Long Lines Of Patient Dems On Day One Of Nevada Caucus

I’ve been a bit slow to post today as I took part in the early caucusing here in Las Vegas.

I thought, since it was an early day, it would be a quick ‘in and out’ kind of thing.

Boy, was I wrong. The line was out the door of my local YMCA where I caucused. It eventually took nearly two hours to cast my vote.

Speaking to a volunteer, the process that had been planned for months was scrapped after the Iowa caucus debacle. So, folks in charge were scrambling a bit to come up with a workable solution.

Adding to that were the longer than anticipated lines. There’s definitely enthusiasm on the ground here in Nevada.

Once I finally got up to the front, I was given my ballot and told I was required to list my top three choices in order, just in case my top choice didn’t get enough votes come caucus day.

You had the option of listing your top five if you felt like it.

As you passed people calmly standing in line, you heard the same thing over and over again: ‘Just as long as HE’s not in the White House after this election.’

Standing in line, I can say the conversations I had with the friendly folks around me tended to lean to Biden and Buttigieg.

The latest poll by the Las Vegas Review-Journal shows Sen. Bernie Sanders in the lead with 25 percent support followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 18 percent support.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts pulled 13 percent support, businessman Tom Steyer drew 11 percent, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg got 10 percent support and Sen. Amy Klobuchar garnered 10 percent support.

Nevada & Iowa Will Offer Tele-Caucus Option In 2020

Living in Nevada for 15 years, I’ve been quite vocal about my criticism of the caucus system.

This might help up involvement.

From the AP:

Democrats in the early presidential contest states of Iowa and Nevada will be able to cast their votes over the telephone instead of showing up at their states’ traditional neighborhood caucus meetings next February, according to plans unveiled by the state parties.

The tele-caucus systems, the result of a mandate from the Democratic National Committee, are aimed at opening the local-level political gatherings to more people, especially evening shift-workers and people with disabilities, whom critics of the caucuses have long said are blocked from the process.

The changes are expected to boost voter participation across the board, presenting a new opportunity for the Democratic Party’s 2020 candidates to drive up support in the crucial early voting states.

In the last presidential election cycle, my neighborhood’s caucus was held on a Saturday morning. If you didn’t attend, you didn’t get to weigh in with your choice for Democratic nominee.

If you had to work, too bad. If you had to take care of the kids’ weekend activities, too bad. No other options were available.

Plus, it was a bit of a mad house, and it took over two hours.

And, some campaign supporters can be pretty suppressive. The guy below was at my caucus representing Bernie Sanders in 2016.

He claimed he was there to make sure there weren’t ‘irregularities.’ Instead, he was something of a bully stepping in and interfereing a few times.

Gee, can you imagine why some folks don’t bother to be involved? I really wish we would just have a primary over several days like we do other elections.

Hillary Clinton Wins Guam Democratic Caucuses

Sen. Bernie Sanders (L) and Hillary Clinton (R)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has won the Guam Democratic caucuses over Sen. Bernie Sanders by a margin of 60% – 40%.

Guam’s seven pledged delegates will be split 4 for Clinton, and 3 for Sanders. Additionally, all five of Guam’s superdelegates have now announced their support for Clinton.

From ABC News:

Counting superdelegates, Clinton has amassed just over 93 percent of the necessary total to clinch the Democratic nomination, according to ABC News projections. To get to the magic number of 2,383, the former secretary of state needs to win 16 percent of all remaining delegates and 73 percent of pledged delegates.

Meanwhile, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders needs to win 97 percent of all remaining delegates. He cannot reach 2,383 on pledged delegates alone; to win the Democratic nomination, he would need the support of the superdelegates.

Guam marks Clinton’s 26th victory in the primary season. Sanders has won 19 contests.

The next Democratic contest comes Tuesday where Sanders is expected to win. Real Clear Politics shows the Vermont senator leading by an average of 6 points.

Updated: Democrats Caucus In Washington, Alaska & Hawaii

UPDATE:

https://twitter.com/CNN/status/713837435310972928

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Three states will hold their presidential caucuses today – Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.

