Never to be out done by normal ways of doing things, Texas has designed one of the more confusing primary processes in 2008.
For those of who aren’t from the US, during the primaries the parties – Republican and Democrat – choose their candidates. Sure there are some other wackos out there but essentially it’s a two party system. Each candidate collects X amount of delegates from each state vote (we’re the United States) until each party has a winner. Then, the GOP and Dems get together in the autumn to formally nominate their person.
Normally, a state chooses either to hold primary votes or caucuses. Votes are pretty straight forward and are handled like the general election. Candidates campaign and on primary day, voters go to the polls to cast their ballot for their party’s chosen candidate. Or, each party holds a caucus to decide how the delegates are allocated. A caucus, in which Iowa has the most famous, is a much more hands on approach to deciding the delegate allocations.
Rather than casting a vote, each voter shows up in person at a given period of time. Then, when instructed voters go to a group of people who support their candidate. So for the Dems, there will be a Barack group, Hillary group, Bill Richardson group and so on. Hell, there may even be a Mickey Mouse group or Ron Paul group there.
Then, depending on the rules for the caucus, the smaller groups – those not receiving a certain percentage of people, will be told to go to another group that is larger. Apparently, that’s when the politicking starts.
Normally, it’s primary vote or caucus – but not Texas. Called by the media – the Texas two step – people first vote in a primary, then, if they vote in the primary they can come back to also participate in a caucus. The nice rep at my precinct was good enough to explain the process.
Texas has 200 delegates for the convention. The primary vote is for 135 of these delegates. These votes are controlled by party
hacks officials at the county level. Tonight’s caucus controls the allocation of the other 65 delegates. The interesting part is that the delegates for each precinct will be made up of the people participating in the caucus tonight.
Intrigued by the process, I’m heading back tonight to participate in the dance. Depending on how interesting things get, I may even do a little audio-blogging.
Wish I had a ten-gallon hat and a 6-shooter – apparently these things get heated sometimes.