Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Central Austin turnout through the roof at my precinct - Don't forget to support corrections resolutions at precinct conventions tonight

When I worked on electoral campaigns professionally, I always voted early so I'd have election day to help out whatever campaign(s) for which I was working.

Since I left that profession, though, I've made it a point to always vote on election day proper, partially because I'm a traditionalist (or as Kathy says, a curmudgeon) who's stuck in my ways, but also to gauge turnout, chat with the election workers, and participate in the rituals of the democratic process.

Today at my precinct (#126 in central East Austin), more people voted by 3:30 p.m. (340) than sometimes vote all day in that precinct in a November election. I waited about a half hour in line to vote, and I'd say about 30-40% of the folks there (a lot more racially mixed bunch than was my precinct 15 years ago, incidentally) were planning to go to the caucuses this evening, from the conversations I had.

If you're attending your precinct-level caucuses this evening, don't forget to print out 5 copies each of the resolutions here:
Just speak with the chair before the meeting starts, give that person four copies of each resolution (and keep one so you can argue for it if need be during the meeting), then see if you can get your fellow convention participants to agree. Use this as an open thread to report back whether your precinct supported one of both of the resolutions.


Anonymous said...

OK, I got the TYC resolution passed at my local precinct.

Anonymous said...

Both Grits resolutions passed with no objection in Precinct 402, S. Austin.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Cool, thanks folks. Both resolutions passed in my precinct, too - #126 in Austin.

An amazing 600 people showed up for the precinct convention - more than usually VOTE in the general. 85% were for Obama, FWIW, who got 46 of the precincts 54 delegates.

Anonymous said...

PCT. 4051 in Bexar passed the jail over-crowding resolution. Dennis won his primary by 59%. We had about 150 people at the convention -- me and one other guy were the only ones there who had ever attended before. It was a blast. We did have some fights and other crazy stuff at some precints last night, but that's nothing new for San Antonio.

Anonymous said...

Grits, I hope you'll pardon an election question that's a bit off the subject.

Can anyone explain why Latino voters love Hillary Clinton so much? Like in Cali, they voted 3-1 for her.

I know some of the usual explanations, but they just don't quite help me understand these margins.


Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bill, I can't speak for CA but I have a few theories about it in TX.

I believe part of it boils down to historic divisions between blacks and Latinos. Often historically (though less often today) one seat at the table at the Lege committee, the city council, etc., would be dubbed the minority seat, and the two groups would just have to fight it out. Campaigns in many Texas cities for majority-minority districts are racially divided and quite hostile, notoriously so in Austin and especially Dallas, but really everywhere.

Also, Hillary has surprisingly deep roots and contacts here among establishment Latino Ds that go back many years to the Clintons fundraising for his Arkansas electoral runs and before.

Another thing, when I worked campaigns I always found messages of economic opportunity appealed to Latino audiences, which makes them sometimes vulnerable to local Chamber candidates, etc. Her husband led 8 years of prosperity, and that's a pretty concrete thing compared to pretty words spoken in your second language.

Finally, in general (not just Latinos), I think a lot of old-school Dems get a little edgy at some of the vacuous Obama support. Hillary didn't look good mocking him, but it was true. You can't override a GOP filibuster with a pretty speech.

FWIW, I also think Hillary's a great candidate, I just think she's potentially vulnerable in November for reasons beyond her control. If she weren't the only possible thing that could bring out the far right base for McCain (and the polls reflect it), I think she's the superior candidate based on resume and record.

My hope is that whoever wins, they run as a ticket.

justme said...

Both Grits resolutions passed "as is" at Precinct 113,in Pflugerville. I stayed until 12:20 am to present them.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Thank you, justme! I'm truly honored that something produced here would inspire you to sit through all that.

I didn't realize beforehand what I was asking of people! The last precinct convention I went to, there were five people there, and two were me and my wife.

Anonymous said...

PCT 307 in Kingsland, Llano Co. passed both Grits Resolutions.

Kingsland is an unincorporated, largely retirement community, population around 6000. Heavily Republican and conservative.

The only verbal opposition came from a woman who said she was previously employed by Corrections Corporation of America. She opposed prison & jail diversion "because too many drug dealers would slip through the cracks & they are considered non-violent." There were 8 votes against it. The TYC resolution passed unanimously. The Hutto reform resolution also passed unanimously.

73 people attended, although many left before the resolutions were introduced & of the remainder some did not vote. There was an even 50/50 split for Obama & Clinton. At the last caucus, 4 attended.

In local Republican races, both long-time incumbent Llano Co. Sheriff Nathan Garrett & neighboring Burnet Co. Sheriff Joe Pollock were defeated. Pollock was resented by many in the area for his support of Burnet's proposed new private/public jail. Both winners campaigned as being tough on crime & able to eliminate meth labs.

