Friday, January 20, 2012

After Party: Caucusing

Thanks to Wes Bradley for the photos above from last night's After Party which was about caucusing. The St. Louis Tea Party is working to raise awareness about Missouri's March county caucuses because the Show Me State will select our president through the caucus system. You may have heard about the February 7th primary; however, that primary is meaningless, since the March caucus will start the process of selecting Missouri's 52 delegates to the Republican National Convention. Make sure you get your county caucus, the district convention, and the state convention on your schedule.

The feedback that I've gotten about last night's Caucusing After Party has been positive with the exception that the venue was too small for the crowd which made it hard to hear the speakers at times. I think the structure of the training worked well. Ruth Carlson of Life is Political, ran a mock caucus which followed the caucus agenda provided by the Missouri GOP. At each agenda item, Ruth would take questions from the audience and provide an explanation of what was to come.

If you've never participated in a caucus, it's hard to understand how they work. The rules of the caucus are defined during each county caucus, so simply coming with a slate of candidates that back your favorite Republican presidential candidate is insufficient, but planning is also difficult since the rules aren't known in advance. With that in mind, here are some pre-caucus planning steps that you can take:
  1. If supporters of a particular candidate control 50% + 1 votes at a given caucus then they will (probably) get all of the delegates and alternates from that county caucus
  2. If no particular candidate's supporters have 50% + 1 votes at a given county caucus then there will (probably) be a more proportional assignment of delegates and alternates from that county caucus
  3. You should invite your like-minded friends and neighbors--the people you know support the candidate you support or at least share your principals--to the caucus and make sure that they plan to be there. Maybe you could car pool with them to the caucus location.
  4. Figure out your county GOP chair from the MOGOP website. In early March, call them and confirm a) the date, b) time, and c) location of the caucus. Ask to be updated if that changes and leave your name and phone number.
Numbers 1 and 2 drive whether or not your county caucus will be "winner take all" or proportional. I see two main factions developing before March: 1) GOP establishment probably behind Romney and 2) Ron Paul. Maybe Gingrich or Santorum will hold on until Missouri's March caucuses. In my opinion, Tea Partiers should form a third, perhaps uncommitted, faction and reach out to these factions now. I think Ron Paul's supporters may be easier to work with here. In 2008 they were shafted by the state GOP (here are some examples: example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4, example 5, example 6, example 7, example 8, example 9, example 10, example 11, example 12, example 13, example 14, example 15, example 16, example 17, example 18, example 19, example 20, and example 21), so this year is a grudge match for Ron Paul's Missouri team. They may be willing to put some Tea Partiers on their caucus slate if that will push their caucus representation over that 50% + 1 threshold. If you're one of those Tea Partiers, it does not mean that you have to support Ron Paul at the District and State conventions. This is merely a strategy for driving Tea Party representation at those conventions by compromising at the March county caucus.

Now, as per #4, contact your county GOP chair and let them know that you'd like to attend the caucus! They may not have a location for their caucus yet, so leave your phone number and email address so they can follow up with you later.


KellyJaye said...

Great information! Thank you!

dsm said...

@KellyJaye, You're welcome!