HUGE night at the caucuses

/ 6 February 2008

I was so tired and pumped up when I got home that I couldn’t blog. We had an absolutely HUGE night at the caucuses. I have no idea what to compare it to, because I’m not a Minnesota historian, but the DFL people kept saying that it was a turnout of record proportions. All I know is that the DFL printed DOUBLE the amount of ballots they had in the past, and we ran out early in the evening and had to start using post-it notes for people to write in their candidates (which is fine in a precinct caucus).

Our little neighborhood precinct had 373 people sign in to participate -- I know, because I was sitting at the table signing them in. And that of course doesn't count all the little kids that came along with their parents. We had a TON of new first-time caucus goers, including lots and lots of young people. Our precinct went more than 2 to 1 for Obama, which was something repeated all over our building (which was devoted to St. Paul precincts). From the online news I've been reading this morning, it looks like that was a pattern repeated all over the state.

As I read the rest of the results today, I'm keeping in mind that enormous, but quite orderly and engaged crowd of people. In some ways it's hard not to feel a bit of a letdown -- for me, at least -- given that Obama hasn't won everywhere and Clinton took some huge states. (Although I have to admit, the little contretemps over Hillary's campaign sending out press announcements about winning Missouri when it turns out Obama actually won, was kind of amusing.) But a couple of things keep my spirits up. First of all, this is a race for delegates, not number of states won. Secondly, the REAL race is the long term one of building a movement for real change that focuses on the common good. That movement is clearly happening here in Minnesota, and I think we're well on our way to building it elsewhere, too.

A couple of other useful tidbits: three of the big states Hillary won -- MA, NJ and NY -- are all in the NY media market, where her campaign spent a LOT of money. And Obama came to within 10 percentage points in CA, where Hillary had what some people call "the LA machine" on her side. I think if he had had more time, that percentage might have shrunk even further. Right now Obama has more funding -- and funding potential, given how few of his donors are "tapped out" in terms of meeting the limit -- and the most immediate upcoming contests may give him the time he needs. We'll see. Clearly he survives to "fight another day"!