March 6, 2008

Why are the results so different in the primary and the caucus in Texas on the same day and what does that mean more generally about caucus results?

There are allegations of irregularities in the Texas caucus process:
Clinton aides alleged that Obama allies locked Clinton supporters out of caucus locations and illegally signed up participants before the so-called precinct conventions opened the doors to voters....

The Obama campaign made similar complaints against Clinton supporters throughout the day, illustrating the increasing bitterness between the two Democratic rivals....
More: "The complaints from the Clinton campaign include Obama supporters intimidating voters, giving caucus goers wrong information, and changing people's votes at those caucuses.."

My son, Christopher Althouse Cohen, emails about his own experience caucusing in Austin, Texas:
An unusual thing happened to me on the way to my polling location. I was walking to the school, and there was a group of Obama supporters holding up signs on the front of the school yard. I walked from the side of the yard to the front entrance, but I was wearing a large Hillary button, and one of the Obama supporters ran across the school yard so he could catch me well before I got to the door. He asked if I was here to vote and I, not stopping to talk to him, continued walking but said I already voted and I was going to caucus. It was 6:40 or so and both campaigns advised their supporters in all their mailings to show up early (at 6:30 or 6:45) to avoid potentially being shut out when the doors closed at 7:15. The Obama supporter said, "Oh, well the caucus is at 7:15," implying that I should leave and come back then. If I had done that and tried to show up at 7:15, I would likely have been shut out, because the doors closed then.

I just talked to a Hillary supporter online who said that he was standing in line at 7:15 and that the line was long enough so that he was standing outside, even though they had showed up early. The Obama precinct captain on the inside was demanding that everyone still standing outside, including him, be shut out, and everyone outside started arguing with the Obama supporters on the inside. Eventually, they were let in. He told me that a friend of his was in tears over the phone, because at her location Obama supporters were literally pushing Clinton supporters away from the sign-in sheets that were later used for the official vote tallies.

This news story says that there was a complaint of Obama precinct captains filling in "Obama" after every signature that left the presidential preference spot blank.

The sign-in sheets were confusing. I was unofficially in charge of the sign-in list, though there was an Obama precinct captain standing over me, talking to every single voter at the time, and I can say that a large portion of the people signing in found it hard to read and weren't sure if this was when they actually declared their support for a candidate, so I can see why some people might leave it blank. I'll attach a copy of what the sign-in sheet looked like.

Click image to enlarge.



The box to write your candidate's name is after the phone number spot.
The precinct captain at my location encouraged all the Obama supporters to stay after the sign-in process, but tried to convince me (she perceived me to be the leader of the Clinton supporters) that it wasn't necessary for people to stay after the caucus, that it wouldn't make any difference. After persistently asking many times what was going to happen after the sign-in and what the advantage was to staying, she eventually admitted to me that delegates were being elected that night, in that room, and that we needed 84 delegates and alternates total to represent proportionately the support for each candidate at that convention. I have no idea what would have happened if all the Clinton supporters had left and the Obama supporters got to take over that process. Fortunately, I urged all the Clinton supporters to stay, and we called up Clinton supporters who had already left until we had enough delegates and alternates. This went on until late at night. By then, the Obama supporters had elected each other into all the official positions in that caucus. They outnumbered us in that precinct, so it was no problem for them to do this.

What I've experienced and heard about directly is a very small part of the hundreds of complaints that have come in to the Clinton campaign. What I saw directly might not have technically violated any of the rules, but certainly was enough to potentially trick Clinton supporters into showing up late, and was enough to discourage Clinton supporters from staying to become delegates and alternates.

I left feeling like I could easily see why someone would not want to participate in the caucus. Just knowing how chaotic it can be really discourages people from voting. The difference between the primary and caucus results in Texas can be seen as an experiment that demonstrates the difference in results between those two systems, and much of that difference could be attributable to the shenanigans of Obama's base of fanatics. Right now, with less than 50% of the vote counted in the Texas caucus and 100% reporting in the primary, he's ahead 12 points in the caucus, and she's ahead four points in the primary. That's a 16 point difference in his favor in the same state, on the same day. Of the races he's won, 11 have been caucuses (12 if you count Texas), and she's only won one caucus (Nevada). What would happen to the math if you gave her 16 more points in all the caucuses?
This is the basis for an argument that can be aimed at the superdelegates.

UPDATE: I decided to calculate the numbers of delegates won in caucuses separately from the number of delegates won in primaries. Using the numbers here, I found that Obama has won 290 delegates in caucuses, and Clinton has won 154. That's 65% for Obama and 35% for Clinton. In the primaries, by stark contrast, Obama has won 1072 delegates, and Clinton has won 1058. (Actually, 1058.5 — she won 1.5 delegates in the Americans Abroad primary.) That's 50% to 50%. You need to go to decimals to show the Obama percentage lead in the primaries: 50.3% to 49.7%.

