More Caucuses v. Primary
The debate going into this weekend on whether to go the primary election route or the caucuses is still going on, so instead of updating my post below, I'm going to start a new post with some updates.
My concern since then has been on the argument about caucuses and party building, that we should stick with the caucuses because they encourage participatory democracy (my instant reaction here).
Here is one of my other state committee people, Zach Smith, making the argument for participatory democracy and party building in the Olympian article reviewing our endorsement of the primary:
(Smith) said caucuses are key to building the Democratic organization and need to be supported.
Karen Marchioro, former state chair, making much the same argument in an email from yesterday:
I love caucuses for the same reasons that Zach and Karen do. I got involved in the local Democratic organization directly from my caucus when my PCO at the time signed my proxy application right there in the elementary school gym. But soon after the caucuses were finished, my zeal quickly dissipated. When I was at that first caucus, I thought being involved in the Democratic Party was great. I was grassroots, it was face-to-face, it was everything that Zach and Karen are saying. But, outside of the caucuses, there is little we do as Democrats that embrace participatory democracy.
Outside of the caucuses, we don't encourage participation. So, the party building/participatory democracy argument for me is disingenuous. If we really believed in these things as a party, we would focus more of our attention on them.
What the caucuses are really for is recruiting volunteers that we're expecting carry us through November 2008, then we have no plans on keeping them involved. After the eleciton, we don't really care what happens to these folks, if they stay engaged or not. Participatory democracy doesn't start with caucuses and end with the election, its ongoing.
If we really cared about participatory democracy and building the party beyond a mailing list, the caucuses would be the end result of a civic engagement campaign, not the beginning of a volunteer recruitment campaign. And, we would get a lot more than 2 percent turnout.