The Texas caucuses exemplify all that is wrong with the process

Forget the New Mexico primary. The Texas caucuses have to be considered the cycle's most absurd election. For one, the state was entirely unprepared to face the massive turnout yesterday: Some caucuses started hours late, others were simply too crowded to allow everyone in the room. And now, 36 hours after the caucuses started, only 41% of precincts have reported their total, putting Obama ahead 56% to 44%.

Most media outlets are now ready to estimate the delegate split and give the caucuses to Obama by a large margin based on these early results, under the assumption that the 40% that are in are representative of the state at large. But there is no reason to believe that to be the case, quite the contrary: 76% of Travis County (Austin) has reported, and 48% of Dallas County, and 45% of Tarrant County (Fort Worth), all Obama strongholds and all above the statewide percentage of precincts reporting (41%). Austin's numbers are especially important, given how many voters there are there, so that 76% of precincts reporting will significantly distort the results.

To make matters worse, TPM is now reporting that we might never know the results of the Texas caucuses! Here's why: The county caucuses elect delegates for the district convention which elect delegates for the state convention which elect delegates for the DNC convention. Complicated enough, but that's pretty much the same as in any other caucus. But the difference is that the caucuses "weren't required to report to the state party headquarters. The results that have come in came from a voluntary system set up in order to help the media get an idea of what to expect the final delegate result to be!" So every caucus will just send its delegates to the district convention without ever telling the press or anyone who it is sending?!

In other words, we might never know how the remaining 59% of precincts voted, and as I said before we're talking about a smaller portion of an Obama stronghold like Austin.

Now, other reports are indicating that Texas Party is responding that it simply wants accurate reports and is taking its time -- not that it won't release the results at all. If anything, this just confirms how chaotic Tuesday night was at these voting places. And if TPM's report is true, the Texas Party won't even have to divulge its results publicly: their results could be as unreliable and chaotic as the process was, but there would be little we could to do hold them accountable.

For all it's worth, estimations have Obama gaining 7 delegates out of the caucuses based on the results we have right now, which would mean he gets 3 more delegates than his rival out of the entire Texas process. Overall, that would mean Clinton only got a net 8 delegates out of March 4th. But as I said, I want to see more of an indication of how Texas caucuses are shaping out.



  • I was in Texas, they folks who run the Caucuses are required to submit the packets with the results of the precincts within 72 hours after completion.

    The way the caucuses were ran were ridiculous, the rules are so crazy and makes the process so complicated. It needs to be simplified and done similarly to the Iowa caucus, it would of ran much more smoothly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 06 March, 2008 13:57  

  • The Texas Caucus is a joke. One vote per person, not the ability to vote twice if you stay up late enough.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 06 March, 2008 19:27  

  • You need to search for the videos of the shananigans and intimidation that went on at these caucuses in Texas. There are videos!!!! Now I know why Obama does well in a caucus someone should warn WYOMING

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 06 March, 2008 20:08  

  • Stay up late - I hardly class 7:15pm as late!

    Hillary has won caucuses and said on her Texas ads that caucusing was easy. So she cannot have it both ways. If her supporters cannot be bothered to vote then so be it. Also caucusing helps build the Democratic party - but then Hillary and Bill have shown they only care for themselves and not the greater good of the party - remember triangulation and the enactment of GOP policies in the '90s (welfare "reform", defence of marriage act and NAFTA).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 06 March, 2008 20:20  

  • How is it to assume that Obama had anything to do with the intimidatioin at the Texas caucuses. Caucuses are held in other states as well.Would there be blame against Obama if there was chaos in Ohio or any other state that hold caucuses. Obama has basically been accused of cheating in the caucus in Texas. It is so easy to believe wrong of someone rather than to believe in that person. Hillary is upset because the caucus is going in the way of the Obama campaign. The Hillary crue needs to get their facts straight before making accusations. You can not blame Obama for the short comings of other people. I am from Texas and the caucus that I attended was held at 7:15. As far as intimidation is concerned, regardless, a person knows who they are voting for and should stick to what they believe in and vote accordingly. Don't place judgement on someone, it is a sin according to God, and most of us call ourselves Christians. Now that's a joke.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 06 March, 2008 20:33  

  • The Texas Caucus was just not very well planned or executed. What frightens me is that everything - absolutely everything is on paper. And everything must be verified and re-verified. Obviously a secured process is needed that we can count on but the sheer numbers of people interested in the democratic process shouldn't be mired down in complexity. Maybe certain voters like "the old way" I frankly thought it was bad when I was a delegate 20 years ago - but I am again a county delegate and things are crazy - I mean things were nuts up here in Plano, TX where I participated in a caucus. The state of Texas needs to participate in something approaching common sense.

    By Blogger Kevin Handy, At 06 March, 2008 21:56  

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