Why the caucus system leaves me frustrated and disenfranchised

Here we are on Super Tuesday and since I have children, I am left out of the American democratic electoral process in a way that I have never felt left out before.
In case you don’t know, Colorado is one of many states that is using a caucus system to begin the process of selecting both a Democratic and Republican candidate for the office of President of the United States (an election that won’t take place for nine more months). The caucus is basically a community meeting where registered Democrats (in one venue) and Republicans (in another) get together and apparently talk about the candidates on the slate then vote both for a candidate they support and one or more delegates to represent that district in the state convention.
Problem is, if you can’t attend the evening event, you can’t have your voice heard and you can’t vote. And so for the first time since I was of voting age, I am sitting at home unable to raise my hand at the appropriate moment and support my candidate.

Why can’t I go? Because I have little children and they need to go to bed: rhythm and a schedule are critically important – with my kids, at least – for us to all have a pleasant evening and for tomorrow to be smooth and easy, not plagued with zombie exhausted kids and cranky parent.
But even if they did it at 4pm it still galls me that I need to be present, to hang out, to participate in a manner that the local party officials deem necessary for a democratic vote to transpire.
Me, I’d rather have had a mail-in ballot. Or at least have one as an option!
It’s so weird that as recently as this morning I was still asking people to explain the caucus system to me because I just couldn’t believe that I had to participate in a meeting to have my voice heard. But that’s exactly how it works, and I can only wonder just how many working people, how many parents of young children and how many tired people want to raise their voice and be heard, but cannot because of the requirements of participation and presence.
And so, I can only say that I would have cast my vote for Barack Obama in the end because I really dislike and am suspicious of Hillary Clinton. (I mean, why the heck did she stay with a philandering husband? Situation reversed, I wouldn’t have stayed with an adultering wife, that’s for sure)
Meanwhile, am I the only one unimpressed with the caucus?

5 comments on “Why the caucus system leaves me frustrated and disenfranchised

  1. I don’t know why the caucus system is the way it is….but in thinking on it it seems that perhaps a caucus system may help flush out the better candidates for the party in question.
    The problem. Many people vote based on a couple of soundbites they heard on TV or because of looks or other superficial issues. Many don’t really get informed on the candidates history and what they have said last year that is contrary to what they say today. People may vote for a candidate of “change” without any clue what it is a change to.
    By going to a meeting, and getting an opportunity
    to hear full info from each candidates camp, might help make a more informed voter.
    So many of us are so busy that we barely know where the candidates stand today on isses, or what their core character is, never mind has this candidate been consistent over time, in a way that shows their core values are equal to mine.
    In your case you might benefit from what I do on those rare occassions when both my wife and I need to go out for something. I get a babysitter.

  2. I think you’re 100% right. The caucus process excludes too many people. If you’re traveling, working late, or watching your kids, it’s just too bad. I also don’t think you should have to register with a party so far before hand in order to participate. It’s odd to me that if you’ve voted before, you actually get penalized by having to declare a party affiliation weeks before people who have never voted…
    I think the caucus process is intimidating to some people. I’d much rather walk in, cast my vote in peace and be on my way.
    Just my 2 cents.

  3. I don’t believe that in this day and age where we have access to so many information systems that we need the caucuses or the eletoral college. Sure in the day when people lived in remote rural areas and were truly ill-informed this may have been a better method but not today.
    However after speaking with my enthusiastic son who is soon to be voting in his first Presidential election I now see an alternative view. He mentioned that caucuses allow those that truly care enough to show up are those voters that represent the true conservative or liberal values expression of what was intended long ago by the founders of the Republican and Democratic parties. The more “radical liberals and the right-winged” expressions of both parties get to represent what the parties should be presenting as their choice for President. It’s just a point of view of course.
    If my wife had dumped me 15 years ago for my indiscretions then my son would have been raised in a broken home and may not have developed into the amazing kid that he really is. He has been recruited by top-level universities due to his academic brilliance that is a product of being raised by two loving parents. We managed to get through the problems. We found that through reconciliation and forgiveness we were going to serve the greater good for ourselves and our children. I am grateful to my wife as I am sure that Bill and Hillary…and Chelsea are.

  4. I like the idea of one person=one vote. Simple and straightforward and no funny stuff.
    I am glad I live in Oregon. Our primary isn’t until May and all the fuss may be over by then, but I like voting. Especially by mail.

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