why yes, I am a little depressed
Mood: sad
Music: Arcade Fire - "Black Mirror" (IMH)
Posted on 2008-03-05 09:50:00
Tags: politics
Words: 1235

I've been trying to characterize this, and here's my best shot: I don't handle disappointment well for things I'm rooting for. I remember watching The Comeback as a kid and being in tears afterwards. I was crushed when Dean lost the primary in 2004, and again when Kerry lost to Bush. So, with that ominous forward:

We showed up at our polling place at 6:40, and there were already around 30 people waiting in the middle school cafeteria, so we found a seat and read and talked and whatnot. The number of people kept growing until the election judge announced that we would start at 7:15 (i.e. there were no people still waiting to vote). At that point, there were more like 100 people inside, and they were going to call us by table to sign in for Clinton, Obama, or Undeclared (or somebody else...), but then decided to have everyone just get in a line. There were maybe 80 people in front of us and a lot behind us, and we couldn't see all the way out the door.

The line was moving slowly at first, but finally they had someone checking voter registration cards for people in the line, and then splitting up the Clinton and Obama tables for signing in. The Obama table was about twice as long, and they started calling for Clinton people to skip ahead since there were so few in our part of the line.

As we got up to the front, I saw a woman wearing an "Obama Precinct Captain" button, so I asked her if they had enough delegates already. She said that our precinct (238 in da house!) was allotted 53 delegates, and with 53 alternates that was a lot of people, so if I wanted to stick around I could probably be one. We both signed in and voted (being sure to mark the GLBT box - neat!) and hemmed and hawed about whether to stay or not. It was probably 8:10 or so by this point, and we were both tired (waiting in line was fairly boring) but I decided that I'd stick around for a little while and see how long it would take. (djedi graciously stayed with me although he wasn't as interested)

Luckily, the improved system meant that the line moved much faster even though it was a lot longer than we had seen. 15-20 minutes later, it was done and they began counting. I saw and heard from people around me that Obama had won Vermont and Clinton had won Rhode Island (no surprises there) and that Clinton was ahead in Ohio, but Texas was 50-48 Obama with many, many votes left to be counted.

Soon after that, the precinct convention began. The first order of business was to select a temporary chairman(chairperson?) for the meeting - the permanent precinct chairman was a oldish woman who was losing her voice, presumably from being at the polling place all day. A younger guy with a loud voice was nominated and he looked like an Obama plant - we were mostly grouped by who we supported and someone went around telling us to vote for him. I (and apparently djedi) thought this was a little chintzy and so we voted for the woman, and she won 34-31, but the guy wanted to "divide the house" (i.e. go to one side to vote for that person), so we lugged our stuff over to the Clinton-ish side and they counted again and lo and behold the guy won by one vote, 35-34. That was...interesting.

Anyway, then they chose a secretary and the oldish woman ran again but lost more convincingly this time to someone who was already taking notes (I was a little confused at this point). Then the guy said that they were still counting the sign-ins, and there was a mistake in counting so they had to start over, but in the meantime people talked about how things worked. The 53 delegates would be divided proportionally between the candidates, and then those groups would decide who the delegates and alternates were. After that, they would vote on the 38(!) resolutions that were before them.

A woman sitting next to us seemed very concerned that a delegate wasn't bound to vote for their candidate. She made some comment about how this felt like democracy in Iraq. I didn't feel like pointing out that even the electors in the Electoral College aren't bound to vote for anyone, and there are soo many delegates that it would have to be a fairly large conspiracy or something to change the results.

Finally they finished counting. There were 441 total voters in the caucus (that seems like a lot!) and 292 were for Obama, 149 for Clinton, which worked out to 36 delegates for Obama and 17 for Clinton. Then we split up to decide delegates. They had a list of people who could be delegates from Obama headquarters, but first they asked for a show of hands of those present who wanted to do it, and there were 31 of us. So, we all get to be delegates, and I waited in line to sign up. (they were short on people even with the list, so they started calling people who had indicated interest when they signed in) djedi looked through the resolutions and there were some interesting ones (55 mph speed limit, bringing troops home from Iraq, medicinal marijuana), but it was already 9:00 and it looked like this would take a while, so we left after I signed up. Hopefully I'm still a delegate; I assume I'll get an email or something :-)

When they called for volunteers they said multiple times that the county convention was all day on a Saturday and started at 7:30 AM, but looking at the information sign up starts at 7:30, the actual convention starts at 10:30. So yay for that!

