As my Twitter handle might imply (@AnIowaTeacher), I am from Iowa. Last night, the eyes of the nation and many other countries fell on our little fly over state. It was Caucus Night 2016!
My wife and I have gone the last couple of times, but this year, our oldest daughter, a first timer, came with us! Yes, I am that old! 🙂
We arrived about 20 minutes early and found ourselves in the overflow room of our local courthouse. We sat and talked, watching other community members come in until it was our time to get the ground rules of the evening.
We caucused for Bernie Sanders, so we played by the Democratic rules of the evening. When we meet, we are able to talk about our candidate of choice, then we divide out based on our choices. If a candidate doesn’t have 15% of the people in the room, they are considered not viable, and those who were caucusing for them have the option of picking another candidate or going home. During this time, people who were with other groups can come and try to convince people to join their group. In 2008, I ended up caucusing for Hillary as those of us who were with John Edwards (why would I do that) didn’t reach that thresh hold.
Last night, we were divided into our townships, and our family joined a group, totaling out at 21 people. We had people speak for Bernie and Hillary, then divided out. There were 16 people who joined the Hillary group, and 5 of us for Bernie. That’s when things got weird. One man, who gave a pretty passionate speech for Bernie Sanders, then stepped into the Clinton group.
His rationale: He wanted Iowa Democrats to present a united front for the country and pick an electable candidate. In many polls, Sanders BEATS Trump soundly. For me, it is about picking and electable candidate too. Clinton has many, many bags of dirt to dig up. Plus, with the emails still not out of our sight line yet, I just don’t believe she can govern effectively while battling those problems. Now, Sanders is hardly perfect either, with some economic plans that will cause a huge drag on the economy. Neither candidate has talked about K-12 education or how they’ll deal with spending or debt, all very important topics to me.
Either way, there ended up four of us who stayed with Sanders, as my wife said, “I’m tired of just voting against Republicans. I want to vote for something I believe in.” I couldn’t have been more proud of her saying something like that, and she earned some respect of those in attendance.
All in all, the experience is one that is great. I love the fact that we talk issues, look each other in the face, and have these conversations. As we talk about making connections in education, the process like this certainly does so.
Afterwards, I took to Twitter and enjoy tweeting out different stats I found online or as I was watching the news. The news/political geek in me wished we had cable as I know the talking heads went at it way into the night. As it were, I found some good conversations with the other political geeks who were up too.
Finally, knowing that Sanders lost about 0.2%, is a case where I’ll talk with my kids tomorrow about the fact that their vote does matter. I like to think that our family got one of votes that helped keep Sanders right there.
Either way, I encourage you to be part of the process. If you don’t, you lose that chance to complain! 🙂