I don't know what you want to do with these numbers in combination with the stories of irregularities in the caucus process, but it's certainly interesting! And since the candidates are going to spend much of the spring and summer making their case to the superdelegates, I think this is ripe raw material. On the primaries, they are virtually even. The big Obama lead was accomplished through the caucus process. Of course, you can't exclude the people of the states that chose their delegates by caucus, but the more evidence Hillary Clinton can amass to show that the people of those states were not properly counted, the more she can explain away his lead in the pledged delegates and justify independent decisionmaking by the superdelegates.

64 comments:

EnigmatiCore said...

It sounds very much like a process that:

1) Is designed for hard core activists,
2) Is easy to manipulate by those running it,
3) Is going to produce undemocratic results,
4) Is going to ensure that conspiracy theories abound when things are close, and
5) Is set up to make people feel empowered when they are really just suckers, the way that day traders are generally just suckers for the real Wall Street pros.

Revenant said...

And here I thought *Hillary* was the Richard Nixon analogue for '08.

vnjagvet said...

I can't find it now, but I saw a purported set of instructions prepared by the Clinton campaign urging similar activities at the caucus meetings.

But it did not encourage any of the shenanigans outside the caucus facilities like misstating the time.

It would appear that Obama's troops got the word out to more aggressive volunteers than did Clinton's.

Slim999 said...

Why would one need any basis to make any argument to Superdelegates, unless one's intent was to prevent a black man from getting the nomination he earned by winning the vote?

If Hillary is the clear choice of Democrats, she should be winning elections, no? But, she's lost most of the state-by-state elections ... many by wide margins.

I have to tell you, I'm stunned that Negros continue to participate in a party that is so hostile to their interests.

I have always believed that the Democrat Party would never, ever nominate a Negro.

Democrats, it seems - the Party of venerated Klu Klux Klan member Robert Byrd - are about to prove me right.

Kirby Olson said...

Since the Caucus system is not a secret vote you get corralled into voting by the bossiest person in the room. This happened to me in Seattle. I wanted Paul Simon but was told I had to vote for Jesse Jackson. They guy who strong-armed me was a white guy with red hair. He corralled a bunch of us and told us we had to vote for Jackson, because Simon wasn't going to get enough votes to get a delegate. Your individual vote for some reason didn't count. You had to get a group of ten together to equal one vote. Then each group had a delegate. It was just bizarre, and had been rigged well in advance, I think.

I did do as I was told, but I never participated again.

The vote should be secret if you want to know what people actually think rather than how they are cowed to think. That was the first time I had ever voted.

Chip Ahoy said...

Behold ... need I say it?, the evil that is political parties.

Because this is the way these bastards operate, the way they think, they're certain to project it onto the Republicans, as they already have. And we all saw how perfectly ordinary they appeared, Earth shoes and all.

Bleh.

Beldar said...

Of course, Obama and Clinton both support doing away with secret ballots for union representation, and want to substitute instead something very much like what your son describes -- except you have to try to work every day with the people who bullied you until you change jobs.

Sloanasaurus said...

The Obama star is falling fast as his supporters lose touch with why they are for Obama in the first place.

Obamamania is coming to a close. Today a workmate told me that he now was now for Hillary. I asked him why and he admitted that he got caught up a little too much in Obamamania.

Obama will still probably win, but the Obama of August 2008 will be totally different from the Obama of February 2008.

Nahanni said...

enigmaticcore hit the nail on the head with his post and slim999 is a poster child for the attitudes of the people who ran the caucuses.

If you want someone to blame for all this it is the Texas Democratic party, they are the ones who make the rules for their caucuses and how the delegates are chosen. An entity chock full of identity politicians and race warriors. Their "caucus" system" is specifically designed to ensure that the people who run the party here get their way. I know someone who is very well connected with the party here in Texas, in fact his brother is a state legislator. You should have seen his face on Tuesday night, talk about glum! Why? Because the Hispanics/Tejanos were voting 2 for 1 for Hillary despite the best efforts of the party and entities like Lulac.

All in all the Democratic party did not do itself any favors on Tuesday night here in Texas because many saw for the first time the true face of the party and did not like it.

paul a'barge said...

This is how they do it in Chicago, folks. This is how black Democrats behave in the political process.

Everyone of you who voted for Barak Obama is bringing a black Chicago machine Democrat and filthy Chicago politics into your homes and your local culture.

Vaelin said...

It's just the caucus system... it's basically the Texas Democrats saying "NO" to the non-democratic, non-representative superdelegate system. And even at its worst, it sounds better than the alternative.

The people you're fighting with at these tiny caucuses are your neighbors. You know them, you go to work with them, you see them at the store... your kids play together in school.

