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Caucus Round Up 2: Cheryl Kasson Writes From SW Denver

February 5, 2008

(note Kasson is a friend and progressive Jewish activist)

Rob,

I just came back from my caucus and read your most recent
entry. Like you, I switched my straw vote from Uncommitted to Obama, just so that there would be delegates for both candidates and the
process could continue.

I live in Southwest Denver, in a heavily Latino neighborhood with
also a considerable number of us Anglos, both young and old. There
were a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters among the Latino women in my
precinct, but also many Obama supporters in the crowd.

We held the caucus in the same middle school cafeteria it was in two
years ago, but this time so many people showed up that we had to
shove a couple of long tables together to fit everyone in. The
precinct seated next to ours took a lot of time going over and voting
on the resolutions, but my precinct members were more
business-like. They just wanted to get the delegates and alternates
picked and get out of there.

Nevertheless, it was a group very involved in and dedicated to the
political process. I am proud to be part of this diverse, mostly
lower-middle-class neighborhood. I volunteered to be a precinct
committee person and help call other Democrats for meetings and carry
info door-to-door before I realized what I was getting into. I
suppose I could be jaded about the fact that the really progressive
candidates have little chance of getting elected. However, I can’t
help continuing to be amazed by our political process, warts and all,
that enables us to keep expressing our desires and working to elect
representatives who really represent us.

Like it states during the Torah service, “A good doctrine has been
given to you.” Our Constitution is our secular Tree of Life, and I
continue to embrace it.

Keep the faith,
Cheryl
February 5, 2008 (2)

Caucus Roundup: Obama A Hit In Northwest Denver

The truth be told (might as well – it comes out in the end anyway) I wasn’t even sure I was still registered as a Democratic till yesterday. I usually change my registration to independent after elections to cleanse my soul spiritually. But I forgot to this time and figured I might as well accompany Nancy to the caucas. Besides, it’s pretty much the only time we see and talk to our neighbors, promising to get together sometime.

The last time I participated in the Democratic Party caucus process in Colorado was four years ago. About 15 people showed up from the precinct, most for Kerry on the national level, a few of us for Kucinich. But there was an upstart Democratic challenger in the race for the nomination to the US Senate, Mike Miles, who wanted to support against Ken Salazar (who won the nomination and the election). There were a good many resolutions presented and one on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict featured two Jews arguing with each other over whether Israel should be praised or criticized. I was one of them

Tonight was different, quite different. In my neighborhood people swarmed to the caucuses in record numbers.

Just how many precincts met at Skinner Middle School from where one of my daughters graduated some 16 years ago, I do not know. But this time our little precinct caucus of 15, four years ago, exploded into 104 last night. Four years of Bush and Cheney’s shinnanigans did not bring out the masses, but eight years of neo-conservative economic policies with recession either here or not far off, five years into the war of Iraq with Afghanistan and Pakistan exploding and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict festering towards nowhere, seemed to tip the balance.

All ages, mostly working and middle class, a fair number of chicanos and a sprinkling of blacks. The meeting was chaired by an openly gay man whose husband was recording secretary. Sitting in front of Nancy and me were two women who introduced themselves as wife and wife. Northwest Denver …home sweet home.

Turns out Precinct 413 doesn’t like torture, Walmarts or Hillary (who, if I remember correctly, serves on the board of Walmart). People weren’t especially interested in resolutions but in the presidential preferences. But there were a few presented. . Resolutions that passed go on to the next level, the county convention. The one that drew a roar from the entire precinct was one fashioned by Colorado Progressive Dems condemning the use of torture. (They don’t like Walmart’s either and defeated an initiative a few years ago to pollute our neighborhood with one. That was nice.)

A single payer healthcare bill also got near unanimous support. The vote on a strong anti-Iraq war resolution (also presented by the Progressive Dems) passed by about a three to two margin, some people opposed to the call for an immediate pull out, the dismantling of US bases and reparations to the Iraqis. Still, it made it to the next level.

There were alot of signs and leaflets for Hillary and Obama but more for the latter than the former. A number of people from our block were there, some disappointed that Edwards and Kucinich had dropped out of the running. A straw poll was taken that revealed only 6 or 7 of us were `uncommitted’, not enough to merit even one delegate. Nancy and I were among them. We switched our votes to Obama but one guy abstained rather than voting for Clinton and Obama.

The preference vote in Denver’s Precinct 413 was decidedly lopsided. Of 104 eligible voters Obama got 81 votes, Hillary 22, plus the one abstention. Although I could not detect much of a pattern, it seemed that Clinton won the support of some of the neighborhood’s gay women, a distinct number of Chicanos and long time Democratic Party functionaries. Everyone else – and I mean everyone – chose Obama. Among the five other precincts caucasing tonight only one came out in support of Hillary, and that by a narrow margin. The others were lopsided victories for Obama in proportions 4-to1 in our case, 3-1 in the others. A preference vote for the US Senate candidate also took place. Mark Udall swept the field with only a few of us – 3 in my precinct to be exact – supporting anti-war activist and Udall-challenger Mark Benner from Colorado’s eastern plains.

Poor Benner.

_____________________________________________________________

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