In just a few days, Minnesota will have its precinct caucuses. All the different political parties will caucus at exactly the same time, at different locations, by law, to make it difficult for some joker to go to more than one (which would be illegal, but nearly impossible to enforce).
At the caucus, we will do the following:
1) Vote our preference, within the party, for gubernatorial candidate. This is a “preference poll” of attending caucus members, and has no force or meaning other than perhaps to give a hint to the lowest level candidates that maybe they should step aside. By tradition, the gubernatorial candidates in Minnesota are selected in a primary held in the summer.
One interesting features of this practice is that the people who vote at the caucus may be very different than those who vote in the primary. Caucus goers are typically more serious activists, and primary goers are people who are not up at the lake. So, I expect the two sets to be similar in the city and in the lake districts, different in the suburbs, for example.
2) We will introduce resolutions. These resolutions will then be complied, culled, and cleaned up, by a committee and introduced at the Senate District Conventions (or County Conventions, as appropriate) later in the year, to be voted on. Eventually, some subset of the resolutions that are introduced will become part of the State party platform, then possibly the national platform.
3) We will elect among ourselves delegates to go on to the various state conventions, including the Senate District Convention, where we will consider candidates for state Senate and House, and the aforementioned resolutions, and the Congressional District Convention, where we will consider candidates for the US house, and other matters. Eventually there will be a State Party Convention for each party.
If someone wants to get involved in all of this, the best way to proceed is to attend the precinct caucus. If you are Minnesotan, find out what precinct you are in. Also, find out what building your caucus is in. Also, find out what room in that building your caucus is in, because you a) will need to know that and b) the method of finding out once you get to the caucus building is governed by Murphy’s Law. So, walk into the building with your precinct number room number written on your hand.
Then, try to be a delegate. It is not hard. The number of delegates allowed form each precinct at this level is large, often larger than the number who attend. Certainly, the number of delegates plus alternates is almost always larger. So you can be a delegate or an alternate.
However, first check your calendar. If you are absolutely planning to be out of town for the Senate District Convention, there is no reason to be a delegate because you won’t be here.
Also, if in your caucus fewer than the allowed number of people want to be a delegate, but some want to be alternates, let the alternates know that it doesn’t really work that way. If a precinct can have 20 delegates, and 10 people want to be delegates and 5 people agree to be alternates, and then those 15 people walk into the Senate District Convention, then sis-bam-boom, the alternates are instantly upgraded to delegate status.
The remainder of this post is just for Democrats. If you are a Republican and want to know more, I can’t help you.
People who want to caucus in Minnesota can find out what their precinct is HERE.
Click HERE to learn a bit more about the caucus process.