Pandemonium, Politically Speaking

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March 29, 2008 Webb County Caucus Convention.

I looked forward to this day with extreme anticipation. I’ve long been interested in politics but aside from voting and holding up signs, etc., I’ve never been able to really take part in the political process. So it was with genuine eagerness that I went to delegate training (from the Obama camp) and strategy meetings all in the interest of being prepared for the actual day in question.

Before I actually go to what occurred on that day I have to explain a few things. Laredo is run by what Laredoans call “politicos.” I’m not entirely sure how all this works because I’ve only recently begun to understand it but from what I understand the politicos are all old money and power. People who came to Laredo a very long time ago and had land and power and prestige. They’re Laredo’s “society.” They’re the ones who run for office and win, they’re the ones who’s daughters’ faces grace the paper with their debutante parties and they’re the ones whom everyone else follows.

And it just so happens that the politicos have decided to support Hillary.

Which is fine by me. I like Hillary Clinton and I loved Bill. And I’m not assuming that all of Laredo supports Hillary just because of their leaders. However, the local newspaper, mayor, state rep and House rep all support Hillary.

And they were the ones running the show at the convention.

So, that said. I get to the local university at 7:10 for an Obama strategy meeting. I look around and see about fifty people there. Most of the faces I know. We’ve all been meeting and organizing in preparation for this day. The representative from Obama’s campaign is named Jenn Watts and she is a very kind, very funny person. She again tells us the rules of the convention, what’s going to happen and what to expect.

We’re all realistic. We know that out of the 51 delegates we’re likely to get one or two and hopefully a handful of alternates. It’s Hillary’s town. Which is, again, fine. The democratic process is a beautiful thing right?

No.

Obama’s people line up; we were all there an hour early. We’re let into the auditorium and we sit and wait for about two hours. Then our elected officials take a few minutes to talk about how we’re all Democrats and we all believe the same things and come November we all need to get behind whichever candidate is elected. We know that he’s talking to the 350 Hillary supporters there but we agree all the same. I personally breathed a sigh of relief.

So now we get down to the actual voting. We’re all in this huge room and 18 of us from my precinct huddle together to vote for one delegate to go to the state convention. The Obama supporters from my precinct have already chosen me (or I volunteered) to be the one to go to state. So 14 people vote for one Hillary supporter and the four Obama supporters vote for me.

So cool right? I’m an alternate. The Democratic Party’s rules during a county convention specifically states that there is one vote held. The person with the most votes is the delegate, the person with the second most votes is the alternate. Sweet.

No. My precinct, as well as several others held two votes. Which means that the 14 people who voted a Hillary supporter to be the delegate also got to vote again for a Hillary supporter to be the alternate. We objected and pointed to the rules but 14 people ignored us. I lost by two votes. I had convinced some of the Hillary supporters that in the name of Democratic unity they should have an Obama supporter as an alternate.

Jenn Watts and our attorney Walter are immediately on this but by now the crowd is getting tired and growing angry. We are organized but Clinton’s supporters (in this town) are not. They don’t know the rules and they don’t know exactly what is going on.

One of our delegates, Chris Rios, goes to the microphone that was left in the middle of the auditorium and states his objection. Our chairman, Javier Montemayor, listens to his objections and then dismisses them. We again object stating that the rules were broken.

350 Hillary supporters begin to boo and hiss and yell horrible things at us. The entire time we were following procedure and even stating our claims in the required form: point of procedure, I’d like to make an objection…

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So we decide to hold a RUMP caucus. A RUMP caucus is held when the minority is being treated unfairly. We go outside and strategize and it’s then that we realize that the secretary might not have taken our objections down.

So I go in, terrified because I don’t like being booed and hissed at and yelled at, and renew our objection. Apparently I’m out of order.

And Jenn Watts comes and tells us that we can’t hold a RUMP caucus because Hillary’s people are just looking for a violation so they can sue over the state. And since Obama’s leading in Texas we need to just take one for the team.

So fine. No RUMP. As we leave, we see Hillary’s lawyer (this blond Ann Coulter looking woman) and one of our delegates (who is black) smart mouths her and says “tell Hillary we said bye.”

She turns and says “I can’t wait for the African Americans to be out of this race.”

We were speechless. And angry. And I bet Hillary wouldn’t be too happy to hear that either.

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We all gave testimonials as to what happens and took down everyone’s name that should have been an alternate or a delegate. There was a real sense of camaraderie among us that was lacking of the Hillary people. Maybe it was because of our numbers or because we had organized before but I got the distinct feeling that no one really wanted to leave that day. So we all went and had lunch and beer and talked and planned and enjoyed each other.

Reflecting, I’m glad that we had prepared for the worst because the worst did happen. And it makes this city look bad and it hurts the Democratic Party. And although I realize that none of that was done in the spirit of Clinton’s campaign, I doubt my peers saw it that way.

Either way, it was something to remember. It’s all documented here and

~ by atypicalsnowman on April 1, 2008.

2 Responses to “Pandemonium, Politically Speaking”

  1. […] Wondering about the thinly veiled passive aggression?  See my blog post, Pandemonium, Politically Speaking.   […]

  2. I think this convention went great. Furthermore, the allegations made against the Hillary supporters are seriously with out merit and show the signs of sore loss. In all honestly Laredo Texas almost never had this many people show up to a County convention. That was the big thing…

    Democracy works with majority rule– we cannot turn our backs on our Democracy simply becaue we cannot except the preferences of the majority. I was very excited and impressed by the turn out. And you should be to.

    It’s a shame that for the first time Laredo does something to clense itself of its political apathy and the minority has to walk all over the victory achieved simply because of the math.

    The mast does not lie.

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