I showed up at about 9AM for the 10AM caucuses for the 27th Precinct here in Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square, only to see a line with hundreds of people waiting to get registered and seated. By the time 10AM rolled around, the line was even longer. Thankfully, District Chair Jon Higley had thought ahead and scheduled the largest room he could find and afford, but it was still a tight pack.
Our precinct, 332, had 21 attendees. Of those, 6 were Ron Paul supporters, 6 were Santorum supporters, and 9 were Romney supporters (myself included.) The PCO was new at this, so the caucus allowed me to be the temporary chair. After meeting among themselves, the supporters decided to appoint 2 each from each of the three campaigns present, which went flawlessly. This was a suggestion by one of the Ron Paul supporters that was unanimously agreed to by the others. (If only a few more wives had shown up, we could have bulldozed a complete slate of Romney supporters.)
In a neighboring caucus, there was chaos. 2 Ron Paul supporters, 6 Santorum supporters and 9 Romney supporters had shown up, and they had no idea what they were doing. After they realized that it was the delegates, not the straw poll that mattered, they reset the elections and started again. What happened warmed my heart. The Santorum and Romney supporters decided to split the delegates, with twice as many for Romney as Santorum supporters. The elections went smooth, and the 2 remaining alternate seats were given to the Ron Paul supporters. (Some of the Romney supporters told me afterwards that in retrospect, they should’ve appointed all 6 as Romney supporters, and let the alternates fall where they may. I can’t disagree.)
Overall,Gingrich supporters were surprisingly absent. Santorum was an obvious 2nd place in our district. The support for Romney was overwhelming.
When disagreements did arise, it was clear that the Santorum supporters were willing to switch to Romney, and vice-versa. There was not a lot of love for Ron Paul. I imagine this is going to make a difference when the state convention is held. The votes are likely to switch from one to the other, and Ron Paul will not be able to get a single delegate from the whole affair. However, it was clear to all present that the young people were generally Ron Paul supporters. Those who made the phone calls saw results; those who didn’t learned what regret feels like. It was clear to all present that Ron Paul and his supporters were going to be a permanent fixture in the Republican Party, and we had better learn to get along.
What was surprising is how little we disagree with each other. I think Ron Paul has his priorities set a little different. While Ron Paul is bold about his non-interventionalist foreign policy, most of his supporters are more passionate about balancing the budget through spending cuts in entitlement programs and abolishing the Fed, something no one there disagreed with. At the end of the day, a lot of friendships were made, and people who had never seen a political process in person learned a lot of new things.
The delegates to the county convention will be asked to endorse certain candidates and will elect delegates to the state convention. The state convention will endorse state-wide candidates such as governor, and elect delegates to the national convention. I know this process is confusing, but this is republican government in action. This is the way it should be.
I received a phone call from my father who lives in the 30th District. They had reserved Lakota Middle School for their caucus, and had to turn people away because of the great excitement. Unfortunately, he left before being seated, so he did not know how his precinct voted. Knowing the nature of Federal Way, I can only assume that Romney ran away with that district, with Santorum in a somewhat close second. The remainder would be largely be Ron Paul supporters, with a handful who were supporting Gingrich.
A long time ago, Thomas Jefferson wanted to adopt the ideals of the great Anglo-Saxon culture, which was largely based off of the way Israel was organized before the kings took over. Every ten families elect a representative. Every fifty elected another representative, and every hundred yet another. Groups of one hundred were largely independent of one another, since they had 3 leaders (1 from a hundred and 2 from fifties), and 10 who formed a council. I can’t imagine any problem that can’t be solved by 100 families united in common cause to secure their liberty and prosperity.
Our precincts and caucuses are a reflection of that ancient system that was so effective at empowering the least among the people, and ensuring the benefit of all. Ideally, I imagine, a group of a hundred families would compose a precinct; roughly a hundred of them would compose a district. And a district would elect two men to represent them in the state house.