posted by February 9 at 9:37 AMon
It’s your turn, Seattle: Should Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama be the next Democratic nominee for President of the United States of America? But first, a word from the OED:
[Arose in New England: origin obscure.
Alleged to have been used in Boston U.S. before 1724; quotations go back to 1763. Already in 1774 Gordon (Hist. Amer. Rev.) could obtain no ‘satisfactory account of the origin of the name’. Mr. Pickering, in 1816, as a mere guess, thought it ‘not improbable that caucus might be a corruption of caulkers’, the word “meetings” being understood’. For this, and the more detailed statement quoted in Webster, there is absolutely no evidence beyond the similarity of sound; and the word was actually in use before the date (1770) of the event mentioned in Webster. Dr. J. H. Trumbull (Proc. Amer. Philol. Assoc. 1872) has suggested possible derivation from an Algonkin word cau´-cau-as´u, which occurs in Capt. Smith’s Virginia 23, as Caw-cawaassough ‘one who advises, urges, encourages’, from a vb. meaning primarily ‘to talk to’, hence ‘to give counsel, advise, encourage’, and ‘to urge, promote, incite to action’. For such a derivation there is claimed the general suitability of the form and sense, and it is stated that Indian names were commonly taken by clubs and secret associations in New England; but there appears to be no direct evidence.]
Let’s review the rules:
—You must attend a caucus today at 1 pm if you want your vote to count. The results of the primary will be completely ignored by the Democratic Party.
—You do not have to be registered to vote yet, and you need not have your address updated. If you will be at least 18 in November, and are otherwise eligible to vote, you can register to vote or change your address at your caucus site. It’s a good idea to print out this PDF and bring it to your site in case they run out. Note: If you’ve moved recently, you can also caucus with your old neighborhood.
—You may bring kids.
—You do not need to stay the whole time. Your initial sign-in and stated presidential preference will count toward the final delegate allocation. This is a change since 2004, so it’s a good idea to talk to somebody in charge (your PCO) and let them know you have to leave early.
If you are signing in as Uncommitted or Mike Gravel, you may be wondering about viability. This year, there is no absolute 15% cutoff, but—depending on the number of delegates your precinct has (determined by the number of Kerry votes in the 2004 general election) and the number of people who show up this afternoon—there is an implicit cutoff, below which your candidate will not get a delegate. You can try to do the math yourself, but because of the way the system deals with fractional delegates, it’ll be inexact. Ask your PCO sweetly whether it looks like your group will get a delegate. You will have a chance to switch after the speeches.
To find your caucus site, see the below. Dan is at Stevens, by the way; stop telling him otherwise.