Friday, March 4, 2016

Caucuses: It's Maine's Super Weekend

Edited to add a corrective paragraph. . .

I guess one might call this "Super Weekend" in Maine, and possibly a couple other states as well.  The political parties will be holding their caucuses here.  The Republicans will meet in various spots around the state Saturday while the Democrats will be meeting Sunday.

Now that I have paid a little attention to this way of doing political business, I don't like it.  The polling system where people simply cast a ballot is my preference, but the politicos seem to like caucuses better.  Perhaps it's because they have more control over the results when they can intimidate people, usually a relatively small turnout, into making choices they want.

Intimidation can come from many forms, but one of the more subtle forms is simply asking people of like mind to form a group.  Someone at the caucus wanting to support, say, his next door neighbor might see many people grouping for someone else while he alone is standing in support of that neighbor.  A person of integrity probably would stand alone anyway, but more likely would seek out someone else.

Edited to add:  I'm not sure how the Sunday Democrat caucuses will work, but because several cities and owns will meet in 22 locations around the state, paper ballots will be cast to select the Republican to be supported at the state and national party conventions later this year.  By using paper ballots it will be easier to name the delegates from each community.  I'm happy the paper ballot will be used, but I still cannot attend this year.  Now back to the original thoughts . . .

It's much more pleasant to cast a ballot type vote and probably the results would be a lot more accurate of the people's choices or feelings.

Caucuses do have one small advantage.  Because of the number of people in one place, candidates tend to make more visits so more people get to see and hear them live and in person.  Even national candidates occasionally bless our state as shown Wednesday through Friday by the appearances of Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz.  I didn't go to see any of them, but we saw the people in the thousands on the TV news shows.

I don't know how much influence they had on the outcomes of the weekend selection of delegates to the national political party conventions later this year; but a lot of Mainers saw live some persons they may not have otherwise ever seen.

Unfortunately, and I'm probably in the wee minority on this point, we no longer have our own city caucuses.  The Scarborough Republican Caucus, for example, will be held in conjunction with the town/city parties in Westbrook with that city and several other towns.  Nothing against Westbrook, it's just I would have preferred to have ours held right here in our town. 

This year it's a hollow desire, though.  Because of various circumstances, health being the major one, I wouldn't be attending anyway.  But, if you are wondering, yes, I have attended caucuses in the past, but never a combined one.

All our caucuses accomplish is the selection of local delegates to the State conventions which are the ultimate source for selection of delegates to attend the national affairs.  It is there where the ultimate nominees for the Presidency are reduced to just for each party.

It looks like, as many have guessed for a very long time, Hillary Clinton will be the selection of the Democrats.  Donald Trump leads the Republicans right now, but there's about to be a vicious battle to get him out of the race.

No matter who in either party ends up with the nomination this summer, I'm not sure I could consider this year as one of the best ever, either in the quality of the candidates, the methods they reached the goal, or the standards they are carrying for the future of our country.

But that's another story.

Meanwhile, it's caucus weekend, and I hope all of you make good decisions.  The future of America depends on it.


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