Anyway, we got home and I saw Clinton was winning Ohio (and they called it for her shortly thereafter) and she started leading in Texas, and was up 50-48 when we went to bed with 55% or so reporting. I kept thinking Obama was going to come back since so few votes were counted in Harris County (Houston), but it turns out he only won there 56-43 which wasn't enough to make up the gap. The good news is that as of now, Clinton gained only 1 delegate, and that doesn't include some of the TX caucuses which seem to be going for Obama. Updated: Clinton wins more like 13 delegates.

I don't dislike Hillary, although I do have a few complaints with how she's run her campaign. But I decided in 2004 that, unless the techniques were pretty underhanded (voter suppression, etc.) that's not a good thing to consider when voting. Politics is nasty and ugly by design, that's just the way it is. I do have concerns about her electability in November, but that's so hard to judge anyway. The point is, I was still depressed last night and didn't sleep well, but that's way overreacting. (also, I think the rest of my immediate family is for Hillary...hi immediate family!)

So, to sum up: I think I'm a delegate, Hillary stays alive to fight another day, whoever wins on the D side will have a good plan for health care and good things will happen. Sunshine, lollipops, etc.


Comment from djedi:

17 delegates for Clinton, not 19.

Comment from gregstoll:

Fixed - thanks!

Comment from djedi:

Yeah, the election of the convention chair was definitely shady on several levels. That said, I think things were handled quickly and fairly after that and the convention chair really has little power when people know the rules and just want to take care of business and go home.

I'm still torn about being an alternate/delegate. Not having to get up early might have pushed me over to the other side, but I'm also fine with staying home that day and unpacking more.

Comment from anonymous:

I woke up this morning to see a fellow Highbrid Nation writer reporting that Hillary has won the Ohio and Texas primaries and how this is getting bad. And like him I feel like this battle between Obama and Hillary has went on too long and now they are in danger of hurting the party by allowing McCain to take shots at them while they are dealing with each other. Howard Dean should step in and say “Look, Obama is going to be the canidate and Hillary you can be his running mate if you choose”…I know I know that would never happen but a guy can dream right?

Comment from gregstoll:

I'm really not sure how it affects the party...on the one hand you have candidates taking shots at each other, but they're both getting way more coverage than McCain at this point, since it's a better story. Spending lots of money isn't great, but I think they're revitalizing voters in some cases. (c.f the Texas Democratic Party, which has been pretty dormant for a while) It's really hard to say whether it's a net plus or a net minus...

Comment from wildrice13:

Yeah, I've been thinking about this. In a way, I don't think the Democrats could have orchestrated a better mobilization for their supporters as this extended primary season. That is, assuming they can keep them engaged. I've felt for a long time that the single biggest problem the Democrats have is getting out the vote, not arguing their side.

Comment from taesmar:

Our organizer guy was an idiot and made us listen to all the resolutions garbage before the president part. There was NOTHING interesting about it. No medical marijuana, no speed limit, no Iraq. I wonder if we had different resolutions because we were in a different county. Ours all centered around helping pregnant women. And impeaching Bush, Cheney, and Perry.

Comment from gregstoll:

Um, who wants to impeach Perry? That's just weird.

Comment from djedi:

As long as we can find another, better candidate with just as good hair, I'm in.

Comment from djedi:

Thinking about your post overall; I think I will be obscenely depressed and quite possibly may quit this whole voting thing if Hillary wins the nomination and then (as polls predict) loses to McCain.

