Chris said that people didn't understand the rules. Could they just sign in and leave, or were they supposed to stay? Staying seemed to have to do with being chosen as a delegate for the state convention [actually it was the county convention], and they needed something like 40 delegates for the 300 voters in that precinct. What were they supposed to do if there weren't 40 caucus goers left in the end? The voters themselves had to "kind of take over and figure out what was happening." And this was in Austin with educated, politically involved caucus-goers, but there are 8,000 precincts in the state. Imagine the confusion on that scale. Caucuses are horrible, he said. Anyway, he ended up as one of the delegates for Hillary at theSo he's supposed to go to the county convention and represent the Clinton, right? Or can he switch to Obama? Chris sends these photos of a card that came in yesterday's mail:
I just got a flier in the mail from Barack Obama. It's clearly a special flier for delegates. It has my full name, address, and "Support Barack Obama at your County Convention!" There's no point in sending a message like that to anyone who isn't a delegate; the county convention is where the delegates meet, post-caucus. So, they got my name and address from a list of caucus delegates, and the lists of those delegates say who each person has pledged their support for. In fact, Clinton's campaign sent me a link to the lists that are sent to the campaigns, so I know what they look like. [ADDED: This list, which shows which candidate the delegate supports, is on line.] Technically, I could change my vote from Clinton to Obama, but the delegates were selected proportionately to represent the voters. Surely, he isn't suggesting that I do this, since he so firmly believes that delegates, pledged or super, can't go against the will of the people. Or is he?He adds:
I'm not a "pledged" delegate yet. I'm not obligated to stick with Hillary until I sign-in at the convention and write "Clinton" by my name on the sign-in sheet, like voting at the precinct convention (the caucus). But the delegates were chosen at the caucus to proportionately represent both sides, so it would be against the will of the voters if I changed my mind about who I supported and then went to the convention and voted for Obama. Also, you could argue that it was computer-operated and they just plugged in the addresses of all the delegates, but obviously they would know that that would mean sending it to all the Clinton delegates.Interesting. I don't think the Obama campaign is doing something wrong, but this mailing shows that the Obama campaign is fighting to flip Clinton delegates in Texas. Is Clinton doing the same thing and will some delegates slip away? What's really striking is that the effort of going out to a caucus in Texas on primary night doesn't seem to matter as much as it should. And, as Chris said, it's a tad hypocritical for Obama to encourage delegates to change sides, since he is the one who is trying to make a big principle out of binding the superdelegates at the national convention to the will of the voter.
UPDATE: I get a response from the Obama campaign.