Caucus through the looking glass

"'What is a Caucus-race?' said Alice. 'Why,' said the Dodo, 'The best way to explain it is to do it.'"

- "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

Lewis Carroll, 1865

The caucus has not improved in reputation since Lewis Carroll lampooned it more than 140 years ago. It is not one of those processes that become more popular through participation.

Certainly anyone who couldn't hear what was going on in their caucus meeting on Saturday, could almost certainly hear someone else grumble about the process.

At least one Nevada party has held some sort of caucus every presidential election since 1984.

For the record, Douglas County Democrats held their caucus in February 2004 at Douglas High School. At the time, organizers were thrilled that more than 100 people turned out from Carson Valley and the south county.

Republicans held precinct meetings in 2004, because they already had their candidate, George W. Bush, in office.

Party regulars have long bemoaned the lack of participation by rank and file. Well Saturday they got their wish and then some.

Virtually every precinct meeting was plagued by a shortage of ballots and in those places where several precincts gathered, it was often difficult to hear. Those things were signs of the public interest in participating in the political process.

We're not opposed to holding an election for Nevada's presidential nomination, but we realize that what now is a burden on the parties will become a burden on the state's taxpayers.

We also know interest in a presidential primary will depend on its timing. If it is early in the process, people will turn out. If it's late, then we've wasted our money and our voice.


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