Tara and I attended another Iowa Caucus on Monday night. The process has been eye opening and interesting after moving here in 2003. Months of television ads including a negative slant for the majority of them, months - nay years - of candidate visits in our state including stops on the Simpson College campus where I work all led up to Monday night's Caucus.
We met Deb Hade in the parking lot on our way to check-in and the parking lot at the high school was full. The line was long for our precinct, but we all got checked in...
Our precinct chair was a "temporary" and due to that, she unfortunately didn't really know what to say and failed to take the opportunity to give us clear, concrete instructions compared to prior times where the chair would clearly state the instructions and guide us through the evening. So the first 30 minutes from 7 - 7:30 was a lot of "nothing" and was wasting precious time. You seriously would think that if you had agreed to be the temporary chair, you would have prepared some remarks, a clear list of action and telegraphed that to an auditorium full of voters. Nope. No preparation. Which is really too bad, because it watered down the experience which included many youth and observers who were also in the room to watch the process, but not to vote.
WTF? There were no speeches made to encourage support of any candidate, we were simply told to sit in the section of the candidate we were supporting. Our group, which was large, never even actually appointed a spokesperson. Previous caucuses that I have attended have been very well organized, energetic, and much discussion was had in the room. In contrast, the disorganization in our room was unfortunate compared to what it could have been.
Several had Apps on their smart phones and were counting. No numbers were ever shared to the entire group. Except the chair did say that based on our total number in the room, a candidate needed 34 to be viable. One candidate had less than the required 34 - and without much explanation or guidance from the chair, eventually the small group were spoken to by certain people and moved over into other sections when the chair announced the end of a time limit. Again, even though many of us had been before, there was very little instruction, guidance or announcements being made. So we all just sat. About 90 minutes later, the number of delegates were announced for each candidate and a call for volunteers to be one of those delegates was made. My wife signed up as one, and I signed up as her alternate.
As we were all putting on our coats and leaving, the chair finally started speaking into the microphone saying they needed volunteers for this and that here in our town and county, but by then after sitting for 2 hours it was too little, too late. We all left.
I got home and watched the news of other caucuses that were still going on which were quite exciting with the process. Dang! Why couldn't I have been at one of those!!!! In fact, in our building which had several precincts, news was that many of the other rooms were rather exciting as they were well organized, and the respective chairs guided them through the process. Oh well, so much for our precinct this time around! At least we got the job done.
So the Iowa Caucus process was what it was this year for our precinct. Some precincts had great experiences. Some did not. Our group sent 7 delegates on for Clinton, and 4 for Sanders. O'Malley was not viable, and he suspended his campaign not long after the caucus was over on Monday night.