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Have you ever attended a caucus? Want to know what it's like?

Today was the Washington state Democratic party caucuses. That time honored political tradition where people pile into schools and community centers across the state and politely discourse about their chosen political candidates.

Oh who am I kidding, they aren’t polite. They scream and shout like the best Trump supporters do. Less punching though. But more on that later.


So how does the process work?

First, you find your precinct. It’s either on your voter’s registration card or you can nicely look it up online if you don’t have your registration card or if you haven’t registered yet. In Washington anyone who will be 18 by election day can vote. There are no party declarations when you register and you declare your party preference when you cast your ballot.


Once you have that information you stand in line. It’s a long line. They don’t even give you an “I Voted” sticker when you finally get to the front of the line. This is a disappointment.

While you’re standing in line people walk around and give you the form to fill out. You can also bring a pre-printed version with you beforehand. You save no time printing the form beforehand.


Once you’ve finally gotten inside you find a table with your precinct number on it. The venue is by legislative district and each district has multiple precincts. Once you’ve found your table the real magic begins. This is where you’re supposed to meet your neighbors and talk about things. Resolutions you want taken to the party’s local, state, and national convention. Talk about your enthusiasm for your candidate of choice. Get involved, stuff like that.

Reality is that your precinct leader likely won’t know what’s going on, so they’ll ask you to turn in your ballot now and finalize your vote, even though voting hasn’t started yet. This is voter fraud.


Someone else will call them on it and accuse them of suppressing votes and trying to change them in support of “not my candidate”. Shouting will start. Everyone will accuse everyone else of trying to maintain the establishment voice. The oligarchy will be brought up. Multiple times. More shouting.

At that point....the caucus officially starts. That’s right, voting is only now starting. You arrived 2 hours before. They’ll start it off by pledging allegiance to the flag.

Illustration for article titled Have you ever attended a caucus? Want to know what its like?

They’ll realize this is the only flag in the room. Some people will pledge to it anyway. Others will pledge to the wall.


You won’t, because the pledge is ridiculous and you’re a rebel.

Now voting actually starts. People will walk around and say “Make sure there are 2 people for each candidate counting votes, can’t have those ‘establishment candidate supporters’ stealing our votes!” Cheers will go up and ring across the room. By now you probably have a headache. Next time bring some ibuprofen and a drink.


Your precinct will vote to accept the previously submitted ballots despite the accused fraud and stop shouting about it. The tally will be 90% non-establishment candidate, 10% establishment candidate. People will boo and shout fraud because no way did anyone vote for the establishment oligarchy (actual quote). Only the non-establishment candidate’s supporters counted votes in your precinct. This is fine, they wouldn’t suppress votes. Not like “other candidate”.

Supposedly people get to talk about their candidate now, but your precinct has no undecided voters so they move to ignore that. Now you’re supposed to finalize your vote, but they did that part before the pledge, remember? You move on.


By this point you’ve been standing for hours either in a line outside or in a crowded smelly room. Somehow you’re freezing even though you’re in said crowded smelly room. How is that possible. Your mind is wandering now. That headache is really in full force.

They’re supposed to tally the vote now and figure out how many delegates each candidate gets to send to the legislative and county conventions. They already start voting for delegates instead. People are giving speeches about why they should be a delegate. Even though they don’t even know how many to vote for or who gets to vote for them.


Someone else brings up voter fraud. They get boo’d down because they’re obviously part of the oligarchy establishment forces. By this point the minority voters (most of whom are actually minority voters) are standing together trying to escape attention. One lady will bring up how they’re ignoring the rules and ask if the group can pay attention to them. They find she isn’t on their side. She’s shunned.

You’ve been here for 142 minutes by this point. Your head hurts. People are shouting at each other despite being on the same side. You barely resist the urge to shout about making america great again. Is this how it starts? Oh gods, this is how it starts isn’t it?


No wait, they’ve figured out the tally now. They already started electing delegates, but now they know non-establishment candidate gets 100% of them. Forget about even voting for establishment candidate, they can burn ignore those delegates. Cheers go up. Someone shouts about voter suppression again and is reminded that the other side doesn’t get any delegates. They shut up.

Now it’s time for resolutions. Someone wants to overturn Supreme Court decisions. Another person wants an investigation into chem trails. Something about the Glass–Steagall act but they spelled it “Glass Seagull”. You wonder if it’s too late to introduce a resolution to do away with caucuses. It is. You’re sad.


You realize that since you were an establishment vote they’ve decided you don’t actually get to vote on anything else now. Huh. Is it worth fighting over? They start shouting about voter suppression again as you quietly sneak out the side door instead.

The political process at work.

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