There’s no intention to mislead I’m sure, just a misunderstanding of particulars about how caucuses and primaries work in the Star Tribune article, 15 Democrats qualify for Minnesota’s presidential primary ballot. Specifically, readers could be misled by this bit into thinking there aren’t caucuses this year:
Minnesota dropped its presidential caucuses in favor of a primary election for 2020. It is one of more than a dozen states and jurisdictions selecting nominees on Super Tuesday, four weeks after caucusgoers in Iowa kick off the race for delegates. Early voting in Minnesota begins on Jan. 17.
No, the caucuses weren’t what was dropped. The DFL dropped the presidential ballot at the caucuses. It was a huge mess to try to essentially shove a primary’s worth of voters through an hour and a half of caucuses run by volunteers. So that part, just that part, got pushed off to the March 3rd primary.
The news media often treat picking a presidential candidate as the only thing that happens at caucuses, which is seriously wrong, at least in Minnesota. I don’t claim to know the details of other states’ caucuses. Unsurprisingly, as a candidate this time, it’s a big deal to me that my supporters understand that they need to go to the February 25th caucuses and get themselves elected as delegates to the senate district convention. If you are supporting me, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get yourself to your precinct’s caucus and get yourself elected. If you support someone else, nothing in particular is going on! Stay home and be comfy!
Obviously that’s not true. Much as I care mostly about the state house race, the caucuses pick delegates to as many as three conventions, depending on where you are. They pick precinct party officers, and start the process of considering resolutions to go into the state party platform.
Above all, caucuses are about party building, because in the course of deciding the things caucuses decide, attendees make face-to-face contact with other DFLers in their neighborhood. These are relationships we build on when we organize doorknocks, phonebanks, fundraisers, and tabling events. It’s how we have a base to build on each campaign, so we don’t have to start from scratch. So even if you’re supporting someone else, do go.
And then change your mind and support me.