It favors the majority of 'dedicated' voters. Just like the primary, the majority wins, but people will be people and mobs of people are nasty... I'd much prefer to fight a bunch of local yokels to vote than to have one (nonlocal)yokel that I didn't vote for cast my vote for me...

A democratic system is a tyranny of the majority. Politics are dirty. When the superdelegates are abolished, Texas will no longer have a need for a caucus, but until then... whining about your adversary fighting harder in a game that YOU have a say about the rules in is just stupid. If you don't like how the Democrats in Texas run things... and you're a Democrat... well, go whine at the mirror in the corner... or buck up and try to change it.

Daryl said...

Caucuses are favored by hardline party activists because that is where party activists have the most influence.

Party insiders, a very different group, have the most influence over superdelagates.

Individual schmucks, like you and me, have the most influence in democratic elections. That's the only way it should be decided.

People should not have to show up and fight through circus-like caucuses just to have their voices heard.

It figures 666wils is an Obama supporter. They can't stand the thought of a woman becoming president. They are all woman-haters. They say the Democratic Party is the party of feminism, but that's just lip service. When the rubber meets the road, it's "bros before hos."

Exit question: how stupid are Dems that they didn't bring video cameras to the caucuses to record the shenanigans? Or are video cameras not allowed?

Tim said...

Can't get in the way of the new religion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xtNr5-up0U

Get with program before the programs rolls over you.

Tim said...

"Exit question: how stupid are Dems that they didn't bring video cameras to the caucuses to record the shenanigans? Or are video cameras not allowed?"

The answer lies in the second word of the inquiry...

Chet said...

Guess who was the one who endorsed a caucus system to begin with, way back when?

The caucus system was fine when she was winning.

Now that she's losing, it'a a bad system.

Cue the violins.

Middle Class Guy said...

Daryl said...
It figures 666wils is an Obama supporter. They can't stand the thought of a woman becoming president. They are all woman-haters. They say the Democratic Party is the party of feminism, but that's just lip service. When the rubber meets the road, it's "bros before hos."



Did it ever occur to you that maybe people- Democrats- want a qualified, experienced woman for president.? An honest, upstanding, ethical woman? What the Dems have given us are two upstarts trying to upstage each other.

PWS said...

I think this is really bad. This is the kind of thing that hardens each faction against the other. I think it was Koppel on NPR recently who comment the risk of this sort of thing happening: grudges developing and then people sitting out the general election because of hard feelings. I don't know if it would go that far, but Obama needs to have control of his folks.

Ironically, Hillary was comlaining words are only words. Well, some Obama supporters started asking themselves, "Can we tell Hillary supporters to not show up early?" Answer: "Yes We Can."

The words count for a lot, but with a message as amorphous as Yes We Can, it can go in a lot of a different directions.

Impartial observer said...

Ha! The account of a Hillary support who hasn't even taken the phony vow. I discount this entirely.

But I do enjoy it when you pimp your sons.

Elliott A said...

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Ne'er a truer statement. Political parties, burocracies, larger congressional majorities, all the same outcomes. The process has to be corrupt if run by a powerful group of like minded individuals. When they get too strong, they collapse under their own weight. If you read about the goings on inside the Clinton campaign, you see a group of people who thought they were on track to be White House staff. Now that she isn't inevitable, it is a free for all. The caucuses usually annoint their delegates. This time it is a different story, so we get free for all. Whatever it takes. It is surprising that the Clinton machine is so inept at playing this particular game. While the votes are given appaprent importance, the public is less a part of the nomination process than they realize. While the system may appear undemocratic and chaotic, it is within the rights of the party to select a candidate as they see fit. They are not part of the constitution. By voting in a primary, or registering with a party, you are tacitly supporting the process they choose. Ultimately, it is the November vote which keeps them in line.

rossi said...

My favorite law prof trots out anecdotal evidence in a post longer than the Atlantic Coast, and claims it evidence for the "superdelegates"?

Sheesh, why stop there, why not send this hard, cold son-vetted evidence right up to the League of Justice?

I mean, Sloanasaurus making up wistful, wishful news about "Obama's star falling" based on the same "I have a friend" statements as he has for weeks now... this I expect.

But you pushing anecdotal slurry (You can find Clinton's leaked memo on how to 'bully' at Ben Smith's blog on Politico.com)? Perhaps it's because your son (a "big-button" Hillary supporter) claimed an issue?

How about we wait for some, um, evidence.

Caucuses are wild things. I don't think they are great, but here we have to go down the line again talking about rules that both parties agreed to a long, long time ago.

My caucus in Colorado was my first, and in fact it was a packed, crazy event, and many people didn't know what the rules were. But everyone got along just fine, and that included those for Hillary and those for Obama, as we all knew one another. And nobody complained, even when the counts didn't add up. We cheerfully went through it all again.

