I could describe how I left a long line to walk a sand wedge distance to get a Dr. Pepper at Brahms; and how a 70 year old lady decided she would go with me; and how she tasted 4 different flavors of ice cream before ordering a single scoop of vanilla; before changing her mind and ordering a soft serve vanilla yogurt cone. I could describe how the elapsed time to complete and pay for her order was a full 10 minutes, during which I waited and drank almost all my Dr. Pepper, as I could not let her walk alone back through the darkness to the original point from which the sand wedge would've been launched. But I won't describe that.
Instead, I will describe how incompetent the Texas Democratic Party is to have conceived a primary system which amounts to hazing their own Democratic voters. Republicans just voted and went home. All Republican voters were gone by 7:00 PM, when polls closed. I was about 10th from the end of the Dem line(foolishly reasoning I wanted to be late so I could vote and caucus all in one trip). I didn't cast my vote until 7:40 PM: Hillary Clinton! Oh yeah!
Now, as I cast my vote, there were maybe 400 people standing in lines, in the moderate cold, waiting to caucus in a "Texas Two Step" in which your vote only counts as 2/3 of a vote, and your caucus vote counts as 1/3 of a vote. After voting, I was shuffled out a back door, from whence I circled through a parking lot and came back around to the front to join the caucus line, which is when a woman walked up with a drink from Brahms, which is when me and the 70 year old lady began our ice cream flavor adventure. I think the lady tasted different flavors so she could make that scoop of vanilla stretch into a full dinner for her - as well as a pageant of adventure, since maybe she doesn't get out of her house much.
So, the voting people clear out of the voting room. The Democrat Party people come in and set up 5 or so tables - each of which is designed to collect caucus votes for one of the 5 different precincts which vote at this polling place. I had to remember my precinct number: 1167. The caucus room would hold maybe 175 densely packed people. There were 400 people standing in the cold, and another 30 Dem Party people milling ineffectively around the inside of the tiny caucus room.
We were herded around like cattle. People tried, valiantly, and on their own, to form into 5 lines according to their precinct numbers. The Dem Party people were totally overwhelmed, and were at any rate incapable of organizing anything more complicated that a modest children's birthday party. The idea was that we would squeeze into the building and actually do no more than re-vote, via writing our name, address, voter card number, and candidate of our choice(written out by us: C-l-i-n-t-o-n). The guy behind me in line for an hour just fell in love with me; but he supported Obama. When I wrote Clinton on my caucus sheet, he was looking directly at it. I sneaked a sideways peek. He was devastated. As I left, he dispiritedly bid me goodbye. I left at almost 9:00PM. There were about 40 people still trying to cast their caucus votes.
The rest of the story involves what Dem Primary Caucus voters talk about as they are herded around for 90 minutes. The main thing they talk about is "the stolen election of 2000." They've never seen anything so blatantly unfair in their lives. I overheard 4 different conversations or exclamations about the "stolen election."
And here, I have to say this: Democratic Primary voters are tremendously misinformed and uninformed people. The contrast with Republican voters is striking and notable. Around me were mostly middle class, lower end white collar workers. They were some of the most misinformed, uninformed people I've ever eavesdropped in on. Everything's a conspiracy with them, and the Repubs and Bush are behind it. Two different people thought we voters were standing in the cold b/c of a Republican plot. It made no sense that Repubs merely voted and went home - no muss no fuss. It made no sense that the Texas Democratic Party would intentionally haze their own voters. It had to be a Republican plot, since Republicans control politics in Texas.
Florida 2000 was a conspiracy. American voting is dangerously unmonitored, especially as Repubs are known to steal votes at will. I helpfully pointed out that we Dems are huge vote fraud offenders, and that the only people convicted of voter misdoings in 2004 were Dems from Milwaukee, and that in fact Wisconsin was very possibly stolen for John Kerry in 2004 in Milwaukee. Completely blank stares all around, from about 10 people in our conversational group. Does...not...compute.
McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. McCain, to get retribution, is probably going to bomb Vietnam if he is elected. It's no fun to vote in general elections in Texas, because Republicans always win. It didn't used to be that way! Democrats used to win in this state! Those were the good old days. Knowing nods all around. Long discussion finally determines that Bill Clinton never won Texas. Therefore, the last time Texas voted for a Dem was Jimmy Carter, in 1976. (I've no idea if that is correct or not.)
Woman tells story: Went to her stockbroker in 2004. Broker was explaining how the market would break out, and the Dow would go up, immediately when Bush was re-elected. Therefore, she and her husband should shift money into common stock now, so they could enjoy the rise in value of their stock immediately after Bush was re-elected. She says, "So my husband got mad. He said to our broker: 'What if Kerry is elected!' And the broker looks right at him and says: 'Then God help us all!'" Knowing nods all around the group: What else can you expect? He was a stock-broker! They're all Republicans. Unh huh. I know that's right!
More conversation around me:
Hillary just won't be denied. The woman just keeps coming. She ain't playin. She thinks she can railroad Barack. That's why I'm staying late to vote for Barack, cause Hillary can't railroad me. Republicans are crossing over to vote for Hillary. "Why?", I ask, "Do they dislike Barack?" No! Repubs are AFRAID of Barack! They think he will beat McCain. Buuut, lots of commenters are saying McCain will win in November. Knowing nods all around. I think to myself: These people are accustomed to their candidate getting beat. But, they say, if we made it through 8 years of Bush, we can make it through anything! Nothing could be as bad as Bush! Haw haw haw haw haw.
Then, we finally caucus voted, and we took our conspiracy theories home to the warmth of our homes.