Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Experience at the Nevada Democratic Caucus

I only heard about the Nevada Democratic Caucus a week or so ago. I got an email, and went to try and find my caucus location. I tried the website twice, and then again on a different computer, and just got errors. But I finally did get a postcard with my location: Silverado High School, which is coincidentally the school a friend's kids go to. But, should I go? I mean, Barack Obama is running unopposed, so what's the point?

This is a professional operation,
I tells ya!
Well, I figured I ought to do my civic duty, and go regardless. The Other Half--likely story--wasn't feeling well *cough* *cough*, so he didn't go with me. When I got to the school, there was little indication of where to go. And the wind was ferocious, kicking up dust and debris. My very short hair was mussed anyway, and I had dirt in my eyes and teeth. Shielding my eyes with my hand, I followed a couple of likewise staggering people, hoping I was going the right way. Then I saw a sign taped to the door.

We lined up inside at the A-E, F-L, M-S, S-Z tables. There was no ID check, but they did ask my address. Which was good, because there are two James Greenlees in my area, apparently! I got my caucusing ballot, and headed inside the gymnasium. Wow, those Silverado Sky Hawks are apparently good at everything! State champs at most, runners up at others. I was impressed.

Not a tough choice.
Anyway, at first I was amused by the very small turnout. I wasn't sure if the few people there were like me, supporters of the President, or people determined to embarrass him by voting "uncommitted." Slowly, over the half hour, more people streamed in. All said, there were over 150 people in our group, by my estimate. And strikingly, the racial makeup of those assembled was varied. As a Caucasian, I very well may have been in the minority. The crowd was also much older than in 2008, with my 45-year-old self a relative youngster. Lastly, I noticed--especially in retrospect, after shopping at Sam's and Walmart--that the caucusers were noticeably not fat. I don't know what that means, but there you go.

Not a big crowd at first, but it got bigger.
So, we listened to a guy who wasn't meant for public speaking, read letters from President Obama, Senator Harry Reid, and Congresswoman Shelley Berkely. Then we separated into precincts, and it got kind of sad. The precinct to the left and right of mine were filled with people, 25 or 30 each. Our group consisted of five, led by a man of indeterminate foreign extraction. As difficult as he was to understand, and as ill-equipped to lead as he was, we elected him permanent chair anyway. Who wants to do that? And because there were so few of us, all of us were eligible to be delegates! Two went for it, I did not.

The groups on either side of us seemed to be run by much more experienced, much more enthusiastic people. It was okay though, since this was all pretty much for show anyway. A vote of "uncommitted" would have required at least 15% to even be viable, and I'm not sure that happened anywhere in the room. If President Obama gets less than 85% of the overall vote, I'll be very surprised.

So, I participated. It took at most an hour and a half out of my day, and it felt good. It felt American. I'd do it again, whether it matters or not.


  1. Wow, you are a minority in your own neighborhood. You must live amongst the smartest people in the Valley.

  2. In my precinct, of the five of us who showed up, two were black and three were white. I will not claim that we're the smartest in the valley.


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