So there you have it, Ann. More evidence for those superdelegates!. Or flying monkeys. Whatever.

More fish eyes, please!

Clay Spinuzzi said...

Ann --

Sorry to hear about Chris' bad experience. While he was caucusing at Red River, I was at my polling place in a north Austin neighborhood, and the experience was completely different.

Like Chris, I arrived about fifteen minutes early, at 7pm. At that point, people were still lined up to vote in the small church (capacity: 95) that served as the polling station. A person, I suppose the precinct captain, told us that we would need to wait until everyone had voted to caucus. He also told us -- because the crowd was already over capacity -- that we would need to caucus outside. I whiled away the time by checking Althouse and Drudge on my mobile phone.

By the time we were ready to caucus, the crowd filled the entire parking lot. It was easily the largest group of people I had seen in the neighborhood. This was about 8:00, and the precinct captain asked the Republicans -- who were supposed to begin caucusing at that time -- to caucus inside. There couldn't have been more than a handful.

(I should point out here that in the Texas primary-caucus system, they don't check party affiliation -- you choose which primary+caucus in which you will participate. I'm certain there were plenty of Republicans who participated in the Democratic race because it was actually competitive.)

Although the process was disorganized, it was run fairly. We were told repeatedly how to line up, how to sign up, and how to make sure to indicate our candidate. We were also asked to be civil -- advice nobody seemed to need -- and what the process would be like after signing in. Everyone was treated well and the precinct captain prioritized participation over rules. It's really too bad that Chris couldn't have voted in my neighborhood!

For what it's worth, I think the Clinton campaign anticipated a variation in the primary and caucus results, and prepared a strategy to increase that variation to keep their options open for a legal battle. That is, they wanted people to ask the question posed in your post title. Apparently we're going to see that battle now.

Beldar said...

Clay Spinuzzi (8:51pm) wrote that in Texas,

they don't check party affiliation -- you choose which primary+caucus in which you will participate. I'm certain there were plenty of Republicans who participated in the Democratic race because it was actually competitive.

That plus sign is crucial to making his statement true. To participate in the Democratic Party's "precinct conventions" a/k/a caucuses, you had to first have voted in the Democratic Party primary. You could not legally vote, say, for McCain in the Republican Primary and then go to a Democratic caucus that night to vote for Obama.

joated said...

Sounds to me like all caucuses should be done away with and regular, secret voting ballots should be the only means of conducting an election.

Far, far too many people looking over your shoulder and giving directions (intentionally eroneous ones at that) during the sign-in process Chris describes.

And what's with closing the doorrs and locking people out who are standing in line to sign-in?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

My favorite law prof trots out anecdotal evidence in a post longer than the Atlantic Coast, and claims it evidence for the "superdelegates"?

Huh? I didn't take this post as evidence FOR super-delegates but rather as an example of how corrupt the super-delegate system could be since the Caucus system is full of insider dirty tricks.

The entire system is broken, retarded, corrupt. We have the media blatantly trying to swing the election. In the Caucus process people strong arming, coercing and cheating in order to invalidate the actual votes of the people.

Why do we even bother to vote? Seriously. When these clowns actually do get into office, they will go back on every campaign promise that they used to bamboozle the unwashed masses. They tell the crowd one thing, NAFTA is bad and we are going to reform it and in the same breath tell Canada.....don't worry about it...were just fooling the folks.

Our votes don't count, even if they ARE counted which in many cases they aren't. I suspect that most of the ballots are not even looked at... probably just shredded. We have so much fraud in the system with groups like ACORN registering Captain Crunch to vote and in good ole Chicago where the dead arise and vote regularly.

Why bother voting?

Clay Spinuzzi said...

Beldar - Right, sorry if that was not clear.

joated - When I lived in Iowa, we caucused and the process was really interesting. In theory -- and certainly at the caucus I attended in Iowa -- it was treated as a deliberative process. You met your neighbors face to face, said your piece, and did your best to persuade them. That sort of process leads one-issue voters to think about the other issues. I think you could make a case that that sort of caucus is beneficial, particularly in small rural areas. But in Texas, that deliberative component doesn't appear to be there; to me, it just felt like a second vote, and there was nothing to stop me from voting for two separate candidates of the same party.

MTfromCC said...

Geez, the GOP steals an entire Presidential election from the rightful winner in 2000, and here they scoff at unfairness in a caucus system invented by a political party that all candidates signed on to ahead of time? Let's get real -- it's not the general election, and, by analogy, this compares to what the GOP did in Florida like tonight's losers on American Idol are to the Beatles.

Beldar said...

Any time there are not genuinely secret ballots, there is an opportunity for coercion.

Any time there is an opportunity, opportunists will take it.

One can influence one's neighbors around the barbecue grill or over a pitcher of icy lemonade -- before the election -- if one is so inclined and they're amenable to discussion. Caucuses are a bad idea that ought to be consigned to the dustbins of history.