The caucus format has done very well for Sen. Bernie Sanders, so expectations are high that he could sweep all three contests. However, given that all delegates are awarded proportionally, I wouldn’t look for Sanders to close the delegate gap too much today, although I’m sure he will walk away with a net gain.

Clinton currently holds the lead in pledged delegates by about 303. Washington is the big prize today with 101 delegates; Alaska will award 16, and Hawaii 25.

In that these are caucuses, there has been little to no polling done for today.

Expectations are high in Hawaii for Sanders. One Clinton supporter told Politico regarding Clinton’s chances in Hawaii: “He’s going to crush us. He should win this thing 2-to-1 at least,” the aide said of Sanders prospects. “If we keep this below 65-35 I’d be shocked.”

Tuesday is Wisconsin’s turn to chime in on the presidential sweepstakes. The most recent poll shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading there by 6 points.

Then, after a couple of weeks off, the Dems return to the ballot box with contests in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California and New Jersey. Current polls show Clinton leading by sizeable numbers in all of those states.

But that can all change. We shall see.

Postcards From The Nevada Caucus

Voters line up to check in to Caucus in NW Las Vegas

For those who have never caucused before, whether you live in a state that holds a primary or you’ve just never taken part in your state’s caucus, I thought I’d share some of my experience at yesterday’s Nevada caucus.

Hubby Michael and I got to our caucus location a bit early and I’m glad we did. The lines got very long very quickly. Most of the times listed said arrive at 11am and the actual caucus activity would begin at 11:30am. Doors closed at Noon, so if you weren’t in line by then, you didn’t get to take part.

There were hundreds at our location, but all those folks weren’t in one room. There were several rooms used at our local high school to break up the voters by precinct. My precinct was told to assemble in the school cafeteria along with two other precincts. My precinct had 87 attendees; the two neighboring precincts had 3 voters and 1 voter, respectively.

Interesting note: the lone voter for his precinct got to choose on his own (100% of his precinct) who their one delegate would go to all by himself. (He went with Hillary). The three folks from the other precinct also awarded a single delegate; they went unanimously for Hillary.

My precinct was much larger, so we took a while.

Due to some logistical issues getting voters checked in at the outset, we didn’t get started until about 12:30pm. And it was a little rocky.

Apparently, our precinct chairperson wasn’t present so the deputy chairperson was charged with running our precinct. She was also helping to register folks out in the lobby, so we had to hang a bit waiting for her.

The crowd were all very pleasant folks, and very diverse. Lots of colors and flavors of people in attendance, exactly what you’d expect to see at a Democratic gathering. Hubby Michael, being the social superstar he is found new friends and chatted a lot. I walked around a bit trying to get a broader understanding of the process.

There was only one moment where things got a bit tense. At one point someone (I still don’t know who it was) told us to separate ourselves into three groups – Hillary supporters, Bernie supporters and undecideds. A Bernie supporter (he was wearing a T-shirt) told the #FeelTheBern crowd to move to one corner and the Hillary folks to move to another.

As I started to help senior citizens move to a different part of the room, another Bernie Sanders supporter, who we later learned was a designated “Observer,” got way up in my face with a very crunchy tone of voice telling me, “This isn’t how it’s done! This isn’t the official procedure!!!” I took a step back as his body language and voice were uber-adversarial. I was just trying to help some older folks move as we were told. Suddenly I got a whole face full of “Bern.” I asked the guy to chill, and that we were just doing what we were told. He kind of stormed off.

Eventually, our precinct was called to order and all proceeded nicely. Our deputy chairperson literally read each step from the official documents to make sure all was done in accordance with the rules.

During that time, though, Mr. “BernieBro” paced back and forth, and leaned on tables as if he was scrutinizing hanging chads in Florida in 2000. Several people near me mentioned that he made them nervous.

In any case, the rules were read; the statements from candidates were read; we were all counted to get a total of attendees (87 total); and we separated into our preference groups and were counted (61 for Hillary, 23 for Bernie, and 3 undecideds).

