Sunday, I went to my first meeting since becoming a precinct leader last Tuesday at the Colorado caucuses. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I feel like a learned a lot, mostly about what to be prepared for for next time. I thought I’d share some thoughts for those who have never been involved in the Republican party machine before, like me.
This was a division meeting, so it involved 8 precincts with 2 leaders each.
Some things that happened:
1. No one explained to me what this meeting was about, what we were planning on doing at it, or how often this division meets. I was only given the date and time and location.
2. After getting things started with the pledge and such, our state representative spoke for the “establishment” candidates. A few of the candidates for county positions were there and spoke for themselves. The other candidates were left out. No one spoke for them, no one was asked if they would like to speak for them. By the time I realized this, the time to act had past. Next time, if I have a candidate like Ken Buck that I would like to support, I will come early, see if there is someone to speak for them, and if not, I will do it. BUT, I would have had to ASK. And I would have had to be prepared to speak.
3. We get ready to elect people to the state assembly and no one has bothered to mention where it is, when it is, how long it lasts, and what the delegates will actually be doing, etc. I had to ask about EVERYTHING.
4. Nine people were nominated to be state delegates and we were then instructed to pick five to actually go. After about 20 seconds of people feverishly writing down names, I asked how we were supposed to select between people when I didn’t know any of them, and didn’t know which candidates they were intending to support. The leader looked a little embarrassed and then instructed each person to speak for themselves about why they thought they should go to the state assembly. BUT, I had to ASK.
5. When I did ask, not a single person said that they were supporting anyone but the establishment candidates, so I felt like I didn’t really have much of a choice between the delegates. This, even though another candidate (Ken Buck) received 50% of the vote in our precinct caucus the previous Tuesday. If I had known this, I would have nominated myself as a delegate. (Of course at this point it was too late as the nominations had been closed.) Instead I supported the few people who said they were still open to hearing more about the candidates.
6. After selecting the delegates, we selected the alternates. Knowing a little bit more at this point, I immediately nominated myself. No one ask me to tell about myself or who I wanted to support. We just voted.
7. After this the meeting was over, no one told me when or how I would receive more information on the county or state assemblies. I know they have my personal information, but so far I have no information about the county convention that is in two weeks, besides the date.
1. This meeting lasted 2 hours, for what could easily have been done in one if it was more organized.Many of the couples there sounded like they just wanted to go to the assembly for a weekend getaway.
2. There was NO discussion of the candidates, their records, history, or anything else among the precinct leaders.
3. Most of the people there were over 65 years old. It’s not that I don’t appreciate that they have been doing this for a long time and are committed to the party, but if we don’t get some younger people involved too, we are going to be in trouble in a few years.
4. Most of the people there were very nice, but seemed happy to vote for whoever they were told to vote for.
5. There is such a lack of organization and information that I am ASTOUNDED by it.
I’m so glad I became a precinct leader, a county delegate, and a state alternate. I feel like I am learning from each of these experiences how to be involved and prepared for the next time. I wish I didn’t feel like I had to beg for every crumb of information. But, now that I know more, I will be recruiting others for next time.
AND…a big THANK YOU to ColdWarrior for getting me started on this journey. I plan to be around for a long time.