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Represent

I went to my precinct caucus last week.

I was personally encouraged to go by one of our local city council members who is running for a (possibly) open state representative seat.

Since we've lived here I think she has come door knocking every year, and each year she has notes about what we said last year, and we chat about the city and the things pertinent to our concerns.

I love her for it and for the fact that it shows me that in some places, especially at the local level, representative democracy can work really well.

So I wanted to go so I can support her candidacy, which is a odd position to be in, since our district is so solidly democratic that in the end it may very well come down to my vote among one to two hundred to determine if she gets the party nomination, and essentially, becomes elected.

So the way this works, is that first there is a precinct caucus. You show up, they try to explain basic Robert's rules of order to you, they have a lot of quick votes, and at the end they ask who is interested in going to the district caucus (where important stuff happens).

In theory, you then vote on who goes, but every time I've went there are always more available slots to attend than people in the room.

So really, all you need to do to have an enormous say in who represents you, is not have much to do on a Tuesday night every few years, and care enough to go for an hour and sit at classroom seats with some of your neighbors.

Of course now that I've attended, I am getting calls from other people who are interested in the nomination, and want to sit down for coffee with me and talk over the issues that I care about...

It really is just a bizarro mirror image of national politics. Political candidates begging and pleading with constituents to talk to them.

That said, it also makes me see why sometimes it is so easy for local politics to go sour. By the end of the night, only 17/24 delegate spots were taken, and they said that that was an impressive turn outs. Imagine what a group with one specific concern could do if they motivated people to "just show up". Especially since the process involves voting who goes.

Say it is an even better turnout, 20 sane people show up. All it would take, is finding 21 insane people to show up, all vote for one another to attend the district caucus, and suddenly instead of 17 sane people, you have 21 insane, 3 sane.

It really is less about representative democracy, and more about tyranny of the people who "give a shit".

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