After a 15 minute period, the undecideds were instructed that, according to the rules, they could either stay “Uncommitted” or realign with the Bernie or Hillary folks. Each of the two camps sent one person to represent their candidate to convince or answer questions to see if the undecideds were sway-able. I was picked to speak for Hillary 🙂

A very nice senior lady from the Bernie camp and I were given a few minutes to answer questions. The questions we got were: What is your candidate’s main strength that makes them the right candidate? What specific foreign policy accomplishment can you point to that shows expertise for your candidate?

For full disclosure: I began by telling the “undecideds” and the Bernie supporter that I would not be disparaging Bernie in any way with my comments. My answers centered around Hillary’s breadth of experience on the world stage for over 25+ years: from law school, to Children’s Defense Fund, to First Lady, to starting the Children’s Health Insurance Program, to working across the aisle as U.S. Senator from New York state, to Secretary of State. Regarding a specific foreign policy achievement I pointed to the negotiated cease fire between Israel and Hamas, plus the fact that she’s met and has relationships with most heads of state around the world.

The Bernie supporter (who was very nice) said that Bernie is “very ethical” and that he’s not rich so he’s more like ‘regular people,” and that was a driving force in her support. When it came to a specific foreign policy moment, she wasn’t quite prepared for that, but said he would be sure to make sure we don’t go to war unnecessarily.

A monitor gave us a signal when he felt “time was up.” Before we walked away, I took one second to ask everyone there that, whoever the Democratic nominee is come the fall, we need to all come together and support that candidate. I don’t know why I felt the need to say that, but, I did.

When time was up, one “undecided” realigned with Hillary supporters, and two remained “Uncommitted.”

The final tally ended up 62 votes for Hillary (7 delegates), 23 for Bernie (2 delegates) and 2 Uncommitted.

Oh – and I was elected to be a delegate to our County convention. That should be interesting 🙂

We ended up being there until about 1:45pm, so it took about a little over an hour once we actually got going. While it certainly took more time and was more tedious than voting in a primary,  it was not unpleasant (other than Mr. “BernieBro”) and you got to be a part of democracy in action.

In the end, Hillary Clinton won the Nevada state caucuses 53%-47%.

Check out some pics I took along the way.

And make sure you participate in your own local primary/caucus!

Michael (in blue polo shirt) being social before the Caucus gets underway

Things get started as our deputy chairperson (in black & white stripes on the right) reads the rules

“Mr. BernieBro” – who got in my face for helping seniors move around the room

“End of the caucus” celebratory glass of wine! Democracy!

New Polling Indicates Tied Race Between Hillary Clinton And Bernie Sanders In Nevada

After a dearth of polling in Nevada,  a new poll taken of Democratic Nevada caucus-goers shows Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a tight race – 45%-45% – ahead of the February 20th caucuses.

However, it should be noted the survey was paid for by the very conservative Free Beacon; and some of the questions were clearly framed as “anti-Hillary” in nature, such a:

• Recently several news organizations have reported that the FBI could indict Hillary Clinton over her handling of her email server. How concerned are you that she could actually face such an indictment?

• Hillary Clinton supported the Wall Street bailout and big banks have given her over $1.6 million dollars in campaign contributions and speaking fees. Does this make you more or less likely to support her?

You see where this is going, right? So, I’d take the results with a grain of salt.

The poll was conducted by TargetPoint of 1,236 potential Nevada caucusgoers from Feb. 8-10, with a margin of error just under 3 percent.

See the results of the poll below.

(h/t Ralston Reports)

Video: What Is A Caucus, Anyway?

We caucus here in Nevada, and I really, really dislike it.

As the video points out, many people don’t have the time to take off work and attend a caucus for an hour or two at a specific time.

Primaries, which are like a regular election, are held all day – people can come, vote and leave in the morning, afternoon or night. Whatever time suits their life and schedule.

Primaries definitely include more voters, and that should be the point. I’m told Nevada does the caucus thing because primaries cost more. Boo.