Stephen Byers said...

I'm so sorry this happened to young voters. Donna "Watch Me Walk Out" Brazile keeps claiming that caucuses are party-building, but the evidence is quite the opposite this year, and voters have been discouraged from ever participating again in many states. Why? Because this is not new in Texas. I have been reading the local papers in each state since the start of the primary/caucus season, and reports of such intimidation -- and sadly, by one side -- began in Iowa and have continued ever since.

The difference is that now there is a narrow little window of opportunity when the media are listening to the Clinton campaign. That's all. The reports like this have been there, and in the local media, all along.

I am no longer a Dem. For this and many reasons, such as the 48-state strategy of dissing major states, the party is a disgrace.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You met your neighbors face to face, said your piece, and did your best to persuade them. That sort of process leads one-issue voters to think about the other issues.

And then a small group of people, who happen to have the free time and ability to attend a Caucus when many can't, make a decision based on a handful of persuasive, pushy, insiders and activist types that invalidates the votes of thousands of people. Um...yeah... really Democratic.

We don't have a Democracy in reality. We have a Representative Republic. The irony is that the people who whined the loudest about not having every vote count (DEMOCRATS) are just as guilty if not more so in disenfranchising their voters in this asinine process. Hypocrites.

SteveB said...

Things ran smoothly at our caucus, but your account of shutting the doors at 7:15 was highly illegal.

People were supposed to be free to show up at any time, but they should only have been counted for their delegate if signed in between the time the caucus was called to order and the time the chairman announced the allocation of delegates.

They were free to come in after that point and participate on other items of business such as voting for delegates in their respective caucuses.

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

Send in Jimmy Carter and the UN observers!

lostingotham said...

I voted in Dallas (pct. 1210). About 300 people showed up for the caucus. After we were divided into Clinton and Obama supporters, at least three officious persons wandered through the Clinton group informing people that "we already have enough people signed up to be delegates; you may as well go home." I stopped at least 20 Clinton supporters from leaving before they signed in. I can't swear that similar misinformation wasn't being passed through the Obama camp, but it did seem to me that the ratio of Obamans to Clintonites was higher by the time we got everyone signed in (at about 10:30) than it had been when we first lined up.

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

Clay: I do not believe for a second that Clinton's campaign intentionally sabotaged the Texas caucus as a scheme to get bloggers to blog posts like this one. Especially since they need every delegate they can get right now. I've been in Texas, and I heard over and over again about voting twice, and from my perspective they mentioned it every chance they got.

Ann Althouse said...

Clay, my son Chris caucused at McCallum High School. You're thinking of my other son -- the one who took the photos. John caucused at Red River Church. Please don't read Chris's account as a description of what happened at Red River.

Chet said...

The results don't go the way she likes them, don't accept the results.

The Clinton campaign had every intention, and planned way in advance, to challenge every race that didn't go their way.

That's their strategy. If she can't win, the least she can do is hold up the process and waste time.

Clay Spinuzzi said...

My apologies for confusing Chris with John.

Statistical James said...

I've been a Republican precinct chair in Texas. In El Paso County, both parties had at least a 30% vacancy rate on precinct chairs, and I would guess that most other counties and senatorial districts have similar vacancy rates. It's a position that pays no salary and provides few psychic rewards.

At the first precinct caucus I attended, there was no precinct chair (i.e., there was no one in charge). We were handed an envelope by the election judge and had to figure out what to do with all the papers inside. The attendance and the stakes of that precinct caucus were low, so it was a civil affair. (Usually, we were entitled to send more delegates to the county convention than we had attendees, and none of us cared to submit resolutions to the county convention.)

Other precincts had long-serving precinct chairs who knew exactly what to do and could answer everyone's questions.

The physical layout of some voting locations is probably more conducive to this sort of caucusing than others.

The Democratic county chairpeople could have anticipated some of the difficulties they would face this time, and they probably tried to get prepared. But it is unlikely that they would have been able to get competent, scrupulously impartial precinct organizations up to speed in all the precincts that were likely to have significant turnout. (And that's assuming the county chairs weren't secretly "in the tank" for one of the two candidates.)

Incidentally, I'm currently in the same precinct as lostingotham. They had the Democrats and Republicans vote in separate locations this time. I suspect they were concerned that the Democratic turnout would be too big for the Village Country Club.

This is probably the first time that these precinct caucuses really mattered to people in a long time, so it's not surprising that things were a little chaotic.

aggiepundit said...

I caucused in Austin, too.. Precinct 422. Fortunately there were no people from either campaign trying to misdirect anyone. The crowd filled the school auditorium, and nobody was locked out. In fact, people were encouraged to go home if they lived nearby and get their voter registrations; they would be let in any time before the caucus was completed, and they would have to wait less time if they knew their VID numbers.

