Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Caucus and Bull Story

I went to Grinnell College in Iowa, and I caucused for Bill Bradley at Grinnell in 2000. He kicked everybody's butt in our precinct -- he so overwhelmed the numbers in the gymnasium that Democratic precinct chair and Professor of History Don Smith (pictured) said, ok, Bill Bradley people, you can leave, and we're going to count you as you go out the door. Then I guess they counted whoever was still around to see if Gore or somebody managed 15%. Grinnell the college is more liberal than Grinnell the town, which is more liberal than Poweshiek County, which is more liberal than the surrounding area. So although Bradley had this little spike in our precinct, he didn't even take the countywide majority.

To see what I'm talking about, check out the IA Democratic Party's results site, and pull down the thing below for Poweshiek County. Once you get there, look for the Grinnell first precinct (the college). Hillary couldn't even pull off 15%.

Due to the efforts of Doug Cutchins, Grinnell College's Director of the Office of Social Commitment, a blogger from Slate was liveblogging the Grinnell Democratic caucus tonight. His descriptions fill in a number of the gaps in my memory. Whenever he refers to Don Smith talking, imagine the man pictured above, speaking in a gentle Southern accent, even though he's trying to address a room of four hundred. Then imagine him teaching you European history at 8 in the morning (my own experience -- irrelevant to the topic at hand).

Interesting fact from the Slate dude: this election, Grinnell 1 has more delegates than any other precinct in Iowa, due to the huge student turnout in 2004, when the caucuses were during the semester (seriously, America, we need to re-shorten the election; I know you're eager to get on with it, but starting earlier doesn't make it end earlier). Go Grinnell.

I really want Obama to win this thing. I like Edwards, too, but am not a big fan of Hillary. Clinton's a great candidate for people who think Bush answers too many questions in a candid, straightforward manner.

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