support. It's not because the media told me so, it's because I live and breathe.

So I changed my affiliation from Kerry to Undecided and offered myself as the delegate for that contingent. I lost to a woman who seemed to think that I wasn't undecided enough, whatever that means. It is true, I secretly harbor an opinion. It's a strange thing to represent people who don't know what they think. Anyway, I became the alternate, largely by default.

Frankly I don't know why the others didn't vote for me. Maybe I should have brushed my hair. Oops, there I go with that electability thing again.

Regardless, I'm proud to have participated, and happy to have spoken my mind. I can see now why the caucus system is popular, though I stand by my position that it's less than ideal. It is a lot of fun and gave me a much greater feeling of participation in our democracy than I've had before.

More pictures here.

Anthony in 2012! Woo!


Previous Comments

Congratulations! Don't forget us little people now that yer a big-time politico...

huzzah indeed!

and me too!