What an event. I can't remember that last caucus I attended. It must have been 20 years ago. The mood then was not quite as electric as the one last night.
I had planned to attend as soon as one of my daughters informed me of her intention to support Obama. The weather prediction was cold and wet. In fact there was to be several inches of snow. Fortunately for our area it only rained. I didn't see the first snow flake until I was within 500 meters of the house upon my return home.
Knowing the weather was going to be less than perfect, I left the house early so I could get a good parking place. Hah. The doors were to open at 6 PM and close at 7 PM. If you were in line by seven you would still be allowed to enter. As I drove up the street to the caucus site, the parking lots were already full. I was able to find a parking place within a block of the site. The line was beginning to form outside of the building. I looked at my watch and it was 6:10 PM. So much for arriving early. It must have taken 15 minutes to move the 30 meters from the front door to the registration desk. The good part of that was being able to talk with some very nice people.
Once you get to the registration desk, you would be admitted upon showing proper ID and signing the registration form. You were then given a colored dot with adhesive on the back. It was your "badge" of authenticity and you could join the crowd of people. There was a short questionnaire to be completed and dropped in the collection box.
Now for a description of the room. It was designed to safely accommodate around 300 people. We found out later that there were more than 500 in attendance. Several of us commented that the fire marshal might have had some concerns about the overage. Someone did mention that he was probably Republican.
It was a very noisy room. I did see signs for Kucinich, Edwards, Clinton and Obama. The mood was festive and the noise was very loud. Just when you thought you could talk with someone nearby, a chant would be led supporting one of the two primary candidates. It was absolutely thrilling to see the number of folks and the many diversities. I don't remember ever seeing so many young people. There was a teacher from the Leavenworth High School there taking names of the students in his class who attended. In the line I was eventually standing, there were six or seven young men from Lansing High School. There were young children there with their parents. I even saw a baby who could not have been more than two months.
The process for the caucus is quite simple, find the group that supports your candidate and stay with them. After everyone was admitted, the count would begin. The counting didn't begin until around 7:20 PM. It did take a while for everyone to get in. The crowd was so large that one of the groups was asked to move to a smaller adjoining room so that they could be counted. After the first count, two of the candidate's groups were so small, they were asked to join another group.
The big problem was, how to count so many people. The plan - identify folks who would be the head of a line the rest of us could stand behind. Once we formed the lines, we were instructed to count of from back to front. It is amazing it worked as well as it did, considering the sheer magnitude of the crowd and the noise. After the counting it was announced that there were 521 folks in attendance, and that was only those who were registered voters.
The final tally - Obama got four delegates to the state convention and Clinton got two.
The loudest, longest cheer of the evening - "Who do we want? Obama. When do we want him? NOW!"
Now it is on to the general election. I am sure that our candidate will win. I did start a rumor that the first woman president of the USA should be Governor Kathleen Sibelius.