To say the form is confusing, IMHO, implies a level of stupidity on the writer's part. Sorry, that form was not confusing in the least, if you are minimally literate.

Also, i received instructions from the Barack Obama campaign about caucusing, and it definitely did not say you have to be there early. In fact it said the caucus cannot start before 7:15. The instructions were clear.

Sorry Ann, but I think your son has an axe to grind. Typical of the Clinton campaign, and sadly heer pathetic behavior apparently bleeds over into her supporters.

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

aggiepundit: The caucus couldn't start early, but 7:15 was when the doors were supposed to close. Many people were shut out of caucus locations after that point at various locations, and a friend of mine had Obama supporters trying to shut him out just because he was outside at 7:15, even though he had gotten in line before then. My fliers from the Clinton campaign suggested getting there at 6:30, and I saw fliers from Obama that also said to get there early. The caucuses themselves were disorganized and no one seemed to know the real rules, so it wouldn't surprise me if some precincts did not follow that one strictly.

garage mahal said...

Sorry Ann, but I think your son has an axe to grind. Typical of the Clinton campaign, and sadly heer pathetic behavior apparently bleeds over into her supporters.

I don't think even the most deluded fevered mind Kos Brownshirt truly believes this. They tried to shout down half the party with bullhorns for the past 3 months. You cannot go anywhere on the net these days without a million soccer hooligans screaming in your face. I don't doubt Christopher's take for a second - and there have been reports all over the country of this bullshit.

The Chicago Way indeed.

Fen said...

MTfromCC: Geez, the GOP steals an entire Presidential election from the rightful winner in 2000

Put down the crack pipe. Even the media had to admit Gore lost the recount. The Democrats were the ones who changed the rules post game, had day-to-day standards on what was a pregnant chad, threw out absentee votes of the military on hypertechnicalities, got busted trying to count ballots in secret behind closed doors, etc.

this compares to what the GOP did in Florida

Yah, we stopped you from stealing the election. Hope those chads tasted good. SoreLoserman.

rossi said...

Any messing with the rules, sucks, period. I don't think there's anyone here who would support that kind of cheating.

But for all the folks here tossing out yet more unsubstantiated claims that it's all Obama, let's just take a look at the memo the Clinton campaign sent out about bullying their way through the caucuses.

Read it here.

Then, think about how both campaigns want to win at any cost (let's not even go into NAFTA-gate, now pointing right back at HRC).

And I took this post, and I think it's easily done, as one casting suspicion that Ann claimed the superdelegates should be considering. And my point, again, is the total LACK of substantiation beyond anecdote.

But I'm sure you've all got friends who saw something. Mine just aren't that exciting, I guess.

Fen said...

So, after 8 years of attacking Bush without foundation, asserting the most vile things not in evidence, the Left complains about a LACK of substantiation

How do you guys manage to do that without any shame?

rossi said...

One more thing. Caucuses are interesting animals. I was a precinct captain for Obama (no surprise there) in my state, which had a CLOSED caucus (Dems only, and you had to switch parties, as I did, 60 days in advance).

The Obama campaign had 12 offices in Colorado to Clinton's ONE. TWELVE. All the dismissing of the numbers as just based on cheating is absurd. The work the campaign did in my precinct to help me with our calls was unreal, from four parties in advance to phone banks every few days.

The result? A huge win in Colorado, and we're all still friends. Based on hard work, not cheating, not lying to people, and not shutting people out. If they didn't know the rules, the time, what have you, who is responsible for knowing the truth?

And fen, give me a f*cking break. I'm a former GOP who voted for Bush in 04, and am freshly a D. Don't lump me into your jar of stereotypes you keep on your little paranoid shelf. It is what it is, and frankly why you "left" "right" nerds on both sides stand to lose your respective parties--people are tired of the fringe.

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

Let me just point out that I didn't say it was only Obama supporters who did things like this or that it was Obama himself who orchestrated it. I only personally know of instances of Obama supporters trying to skew the outcome, and the caucus system heavily favors him as far as the actual results are concerned, but I have a feeling this is more due to the feverishness of his supporters rather than anything done by his campaign. Obama inspires a level of fanatacism in his supporters that might cause this sort of behavior, and it could still be something not encouraged directly at a higher level. Or it could be. Most of us have no way of knowing what goes on at the Obama campaign caucus training sessions.

The real problem, or one of them, is that the caucus system is confusing and disorganized in a way that allows a small group of people with an agenda to take over and call the shots.

PG said...

Extremely interesting! Very good that Althouse now is using her training and faculties to lay bare the results of one of many peculiarities of the US voting system.

Pogo said...

Not surprisingly, nasty commenter Impartial Observer above is another resident Althouse stalker, AJD!

Welcome back, stalkboy!

Fen said...

