Every two years, all Democrats are called to caucus. Caucus may seem like domain of party insiders but caucus is a grand American tradition that gives all Democrats an opportunity to become politically active by choosing candidates and influencing the direction of the party.
Some say the tradition of caucus is uniquely American originating from the Algonquian term for a gathering of chiefs. The term can be found in the writing of John Adams prior to the American Revolution. The word caucus dredges up images of smoke filled rooms where candidates are pre-selected for public office, but the truth of the modern Democratic caucuses is far from that image. At caucus, candidates are selected to run for office and the conversations about who should run for an office are some of the most thoughtful, important conversations had in our political process. Colorado Democrats are proud of our great caucus tradition that brings neighbors together and has selected many of the presidential candidates of past years. No one will ever forget the fun and importance of the 2008 Super Tuesday Caucus where President Barack Obama began his march towards his historic win. However, one may ask, in a mid- term year where there is no contested race, what is the importance of attending caucus?
Caucus marks the beginning of the even-year election cycle and is your best opportunity to become involved in the political process. At caucus, you can become a Precinct Committee Person, an election judge or a delegate to the assembly. With representatives from the campaigns available at most locations, you can get in on the ground floor of the campaign of your choice. It has become vogue recently in America to distance oneself from the political process, to not vote, to not pay attention. Bill Maher said in his book, When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism “Freedom isn't free. It shouldn't be a bragging point that "Oh, I don't get involved in politics," as if that makes you somehow cleaner. No, that makes you derelict of duty in a republic. Liars and panderers in government would have a much harder time of it if so many people didn't insist on their right to remain ignorant and blindly agreeable.” Many in Douglas County learned that the hard way and with so much money pouring into politics today it is incumbent on us more than ever to continue to be involved and not just by voting but by helping our chosen candidates (at all levels) win their elections.
President Obama said in his 2012 victory speech that “Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won't change….And it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter – the chance to cast their ballot.” So if you think the President is wrong on education, needs to ban fracking or you want the Democratic Party to be stronger on an issue or change direction on a policy, caucus gives you what might be the only opportunity to have your voice heard and to have your beliefs become a part of the party platform. These are the messy, complicated conversations we must have and caucus is the best place to have those conversations.
We often speak of our civic duty as voting but really our civic duty in our republic is to ensure that we find the very best people to represent us, help them get elected and then tell them how to represent us. Caucus is the first step in process. Caucus is your best chance to meet your neighbors, discuss issues, influence the direction of the party and become truly involved in the political process. So I ask again, do you caucus?
Caucus is Tuesday March 4th at 7:00pm at 16 locations around Douglas County.
Visit www.DouglasDemocrats.org/caucus to get all the information regarding caucus and find your where your caucus will be held.