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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Clintonistas Ready For Their Date With the Washington Caucus

posted by on January 19 at 17:30 PM

Posted by Ryan S. Jackson


“It’s been a great day, but this contest is going to be decided state by state by state… what happens in the Washington caucus is going to count.”

King County Executive Ron Sims was speaking before a group of roughly 35 Hillary Clinton supporters who had turned out for this afternoon’s caucus training, held in a Machinists Union hall in the deepest regions of the South Park neighborhood. Those in attendance might have been getting over the fact that repairs to the South Park bridge had led to a twisting detour through south Seattle before arriving, but the room seemed drained of some of the energy you would expect from a group of people whose candidate had just won a hard-fought victory in Nevada.

Sims told me before going on that his wife had been in Nevada this morning organizing voters for Clinton, and that many of union voters had “utterly rebelled against the culinary union—they were tired of being told by anyone what to do.” The Culinary Union is the most prominent in Nevada and its endorsement of Obama was a major flashpoint in the caucus; it was interesting to hear a local politician get drawn into the national campaign narrative.

Jim Kainber, the buoyant high-level Washington organizer for Clinton, went on after Sims and took the group through the paces of the caucus process. Other speakers included powerful State Senator Margarita Prentice of Washington’s 11th District, who tailored her remarks to the now-familiar Clinton coalition of older voters and women voters. They responded to the question of, “How many of you have caucused before?” with a room full of raised hands.


The large group eventually broke up into “mock caucuses” by district; I decided to sit in on the 43rd, hoping to see the master strategy that would turn Capitol Hill into a Hillary Clinton bastion. The district Clinton co-chair seemed to be intent on having his district respond to some of the arguments that led to Barack Obama’s victory in Iowa: One of the group’s three young-ish voters made a remark about emphasizing Obama’s “present” votes in the Illinois senate, which was cut-off with a clipped, “I would stay away from anything that would appear negative.”

The co-chair also emphasized Obama’s success in asking voters to make him their caucus second choice, and encouraged Hillary’s caucus trainees to always be politely engaging about something they admire about Hillary rather than something they don’t about Obama. Given the youth demographics of the 43rd District, this seemed like a pretty sound strategy.

Before I left, I asked Jim Kainber whether there are official plans to match the Obama campaign’s decision to open an official Washington State office. He said he doesn’t think it will happen until after the caucus, and that the Clinton campaign is placing faith in aggressive phone banking with volunteers.

“The office is more of a psychological thing,” Kainber told me.

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Today someone from the Obama campaign doorbelled me.

Choices, choices - go with the campaign that got more delegates (Obama) or go with the one that has been involved in insider politics for 35+ years (Clinton).

Hmm, wonder how Edwards will do?

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 19, 2008 6:31 PM

hey we all love Obama but we all aren't drinking the kool aid -- Here's the delegate scorecard:

Clinton 210, Obama 123.

Posted by unPC | January 19, 2008 6:57 PM

How about going with the candidate who can grab independents and doesn't poll worse than the generic democrat in polls?

Posted by karst | January 19, 2008 7:18 PM

So are they training them on the same voter suppression tactics that Clinton's team used in Nevada?

Also, the Culinary Union's endorsement just became worthless. If you can't deliver the votes, why bother courting you?

Posted by Gitai | January 19, 2008 7:20 PM

I was there all day today. If it seemed low energy towards the end it was mainly because most of us were becoming tired after having called Nevada and Washington voters all morning... a 8 am start is early for a Saturday, but it worked! Go Clinton!

Posted by go clinton | January 19, 2008 7:29 PM


The problem with posting essentially the same exact thing on three separate threads (as you did regarding the delegate count) is that when your comment is found to be in fact incorrect (as yours was), you look 3x less credible.

Better luck next time!

Posted by Big Sven | January 19, 2008 7:35 PM

I was there too... by the end of the day there were about 70 people there!

And what's with the "suppression techniques" crap? Since when can you hold a caucus where it's most convenient for your candidate of choice? bullshit.

Posted by watcher | January 19, 2008 7:41 PM

@7--Watcher. Read what went down in NV. It's slimy and not befitting a Democrat. Of course, seeing that the Clintons are behind it doesn't surprise me. It's a shame, really.

Posted by Michigan Matt | January 19, 2008 7:58 PM

Whoops. Now the NV Dems are backtracking. WiS is probably right about the count.

Posted by Big Sven | January 19, 2008 7:59 PM

Yeah, you'd never think a campaign with an advisor who specializes in union busting would ever have anything to do with suppressing union vote. Gosh!

Posted by karst | January 19, 2008 8:05 PM

Of course Sen. Margarita Moneytree was there. Corrupt minds think alike.

Posted by Mike of Renton | January 19, 2008 8:24 PM

As far as I know, "Clintonista" was a term invented by Dick Morris about 8 years back. It's used by people who believe every trumped-up rumor about the Clintons, from Whitewater to gun-running. It doesn't really make me happy to see it here.

Posted by eclexia | January 19, 2008 8:42 PM

@3 Did you mean to link to the straw poll results?

Posted by Anon | January 19, 2008 8:47 PM

The spin is amazing.

Going to court -- to ask a judge if the voting system violates your rights -- is now "voter suppression techniques."

What sanctimonious bullshit.

Posted by unPC | January 19, 2008 8:48 PM

Nobody at my caucus site better try to pull that "present votes" bullshit. Lame! Maybe I'll photocopy and highlight this New York Times article just in case.

Posted by annie | January 19, 2008 8:53 PM


So filing a lawsuit is now "asking a judge"? Pot and kettle.

Posted by Mike of Renton | January 19, 2008 8:54 PM

Annie, I think the "present" votes bs might be the least of the problems.

Posted by Mike of Renton | January 19, 2008 8:58 PM

According to CNN's main website, Obama has 2 more delegates than Clinton on a national level.


Don't bring a knife to a gunfight.

Posted by Will in Fremont | January 19, 2008 9:46 PM

Total Delegates:
Clinton 210
Obama 123

Posted by Will is an Idiot | January 19, 2008 10:18 PM


What a bunch of fuckin' crybabies. I guarantee you, we Clinton supporters won't be such touchy grumpy douches if she loses in SC.

Posted by Big Sven | January 19, 2008 11:49 PM

Just to be clear: I'm not talking about annie or Will in Seattle or elenchos or any of the other sane people. I'm talking about the kind of oversensitive under-contextuals who would, for instance, quote the dailykos blog of a paranoid Obama supporter.

Posted by Big Sven | January 19, 2008 11:51 PM

Nice one Sven...

What is with Obama supporters and their inability to lose gracefully?

If you keep thinking you are winning, you'll continue to lose.

Posted by I heart Big Sven | January 20, 2008 9:44 AM

Hey Annie, maybe you should take a look at this snappy NY Times article (since you are so fond of "facts").

People that support people THINK they are actually voting for Bill Clinton (the return.)

I wish I could find an older poll (from the fall) that asked GOP voters who they supported and Obama placed 3rd or 4th with the GOP. If the Democrats are going to clearly win (remember there are more Katherine Harris & Ken Blackwell's out there), we will need the independents and Republicans that Obama will pull in. Clinton will NEVER have the support of the GOP base.

Posted by Shawn Fassett | January 20, 2008 2:08 PM

Yes, Jim Kainber is "buoyant".

(Hi, Jim, if you're reading this...)

Posted by michael strangeways | January 21, 2008 10:30 AM

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