Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The 1992 Washington State Caucus

I just posted about the locations for the upcoming Democratic caucus. And I got all mad about it because I hate the caucus system.

I've never actually participated in a caucus. I was out of town for the 2004 caucus. I was registered in Oregon (which has a meaningful primary system, as Washington should) in early 2000 and in 1996. And I was shut out of Washington state caucus in 1992 -- the first year that I was old enough to vote in a presidential race -- because I had to work.

I'm less indignant about it now, but I remember at the time, I was outraged that young/poor people like me who had to work in the evening had no opportunity to cast a vote.

And it's not like I didn't have an opinion. I was so intensely excited about Bill Clinton's candidacy that I attended all his rallies, which were like super-crowded rock shows. I'd transcend my claustrophobia and politely push my way to the front so I could be as close as possible to him. And when he got close, I'd thrust my hand out and hope he'd grab on, preferably with both his hands, preferably with a local photojournalist capturing it for a feature story in the paper several days later.



chuck b. said...

I voted for him in 1992, but I didn't vote at all in 1996 (when I was a harried grad student and didn't know wtf was going on). I don't think California has a caucus system. Can you explain what that is exactly? how is it different than a primary? (without a lot of words--because I can't pay attention for very long.)

LMM said...

I think our Washington state caucus system is painful and leaves a lot of voters out of the loop. Who attends a WA state primary- party faithful- our state has no leverage in a national election- candidates don't come here to campaign, they come here to fund raise and everyone made a stop at in Renton last year. If we had a voting primary, instead of the caucus primary, I believe we would get a higher percentage of voters participating. BTW- I saw President Clinton speak- he is amazing. I am also glad that Sen. Hillary won in NH. Thank you very much on the caucus locations.

Anonymous said...

The Clinton years were such a let down unfortunately, even after 12 years of Bush Sr. (effectively). As magazines such as The Progressive, The Nation, Z, etc. pointed out all through the 90s, Clinton's policies were actually more conservative then Richard Nixon's. Even the big-brother stuff: the omnibus counter-terrorism act of 1994, the precursor to the Patriot Act. I went to the rally B. Clinton had at the PPM in '93, and watched as his fans were shouting down an old man who had a sign questioning the capitulation to the pharma and insurance industries on health care. I watched as the police escorted the peaceful gentleman out.

I hope the Democratic Party send the Clintons packing.

JvA said...

Caucuses? They're this weird undemocratic system that certain state parties use to select their presidential candidates.

Instead of casting a vote privately at a time that works for each individual, those who want to cast a vote must attend a lengthy meeting and state their preference publicly.

In the caucus system, many citizens are denied the opportunity to vote because they have to staff emergency rooms, patrol the streets, take care of their children, serve drive-through burritos, etc.

It's fucking ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

That is you in the lower right corner of the photo, right?

I had the privilege of meeting VP Al Gore when I worked at NASA. The administrator brought him into my office to show him this "NCSA Mosaic thing" and the earliest web pages.

The Prez and Veep both used the NASA airfield when visiting SF because it was a government secured airstrip. So I saw them both multiple times. Only got to speak to Gore that one time, though.