And fen, give me a f*cking break. I'm a former GOP who voted for Bush in 04, and am freshly a D.

Sure. And I just sold a Mac to Bill Gates...

people are tired of the fringe.

Obama is far left fringe. And his hands are stained with blood money from Auchi.

Finn Kristiansen said...

One can assume that Hillary was the better organized in Texas, so the incidents probably cut both ways. However, it is Hillary who has the bigger ax to grind, and needs the delegates.

In spinning the winning of Texas and Ohio into major achievements, it is much like the toddler who wants applause after pooping in the toilet, that is, if the toddler were actually ten years old and not a toddler.

As usual when Hillary wins (save for Ohio, and places like Pennsylvania where Hillary supporters believe the mindset is to racist to vote Obama), she barely wins.

And having assumed the job was near birthright from Bill's first day in the White House, there is little that Hillary won't do or say to muddy the waters.

Since she won't win on the numbers, she must make the numbers suspect, and change election process mid-course. Her method with the caucus issue will be the same as with Michigan and Florida.

When it cuts her way, all is fair and righteous, and when it does not, there must, obviously, be major flaws in the process.

And we will be anecdoted to death until sufficient doubt is there.

Despite that methodology, it will be supremely amazing to watch her arrogance as she makes the argument that "Though I lag in delegates and the popular vote, but due to doubts I have created in my opponent, I therefore suggest we resolve the problem by making me the nominee."

It assumes Obama should bend down, it assumes blacks should have no problem with that, and it assumes a level of entitlement unmatched by any version of possible reality.

Fen said...

Obama inspires a level of fanatacism in his supporters that might cause this sort of behavior, and it could still be something not encouraged directly at a higher level. Or it could be. Most of us have no way of knowing what goes on at the Obama campaign caucus training sessions.

We can simply look at Obama's past. Pattern and history:

The day after New Year’s 1996, operatives for Barack Obama filed into a barren hearing room of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

There they began the tedious process of challenging hundreds of signatures on the nominating petitions of state Sen. Alice Palmer, the longtime progressive activist from the city’s South Side. And they kept challenging petitions until every one of Obama’s four Democratic primary rivals was forced off the ballot.

Obama launched his first campaign for the Illinois Senate saying he wanted to empower disenfranchised citizens.

...The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it.


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-070403obama-ballot,0,1843097.story?page=1

Annette said...

Why does one's sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age and disability status matter for caucusing? (Information requested on the form Ann is showing.) If I were participating, I would refuse to answer those questions. They are irrelevant and none of the Dem's business.

Roger said...

I, for one, don't really give a damn how the Democratics are screwing other democrats--both candidates are fundamentally flawed, political animals, on the take, as is the process the Dems came up with. I love watching Democrats self destruct, I love watching the apologists the MSM try to cover the race, and its only going to get better all the way to Denver in August.

What we have are two affirmative action candidates for President of the United States, neither of which has ever done any thing significant, stabbing each other in the back. This seems to be what American politics has become. Genuinely sad.

Titan said...

" Why are the results so different in the primary and the caucus in Texas on the same day?"

Because no one wants to stand in line for 3 hours to vote for Hillary.

Michael McNeil said...

As Linda Hershman writes in the March 2 Washington Post:

“When faced with a "movement," resistance is costly. And for weeks now, online and on cable news channels, almost anyone who expresses criticism of Obama or support for Clinton has elicited a firestorm of disapproval. Obama's scores of defenders -- "Obamabots," they're called -- immediately recite the anti-Clinton litany: Billary, Monica Lewinsky, Hillary's Iraq war vote, identity politics. Well-regarded activists such as Planned Parenthood's Feldt or successful writers such as Tina Fey who support Clinton are excoriated as worthless pieces of nonsense. After Steinem wrote an op-ed on Clinton's behalf in the New York Times, the New Republic published an article titled "Gloria Steinem's Awful Op Ed." Not wrong. Not misguided. But "awful."

“Has this rhetorical firestorm had an effect on the political decisions of college-educated white women? I don't know. But I do know that many of these women have succeeded by meeting or exceeding society's expectations. And the movement quality of the Obama campaign has certainly raised expectations of commitment to its candidate well beyond those of a normal political campaign. This has to be generating powerful peer pressure.

“The commentary can feel like something close to intimidation, a gantlet of verbal punishment meted out to anyone who dares to disagree. It's well established social science that women on the whole are much more averse to political conflict than men are, so it's fair to speculate that avoiding that gantlet may be one more reason women are tilting toward Obama.”

It’s rather amusing seeing the Democrats unlimbering their rhetorical heavy guns on each other — weapons usually employed in full bore against their “evil” Republican adversaries and like folk.  I imagine it is rather eye-opening suddenly being on the receiving end of that blast of “identity politics” fury.

Fen said...

