This Is What Democracy Really Looks Like

Scott County Dems recruited over 500 volunteers

Iowa Caucus night, 2012:  This is what Democracy looked like Tuesday night on the Democratic front.  By all accounts, the Democratic caucus locations were packed and lively.

“My cluster was Solon, Big Grove, Cedar, Graham and Newport….just left the cluster caucuses at Solon Middle School. Great turnout in both parties. Iowa City Press Citizen showed up. Rs still turning in votes… at 8:25 p.m. Ds solid Obama. I was elected precinct chair for two rural precincts and everyone stayed until the very end, then talked in groups long after the formal business was finished. It is clear the Democratic organization is much further ahead than we were in a contested nomination, and that people are more engaged than I can remember since moving back to Iowa in 1993. It won’t be a cakewalk, but it will be hard to beat the Democrats in 2012. One of my precincts broke into preference groups Obama/Uncommitted. Obama won the delegate. Seriously, people were listening to resolutions and talking about them, which did not happen in 2008. Holy cow! Democrats will be a force to be reckoned with.”

Paul Deaton

“At our cluster Rep. Mary Mascher estimated that there were 250-300 people in the room.  No one responded from the uncommitted group when it was time to speak on their behalf before the caucus.  We passed the cash envelope and broke into precincts.  We had fourteen people in our precinct caucus.  All were in President Obama’s camp except for 3 which was enough for viability.  Obama won two delegates, uncommitted one.  Not to be too pundit-y about it, but by my informal polling, the uncommitted support seemed soft. 

One resolution was introduced.  It was to immediately end the Afghanistan war.  A friendly amendment was offered that had it been accepted, would have assured its passage, and that was to change “immediately” to “as soon as possible.  The author of the resolution would not accept the amendment.  The resolution was voted down 6-5.  Politics is the art of compromise.

Dem. caucus room at West High, standing room only

The highlight of the evening for me was when our caucus secretary described the roles and duties of central committee members.  She said it sounds like a lot of time and work but we have to remember we are lucky to live in a democracy and democracy requires us to give something to it.”

Trish Nelson

“Brendan and I attended the Coralville caucus.   It began with a joint meeting of all the Coralville precincts.  The attenders filled the main floor of the auditorium of the new Coralville Arts Center, with a spillover of 30 or so people in the balcony.  As I’m sure everyone knows, Coralville was one of the two locations that got to ask a question of Obama after his video address.

In the joint caucus, one speaker spoke in favor of Obama and one, from Occupy Iowa City, spoke for noncommitted.  We broke up into individual precincts, and there were 24 of us from Coralville 4. We chose 4 delegates for the county convention.  Two resolutions were presented.  I submitted the one from Move to Amend, and it was received very favorably.  The other was in opposition to any candidate who supported incarceration of terror suspects without trial and a number of other violations of rights.”

Kate Cowles

West Liberty Democratic caucus:

The 2012 caucus for West Liberty was quite a bit smaller and quieter than the 2008. We combined 3 precincts and got around 40 total participants.

Among those in attendance was a newly minted citizen taking part in his first ever caucus. We were all quite happy for him.

Prior to the start of the event itself, the secretary was able to pull up a video of an interview that was done that morning on CNN with 4 West Liberty citizens. Among the locals in the interview was our candidate for State House, Sara Sedlacek. West Liberty is gaining some national attention as the minority majority city in Iowa. The new superintendant plus two other citizens were also part of the interview that was conducted by Soledad O’Brien. In recent years West Liberty’s graduation rate plus the number of graduates going to post-secondary education has risen dramatically.

The body of the caucus was mostly uneventful. The president’s speech dropped at the end. We were able to reconnect for the questions, but the picture was always jerky. There had to be some cajoling to get people to be delegates, but eventually enough stepped forward.

We had three participant go for the ‘no preference’ option in picking delegates, but it was not enough to earn any delegates.

We adjourned around 8:15 with the usual convivial talk afterwards.

All in all a peaceful exhibit of the democratic process.

Statement from IDP Chair Sue Dvorsky:

“more than 7,500 Iowans tonight pledged to volunteer for the campaign over the course of the next year, underscoring their commitment to continuing the change the country has seen under President Obama’s leadership.”



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