I’ve always been registered independent, but recently changed to Democrat to caucus for Bernie Sanders. Tonight was my first caucus.
It’s easy to appreciate process when things go wrong, but nothing really makes you appreciate process as when things go right. Obviously way more people showed up at the caucus than they were prepared for, but except for a few hiccups everything went smoothly.
On the other hand, I’m still frustrated by how hard it was to find information about candidates this early in the electoral cycle. We have information about folks running for the federal government, but it’s really tough to find info about some of the state races. I think I’m just going to have to sign up for everyone’s mailing list, which will make for an unfortunate level of inbox clutter. I have no idea how else to keep on top of what’s going on with primary candidates. The state and county party websites aren’t much help.
Finally, Sanders’ supporters continue to disappoint me. ~135 people showed up for my precinct, the majority supporting Sanders. As soon as the presidential poll was done most of Sanders’ supporters (about 2/3rds I think) just left. None of Clinton’s supporters did.
Just voting for Bernie Sanders isn’t enough. You need to be willing to throw your weight behind other candidates who think like him. To shift the political center of a party you’ve got to vote for more than one man. Otherwise it’s just a cult of personality.
I will admit that I voted “uncommitted” in a lot of races. Like I mentioned, I couldn’t find much information about the candidates. But I came in wanting to learn more, to be persuaded. In two cases I actually was. Both times it was Bernie Sanders supporters who swayed me. Had more Sanders supporters stayed, might one have made an argument to pull me out of the “uncommitted” column one more time?
Maybe if I didn’t feel that I knew enough I should have left the caucus too. But how better to learn the process than to participate?
If you believe in the worldview Bernie Sanders is articulating, then voting for him isn’t enough. You need to be part of the process.
I wonder if this was also Obama’s problem - the problem of any “superstar” candidate. The engagement they create is only about them. But functional organizations, parties, businesses, governments aren’t ultimately run by individuals. They’re run by process.
If you’re not willing to engage in process, then you’re either not serious or you’re a closet authoritarian. Neither is what we need right now.