Anonymous said...

Grits, obviously I respectfully disagree about Hillary vs Obama, although I appreciate your answer to my question.

I'm still much too angry/disgusted about yesterday's results to argue rationally so I'll stop here...


Gritsforbreakfast said...

Wow, Bill, angry and disgusted? That's a lot more emotional energy than I can work up on a national politician's behalf!

I'd be happy voting for either candidate against John McCain. (For me him running is like a back to the bad old days moment. I cut my teeth as an investigative reporter on the Savings and Loan crisis in the late '80s, and he was one of the Keating 5.) I just think Obama has a better chance to win. Some of Obama's more passionate supporters, though, touting his candidacy as a messianic crusade, personally can turn me off, and I'd be surprised if I'm alone in that.

Amerloc said...

Both resolutions passed by acclamation at Williamson #427. Truth be told, I didn't care enough about the national candidates to go to the caucus, but those resolutions made enough sense that I had to go and make sure they were introduced. Thank you for putting them together.

Of course, I'm glad I went. Was a good time spent with Williamson County dems (who knew there were that many, let alone in one precinct... ?)

Anonymous said...


Who can forget the S&L debacle, we're still paying for it. (BTW, for a laugh, check out a blog site called the Las Vegas Gleaner. The guy is hilarious and runs a mug shot of Abe Simpson next to posts about McCain).

I'm guessing that the "vacuous" "messianic" Obama supporter you reference is Kirk Watson?:) Ugh.

I'm sure you know as much as I do, if not more, about all 3 remaining candidates. I must protest that my decision is based on rational, not emotional, calculations. I'll summarize:

1. His record of actual accomplishments, in the form of legislation and community organizing work, is equally and in some cases far more substantial than hers. An obvious example is health care, which she bungled so badly in the 90s as to set reform back for a generation... yet now she claims it as an accomplishment.

2. Strategically, he has run a far better campaign with a better ground game in all 50 states. He will have longer coat-tails and therefore might be able to actually pass good legislation in Congress.

3. She almost certainly will not beat McCain, unless he totally implodes. If she wins the nomination by going negative, most Obama voters will not vote for her, many will just go back to ignoring politics altogether as the realm of self-absorbed dorks like Tracy Flick (to whom Hillary's actually been compared!). With the "3AM" ad she's headed for Mondale territory, and we all know how that turned out in November 1984.

4. My impression of Obama's political career is that he is a pragmatist not an ideologue, and much more tough-minded in negotiating with other pols than the Clintons ever were. A good example of this was the criminal justice work he did in Illinois, with which I know you're familiar. I think these qualities will allow him to excel at diplomacy. His position on Cuba, to take one example, is far superior to hers, which is a carefully parsed version of the standard Bush-McCain line.

5. This gets to what I view as the major philosophical distinction between them: triangulation versus hard-nosed pragmatism. There is a difference between triangulation, in which one co-opts an opponent's position to win elections and spin cycles, and tough negotiating, in which you begin from your own actual position and work to bring the other side as close to your view as possible without giving away the store - as the Clintons did on many, many issues in the 90s.

There are thoughtful Obama supporters out there, Grits, who don't expect "the sky to open up" but are sick of wallowing in the runny diarrhea that has been our national politics for most of our lifetimes, which the Clintons and the Bushes absolutely embody.

Until the last week I had entertained the idea that Obama might be the Democrats' Reagan - a Teflon figure capable of winning broad support for long overdue policies pigeon-holed as "extreme" - my bitter disappointment is that it wasn't a Republican who ripped off the coating, but a Democrat.

This post is going way too long, so I'll stop...!


Gritsforbreakfast said...

"my bitter disappointment is that it wasn't a Republican who ripped off the coating, but a Democrat."

Welcome to Texas politics, amigo! You don't get to show up here and play the game without getting your nose bloodied. Better now than in November, right?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

And btw, I know there are thoughtful Obama supporters out there. I voted for him myself. But I'm just admitting I'm turned off a little by the messianism surrounding the campaign. Then, I'm too cynical, been disappointed too many times.

I've heard too many politicians tell their supporters their campaign is a "movement." It's not, even if it feels like it. It's a campaign to promote one politician's career ambitions, at the end of the day. That is all. Elections are nothing but extended job interviews.

If the same emotional and political energy were applied to issues over time instead of a candidate every now and again, THEN we'd have a movement. best,

Gritsforbreakfast said...

One more thing: Amerloc, I'm really flattered these resolutions would inspire you to attend your precinct convention when you otherwise wouldn't. I really didn't know I was getting people into an all-nighter!