Last Saturday was the day of the Republican caucus here in my town in Maine, and even though I don’t really see eye to eye with the Republican party any more (or any party for that matter), I’m still a registered Republican, and some friends were going, so I decided to tag along and vote.
Maine’s running their caucus for a whole week (because we need to be different), and withholding results until this Saturday. Seriously–they announced what the results were for our city, then promptly said, “Please don’t tell anyone what these numbers are.” That lasted all of two seconds–I was out in the hall, and the representative for Ron Paul there was already blabbing all the exact numbers to somebody on the phone. So while results aren’t “official,” you can be darn sure that the different campaigns all have a pretty good idea how their candidates are doing right now.
What did I think of the process? I’ll be blunt.
Too long, too complicated, and too boring.
I remember back during the Iowa Caucus, how newscasters lauded the process. “Democracy in action.” I think they meant “Bureaucracy in action.” It started off well enough–we all got together and got to hear reps for each candidate (well, just Romney and Paul–Gingrich didn’t have anybody there to praise him. Maybe he couldn’t find anyone). Then candidates for Sheriff got up to talk, which I actually quite enjoyed–they each had a different take on what they wanted to do if they were elected, and they were actually significantly different, and seemed to be saying what they actually thought. A nice change of pace for politics.
After that, we separated by town (it was the whole county there at first), and promptly dove in to a big heaping, steaming pile of red tape. There were motions flying all over the place, some of them being seconded, some of them passing, some of them getting debated. What about? Who to be secretary. Who to be president of the delegates. Who to be delegates. If the votes should be by raise of hands or written down.
Forgive my ignorance, but . . . what does any of that matter? If it does matter, it would have been helpful for people to explain WHY it mattered. I just wanted to vote and go home. I did finally get to vote, and then had to wait for a half hour while more red tape was taken care of.
Case in point: our town could have something like 21 delegates go to the convention. 38 people were in the room. Only 20 of them wanted to be delegates. 20 is less than 21, right? I think I can handle that math. And yet we had to go through all 38 names to make sure everyone who wanted to be a delegate could be one. Why not just have the 20 people who raised their hands stay after and take care of that by themselves?
I don’t know. Clearly I’m too ignorant of democracy.
I left early, but not before I found out the total counts. I said I wouldn’t tell anybody, and I won’t, but let’s say I was surprised by the tally, but pleased that a certain someone who shall remain nameless totally tanked in that tally, which was my biggest concern. Maybe if the vote had been on the moon, the results would have been different.
Will I go next time? Um . . . who knows. For now, I’m all caucused out.