Observations from the Colorado Republican Caucusby Stephen Littau
Just one day before the deadline late last year, I changed my party registration from Libertarian to Republican so I could participate in the caucus that took place yesterday evening (Colorado’s caucuses are closed to independent and third party voters). Being new to the caucus process, I didn’t know what to expect. Now that I’m no longer a caucus virgin (wow, that sounds dirty), I thought I would share some of my deflowering observations here.
The caucus itself was held at the elementary school all three of my children have attended. Once inside, I presented my voter I.D. and I was told to sit at the table with my precinct number on it. I was the first to be seated at the table but was joined by a nice elderly lady moments later followed by a young married couple. Not too long after that, the rest of those representing the precinct joined us at the table. By the time everyone was seated, there were just ten of us (there were probably three times as many people at the table representing the precinct next to us).
As we were getting acquainted, the leader of the caucus said a few words informing us what we were doing and not doing (no speeches on behalf of the presidential candidates – something I was looking forward to) and introduced the candidates running for the State House and State Senate and each made their pitch.
After these relatively short speeches it was time for the “presidential preference” vote. The caucus leader informed us that these votes were nonbinding (in other words, meaningless) with regard to how the delegates would be rewarded. Not only that, but she also explained that each precinct may or may not be eligible for delegates depending on how much support the precinct gave to the top of the ticket in the last election. As it turned out, our precinct received zero because too many voters had the audacity to not support the very sorry gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes in 2010.
Other than that, we were able to vote on who would be delegates to the less important conventions (in my judgment at least). None of these votes were contested as those who decided they wanted to be delegates did so reluctantly.
For the remainder of the evening, we discussed the primary race and who we were supporting and why. As it turned out, at least five at our table were for Mitt Romney – not because they particularly liked Romney but because he was the most “electable” vs. Obama. One was for Rick Santorum, two of us were for Ron Paul (myself and one other), one said he didn’t want to say who he was for and I don’t know who the last person supported.
While I did enjoy engaging others in conversation about the candidates and the issues, I don’t think this is the best way to choose a nominee for president. Having said that, I don’t know that the end result would have been any different had this been a primary as opposed to a caucus.