It’s rather amusing seeing the Democrats unlimbering their rhetorical heavy guns on each other

And hysterical when they complain that Obama/Hillary tactics are borrowed from Karl Rove.

former law student said...

his hands are stained with blood money from Auchi.

Can you follow the money? If not, shut up. Did your gal Hillary renounce the $800,000 she got from investment fraudster and fugitive from justice Norman Hsu?

Hsu pleaded no contest in 1991 to a felony count of grand theft, admitting he'd defrauded investors of $1 million in a bogus investment scam. Prosecutors say he was facing up to three years in prison when he skipped town before being sentenced.

AdamGrant said...

Technology has improved in the decades since these electoral systems were set up. It is now possible for each party to run nationwide secret ballots in which everyone gets to vote at the same time. You could have any voting method you want - I'd lean towards a ranked voting method.
It would also reduce confusion to run presidential elections like this, with no electoral college.

Christy said...

I drove 2 hours from work to be able to do the caucus in Dallas. Even though they lacked enough persons assisting to make it a timely affair, it went smoothly. Even with just moving to Texas, I found the caucus easy. That includes the form! There were even two persons helping people not smart enough to bring their voter registration card (as everyone is instructed to do).

I know one reason more persons voted for Obama in the caucus was that republicans were asked verbally and by written account to vote for Clinton. I do not think a McCain supporter would be willing to waste 5 hours for a caucus. All accounts I heard of unfair practice was due to size restrictions and that hurt the Obama supporters.

hypatia 370 said...

Chris said: The real problem, or one of them, is that the caucus system is confusing and disorganized in a way that allows a small group of people with an agenda to take over and call the shots.

After reading your summary and releated comments I can understand how you drew your conclusions. Our experience was much different.

Doors never really 'closed" insofar as the room provided couldn't contain all the participants. The precinct chair explained the process and answered questions. In about 90-minutes, signatures were secured, candidates
chosen, delegates allocated, and party delegates and alternates selected/voted in.

Almost 300 people participated. It was crowded. Too hot. Kids running all over. People laughing, telling stories. Parents yelling "quit hitting", "put it/him/her down." Overall, a memorable, joyful night.

On Wednesday we spoke with friends and colleagues in other parts of the state. I heard our story repeated over and over again. None of us (20+) had the unfortunate experience you described.

Do oyu think it's fair to say it was a mixed bag of well-run and undone?

JoePa Uber Alles said...

I went to the caucus here in Texas, and all I found was that it was poorly run. I was in one of the precincts that was more heavily attended by Obama voters, by a margin of 5 to 1, I'd wager. There was just abject confusion about the whole process. No one knew what was going on, which probably led to people signing and not indicating presidential preference - I didn't stay til the bitter end, so I don't know what happened.

Even when it came to lining up - they let us in while people were still voting, which was a big no no. No one knew what the hell was going on, because overwhelming numbers of people came out to a process that's generally pointless. When was the last time the Texas primary even mattered?

Why is there disparity? Maybe because Obama actually inspires people to go to more effort than just voting than Clinton does. Just putting it out there - there are far more excited Obama supporters than there are Clinton.

What's more sad is that, if this stuff is going on, it's likely to lead to another 4 years of a Republican president, and one who voted on providing immunity to the telecoms in the illegal wiretapping. The Dems need to get their act together and realize that either candidate is going to be a lot better than McCain, and we need to stop tearing each other down for him.

SpaceSquirrel said...

To Annette:
I beileve the sign-in form asks for info about disabilities, age, ethnicity, gender, etc. because the party tries to have equitable representation of relevant groups at the conventions of various levels.

For example, most (perhaps even all) of the state Democratic parties require a 50/50 male/female ratio in the delegates they send to the national convention.

While still a bit undecided, I'm actually leaning IN FAVOR of caucus systems for choosing party nominees.

For a general election, I agree on the need for secret ballots cast in a manner that is accessible and convenient as can be made secure. This how you most accurately gauge the "will of the people".

That is not the only goal of a primary, however. Here you a re choosing a party nominee in hopes of later winning the general election.

This is where the activists that a caucus system "over-represents" can be key. An activist is more likely to do things like donate money, put up signs, phone bank, talk to friends, neighbors, etc.

Someone who's only participation in politics is voting will yield one vote in a primary and one vote in general.

An activist would give one vote in a primary, but could "recruit" dozens of votes for a general election.

Carlos said...

The basic difference is not the lack or abundance of enthusiasm from supporters of one candidate or the other...the fundamental difference is the lack of childcare assistance (and other important assistance for key voters of Hillary)..... This is a terrible disenfranchising of a important population of our society....

EB said...

The obvious lesson here is that whenever a democrat loses a contest, it was stolen, even if by another democrat.

And if the Democrat loses in November I'm sure we will all be assured that it was stolen as well.