Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Clinton and the Caucus

Barack Obama seems to have a knack for caucuses. His first win was in the Iowa caucuses, and he’s only seen success in them since then. On SDTT (Super Duper Tsunami Tuesday), he went six for six on the caucuses held that day, and today’s results echo that momentum. Hillary has been known to downplay the caucus system, saying they reflect the activists, not the general public.

Caucuses are public gatherings where people wear their political affiliation on their sleeve. They’re also often a long process, held during the day, which is why Hillary claims they inaccurately reflect the desires of the democratic populous. The demographic that is claimed to be behind her, blue-collar workers, are supposedly too busy at work to stop by and announce their vote. What Hillary is neglecting to mention is that the caucuses often go on all day and that a voter doesn’t need to stick around the whole time. What she also leaves out is that another one of her supposedly supportive demographics are older voters, particularly women, who one would think would have plenty of time to hang around a caucus and show their support.

Even if Hillary was correct in chalking up caucuses to just the activists, isn’t that a big part of what the primaries are about? It seems like everyone is talking about how McCain can’t rally the conservative base and how that’s going to cause issues in November. Enough can’t be said about how important the 20-30% of reported ‘hardcores’ who are showing their distaste for McCain by either voting for Huckabee or not voting at all. So wouldn’t it seem that the primaries is mainly about getting the activists excited and motivated. Isn’t the desire to find a frontrunner early on simply to allow time for the non-activists and non-hardcores to coalesce around the nominee before he or she has to face the onslaught they are about to receive from the opposing party?

To sum it up: Just because public nature of the caucus system tends to bring out the activists doesn’t invalidate them, nor does it mean we’re not getting a proper pulse of the state. They may be a bit more confusing and takes more time than simple primaries, but there are only 17 caucuses out of the 53 races (including DC and the territories), and after next Tuesday, the rest are primaries. Hillary, if anything, should be concerned as to why she’s not able to bring out activists and wonder just who is going to fight for her if she does manage to get the nomination. At least Barack has droves of passionate people ready to get out there and do what it takes to win votes.

1 comment:

bacalove said...

Blue collar workers do not work on Saturday or Sunday and have the day free to come and caucuss, so the argument of Clinton that they are too busy, does not fly.