Tomorrow (Tuesday Feb 25) is caucus night in Minnesota. I will be there, as I have been to many caucuses over the years. Next week will be Minnesota Primary Election. I’ll participate in that, too. That is a much more recent addition to the political menu in Minnesota. We shall see how it works. (Complete information for Minnesota can be viewed here, at the Minnesota Secretary of State website.)
Every state has its own system of selecting candidates for state and national office. (QUICK QUIZ: jot on a piece of paper the names of all of the elected representatives you know, from the most obscure city and county positions, to the President of the U.S. Do this strictly from memory. Do you know where their office is, and how to contact them? Grade yourself.)
I’ve been to a lot of caucuses. (They seem a lot like a “town meeting” in the northeast.). In a sense, caucuses are basically community meetings of people with a similar-political party persuasion. Mine happens to be Democrat, but there are Republican and other caucuses as well (check the Secretary of State link above).
In Minnesota we are organized by Precinct. I never remember mine, (it is P-5 in Woodbury). The State DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) website is helpful in finding the Caucus location. In my case, the local Senate District 53 organization has set up a process to register on-line, which I have done.
Caucuses and the resulting Conventions and Candidates are imperfect which, in my opinion, renders them authentic representatives of the reality of our society.
The Minnesota Caucus, in my opinion, is the essential meeting if one wishes to make a difference. It is participative, open to citizens who live in the district, and are in turn subdivided into gatherings by Precinct, in which the business of the caucus is conducted.
No, they aren’t necessarily interesting. No, they aren’t always well organized, and messy. Yes, they can be boring, and frustrating. The rapid proliferation of ever-more advanced technology can be as much a curse as a blessing.
On the other hand, out of these caucuses come the rank and file delegates to later conventions which ultimately have the responsibility of endorsing candidates for state and national office, and the assorted Resolutions which set the philosophical direction of the political party. All of this starts with the Caucus, and the first question which might be asked of someone complaining about “politics” or “government” in a democracy, is “how did you participate?” which does not mean voting. In our system virtually 100% of the time the successful candidates for all offices, have been endorsed by a party structure that began with caucuses.
Of course, I recommend that you attend and participate in your caucus. You’ll meet some nice people. Likely you’ll meet candidates for local offices who you may not otherwise would meet, or get the first round of literature for this election season.
See you at the caucus.
As time goes on I will write frequently about politics at this blog. Check back once in awhile. Easiest to go to the home page, which will tell how to access all posts for a given month.
POSTNOTE, from Joyce: An excellent political analysis piece on Convention.