alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

Highlights From My First and Probably Last Caucus

"It's 7 p.m, and the Democratic caucus is in session!" the leader cried over a bullhorn.

Pandemonium erupted - cheers and war whoops - in the overcrowded school where I was attending my first caucus. I'd moved to Colorado, a caucus state, 5 years ago, but in the 2004 election, John Kerry had already been declared the nominee before our state caucuses were held. Only 200 people had showed up that year at the elementary school gym, but this year, on Super Tuesday, there were 2500. An unprecedented number!

I was excited: my first taste of democracy in action. But by the end of the evening, I would wonder if it was democracy at all.

I'd just broken my collar bone in a ski accident and torn a ligament in my knee. I was wearing a brace and couldn't drive, but nothing could stop me from attending. A friend picked me up an hour early for the five-minute drive to the school, but we had to scrounge for parking and wait in line in the freezing night just to register. So by 7, tension was high. Would Obama or Clinton get the most votes?

The caucus leader spent 20 minutes reading procedural rules, while people grumbled, "Bo-ring." One person was allowed to speak for each candidate, but they said things we'd heard a thousand times. Finally, the leader said we would proceed to voting, "which HAS to be open. No secret ballots."

We broke up into our neighborhood precincts, and mine gathered in the cafeteria. We counted ourselves off aloud: 115.

"Do you want to discuss the candidates further?" the precinct captain asked.

Silence.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close