January 19, 2008

Live Blogging from the Incline Village, Nevada, Democratic Caucus

Live Blogging from Washoe County Precinct 8108, Incline Village, Nevada. 11 A.M., January 19th, 2008.

10:45. It's a bright sunny day in Incline Village, the town of my childhood. There's several feet of icy snow everywhere. All the Republicans were leaving the high school as we were arriving, so it's a zoo here, with a few sarcastic remarks as the Democrats were filing in at twenty till 11. Precinct 8108 comprises the hills to the West of town, including Lower Tyner & Saddlehorn Drive, where I grew up. There are a ton of people still lined up to get in the High School Multipurpose Room, where I used to rehearse musical theater when I was twelve - making it surreal for me to be in this room. (I was once John in Peter Pan, so my Obama campaign songs are mixing in my head with "I'm flying! Flying! Flying!".) I've signed in as an observer, & amazingly, there are so many observers that we overflow the section set aside for us. I'm typing this up on a tiny green OLPC (One Laptop Per Child), a cute little thing with a tiny keyboard & a limited children's interface. They run for about a $100, & my parents bought two, which donates two others to under-priveleged kids. They are temporarily no longer for sale until they fix some things in the interface.

11:00. The coffee is pretty bad. It lacks any robust undertones & has a weak body. I had expected better of the North Lake Tahoe Democrats.

11:30. Nothing seems to be happening. People are schmoozing & reading the various initiatives & resolutions. I've spent the last half hour wrestling with this weird little computer. My father is better at campaigning for tiny children's laptops than for politics. I have to say, there are a lot of Obama pins.

11:40. Precinct 8110 (Crystal Bay) is in this room too, to make it more confusing, & they only get one delegate. They're just going to raise their hands to vote.

11:45. Donna reads a nice statement from Harry Reid, our Democratic Senator, which says he'll be caucusing in Searchlight, Nevada, today, where he is from. He stresses the importance of getting a Democrat in the White House, & mentions Yucca Mountain, an issue where Hillary has an upper hand over Obama (who has taken money from Nuclear Power.) Last chance to go to the bathroom before they close the doors.

12:10. Crystal Bay has voted. 9 for Clinton, 2 for Edwards, & 18 for Obama, so their delegate will be for Obama. Loud cheers. They get to go home first because someone was paying a babysitter - small town politics.

12:30. I should have worn my Jefferson wig, this really feels like old school democracy. She's counting how many caucus attendees there are by counting raised hands. They were expecting 44 people, & she counted 104. Incline Village is a transient, snow-bird community, so this is exciting. 12:33, people are moving into their different corners of the room. If you don't know, a candidate must have 15% of the room to be "viable" in the second round.

12:45. This cute little laptop is attracting a lot more attention than I expected or wanted. It's like bringing a puppy to the caucuses, I feel like a salesman.

First Round. Hillary - 33; Barack - 59. Neither Edwards nor Kucinich are viable! A couple of people are making twenty second speeches to convince the non-viable corners. Looks like they're splitting up pretty evenly.

1:00. Second Round. Barack Obama - 65; Hillary Clinton - 38; Uncommitted - 1. My mother (an emeritus maths professor) went up to make sure they did the math right - three delegates to Obama, two to Hillary. Now they're calling in the results on speaker phone. "You have to figure out amongst yourselves who gets to be your delegates."

1:10. My mother is complaining that the Obama people are sending "only white men" as delegates. But, there's really only white people here (not much diversity up in the lake-view Tahoe houses). People are trying to leave, but Donna is yelling "you're not released!"

1:15. A few resolutions are handed in. "If there is no further business, this caucus is now adjourned." Let's go get lunch.


Brains said...

I see he won Washoe County. Nice work, James! Now hurry up and register in Berkeley so you can vote in the Feb 5 primary. (Dear communist refugee parents, please forgive my undemocratic suggestion.)

ß&dragon said...

I am registered in Berkeley, & have already voted at the Green Party Presidential Debates. I was only in Incline Village as an "observer" - live blogging, I was sort of the press, using fancy children's media technology. Hillary, of course, won the state.

Bubbler said...

Is that the type of laptop that you have to hand crank for power?

pcmaven said...

Dear O!

The "One Laptop per Child" OLPC XO-1 laptop was originally designed to cost $100, but the cost today is $188. The Give One Get One (G1G1) program allowed us to donate one to a child for $200 and get one for $200 plus $25 shipping, for a total of $425.