In my effort to connect with the precinct officers of my voting precinct I decided, since the caucus meetings were so close that I would attend as many of the party caucus meetings as I could for my precinct. Several of the minor parties are holding their caucus meetings at the same time as the Republican Caucus meeting, which is tomorrow night. The only caucus meetings that did not have conflicting times were the Democratic and Republican caucus meetings. Since they are the only parties that really have much say in what happens in Utah, where I live, those are the caucus meetings that I will be attending. Last night was the Democratic Caucus meeting and I wanted to report on my experience there.
Having grown up in a mostly Republican dominated culture with both of my parents being registered Republicans, I have never attended a Democratic caucus meeting. I found it an educational experience.
First of all, for those that don’t know, Utah has both a State House of Representatives and a State Senate. It is the smaller districts (for the House of Representatives) that make up the legislative districts. Both Republican and Democratic Parties have decided that instead of having precinct caucus meetings at someone’s home, all voting precincts within a state legislative district meet together at the same time and place to conduct general party business and make announcements that apply to everybody, and then separate into the voting precincts to elect precinct officers and delegates for the county and state conventions.
There were around 120 people attending from my legislative district, which consists of 24 voting precincts. By state constitution precincts cannot be more than 1,200 registered voters. So out of about 24,000 registered voters, only about 120 associated with the Democratic party and felt it was important to attend their caucus meeting. According to the people running the meeting, it was the largest attendance they had ever had. They said they usually only have about 80 and they had set up chairs for about 100. There were about 20 people who didn’t have a place to sit for the general business. My precinct had one couple and myself who were in attendance, and I didn’t see any precinct with more than about 10.
From the meeting I found that, like Republicans, Democrats and those who associate with them have both pleasant and grumpy people among them. They have people who are passionate and people who only come out of a sense of being guilted into attendance. The general sentiment that I felt was more an attitude of “I hate Republicans” than of standing for any uniquely Democratic ideals. In other words it wasn’t all that different from my experiences in the past with the Republican party, except that because the Republican party is so predominant in Utah, there has been less of an inferiority complex at their meetings.
I am curious to see what I will see when I attend my Republican caucus meeting tomorrow night.