Really, the Dem party has a horrible history of picking poor candidates and I'm really not sure why. We either pick people who lose horribly or win by being half-Republican. Why do Dems have to move RIGHT of the population in order to win elections? It's not like people aren't really liberal but have been taught to hate the label by fearmongers and racists.

Comment from onefishclappin:

I'm a little curious - are you concerned about Clinton winning the nomination with underhanded tactics (ie. you would feel like she didn't win fairly) or would you be disillusioned by a democratic defeat in the White House (Why can't the dem's choose a candidate which can actually win??) or are you just tired of caring and thinking that you are backing a good candidate only to have them be defeated or what? How would that compare with how you would feel if Obama got the nomination and went on to be defeated by McCain?
I think that the Reps made a good move by nominating McCain - he was their only shot at the White House, even though many Rep feel he's too far left or isn't a "true conservative" or whatever. Unfortunately for the Dems, the Reps nominated a very electable candidate and they don't have a good story to beat him yet.
As much as people get scared off by Clinton's political nature, I personally feel it will make her a more effective president. If nothing else, the last 8 years should have taught us that electing a nice guy, someone you can "trust", makes for a very poor president. It was interesting that one of the recent polls in Texas was actually showing Obama garnering more negative opinions than Clinton. That bodes very poorly for the Dems in the general election - they need to get through the primary season with their candidate unscathed. People need to feel that it's the best of 2 good options, not the better of two mediocre or bad ones.

Comment from djedi:

Ooo, all three good options. I'd say mostly c) with a fair bit of b) (esp. the parenthetical part), but a) has a bit of ring too. Negative advertising works unfortunately...and it's one thing to point out the differences between you and another candidate (esp when they are mostly minor policy differences) but quite another to attack them, esp in ways that can hurt in the general election, and to fearmonger (like that damn 3am phone call ad).

Actually, it's not Clinton's political nature, it's her partisan, beltway insider nature that gets me. Her health care plan originally failed due to her overly partisan, political nature. And for the record, unless you count her eight years of First Lady, Obama has more public gov't political experience.

Actually past elections have taught us that to win you should to go with someone whom the populace trusts. Bush and Reagan were both marketed beautifully as someone you can really identify with and trust. That's why Kerry lost; he was shown as indecisive and out-of-touch with the average guy. It scares me that Hillary is seen as exactly the same way but with more partisan-ness from her time as First Lady. Polls show her having huge negative numbers and coming off as beltway insider, untrustable "cause she changes her mind based on polls", and mean. Now Obama has been under more negative press and attacks lately (specifically in Texas and Ohio), so people have that fresh in their mind, but I have yet to see a poll showing that more of the general populace has a more negative view of him than her.

It seems like every chance we get, we pick a policy wonk. This generally appeals to me; it's why I'm a Dem. But it doesn't win elections, it loses elections. It's fine to pick a policy wonk but you have to pick an appealing, inspiring one. Bill C. fit that category. Kerry did not. This is how I feel about Clinton v Obama. They are both policy wonks; he more about domestic policy and issues related to poverty; she maybe a bit more overall esp in foreign policy. But he is the more inspiring, less offputting candidate, the one who'll better appeal to moderates and undecideds and better motivate the base to be inspired and GOTV.

Comment from tehfanboi:

Would you agree that if Gore (High King Policy Wonk) were running this cycle, we would have a democratic candidate already and be marching to November?

Man, why didn't Gore run? :(

Comment from gregstoll:

My guess is that after going through a long, hard campaign, in which he was hit pretty hard for being boring and inventing the Internet even though he didn't say that and what he did say was pretty true once he didn't want to do it again. That plus winning the Nobel Prize for the environmental stuff probably means he's in the right line of work.

Comment from djedi:

Yeah, but I still doubt his electability. Burned once, twice shy? I think he would be an excellent president and he has truly redeemed himself with the Democratic party and perhaps the press. But the press was so over-the-top vicious and biased against him, that I'm not sure a Gore v McCain match up would necessarily go the way we want.

Comment from omega697:

I resisted the urge today to point out that my horse always loses. I'm not ready to concede defeat just yet. :o)

Comment from gregstoll:

I feel your pain, bro.

Comment from abstractseaweed:

I think Hillary might actually have a better chance of winning. Looking at the county breakdown for Ohio and Texas, it is pretty clear that Obama won the cities while Clinton won the rural areas. The rural areas are where there is bigger competition for the less liberal voters. Democrats in big cities who voted for Obama are probably fairly liberal and would not vote for any Republican. Rural areas tend to be more conservative, but the Democrats there supported Hillary and it is those moderate voters that will really determine the results.

Comment from tehfanboi:

Also if you look at the electoral map, Texas will probably go republican in November, if we end up a battle ground state I will be shocked. The places Clinton has won has been the battle ground states like Florida (though there was 0 campaigning allowed by the DNC) Michigan (okay so Obama wasn't on the ballot) and Ohio (AH HA! the key to my argument!) She wins big electorally rich states, and in November any state that would normally go democratic (Blue states) will support her anyway. The Red states go McCain, the battle ground states are ones where she can manifest a victory in my opinion. But she has to get the nom first, and we are along way from having a clear front runner.

Comment from gregstoll:

This is true...but it's hard to generalize based on a primary. After all, Obama won Missouri (barely), Virginia, Colorado, which are all important swing states.

And I think Hillary's benefited by not being ahead - if she wins the nomination I fear all the ugliness and Clinton-haters will come out of the woodwork. But, who knows?

Comment from djedi:

Well, it's hard to generalize from party primary voters. Almost anyone (people stepping over party lines for partisan reasons) who voted in the Dem. primary is going to vote for whoever the Dem candidate is. The question is which one appeals to NON party people, the undecideds and moderates. Polls have shown that at least up until this recent glut of negative advertising by clinton against Obama (I haven't seen polls in the last few weeks), Obama was favored by non-Dems.

Comment from anonymous:

(this is abstractseaweed)

True, it is hard to generalize based on primaries, but it is also hard to generalize based on polls this early in the race since the people polled may or may not actually make the effort to vote.

There was a wide spread between the number of female voters and the number of male voters. While it would be nice to think that gender is a non-issue, the reality is that there are probably plenty of women who voted to support a woman who would not have voted otherwise. We want them coming back to the polls in November.

Comment from djedi:

True, but polls of the general populace are at least attempting to measure how the election goes (polling only likely voters, etc.).

Again, I have trouble generalizing from a primary. Better turnout for a primary doesn't necesssarily mean better turnout for the real vote (because the primaries usually get really really really shitty turnout). My guess is still that all these extra women who voted in the primary were the sort of people who were definitely going to vote in teh general election anyways and clearly were voting democratic. There are very few non-Dems who vote in primaries, so this primary makes it hard to predict the future. It could be that her popularity with females will give her more extra votes among undecideds come November or it could be that Obama's inspiration and support among the poor and African-American communities could cause more of them to come out in November and vote (who wouldn't have or wouldn't have for Dems).

Comment from tehfanboi:

If there is one thing Karl Rove has taught us it is that humans can live without souls, but if there are two things it would also be that with an energized base (the dems have one this cycle), you can win an election even with a split middle ground.

Comment from djedi:

I absolutely agree...the question is still out there though "Who is the more energizing to the base?" A)The policy wonk, partisan Hillary or the B)Inspirational, poverty-fighter Obama

Obama has (barely) more delegates and seems to have a rep for more inspirational speeches and better motivation among volunteers and getting more first-time voters out to the primaries, which is why I think he's possibly more electable.

(Lest someone say I listed all negative things for Hillary, I love policy wonks cause I think they know HOW to run a government effectively...and partisan-ness can really energize a base enough to overcome the more negative press from the other side.)

Comment from wonderjess:

Just FYI: Mom, Carrie and I are Hillary-ers, but Dad voted for Obama, though Mom stayed to caucus and he didn't. Just so you don't feel left out. :)

It's unfortunate for Obama that his it's-the-delegates-that-count speech, while correct, still sounded horribly sour grapey.

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