Dallas County Missouri Caucus Observations - March 17, 2012
by Mike Smith on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 2:01pm ·
Today I went to the Dallas County Missouri Republican Caucus. We had 109 people show up and try to participate in the process. The Republican Central Committee Chairman started the process and we elected a Caucus President and went through the motions of the other positions. It was all done very quickly with no debate. A Rules Committee was formed and three people appointed to it by the Caucus President, saying the rules allowed for that.Then while the Rules Committee were formulating the rules the Caucus President proceeded to tell us that we were told that we would not be selecting delegates to vote for a specific GOP candidate and that the 7 delegates we would select would all be non-binding. We were told that this was state GOP rules and we didn't have a say in the matter.
Seven delegates were then all nominated at once, with an immediate 2nd motion and the person making the 2nd motion calling for an end of nomination at that point. A Point of Order was immediately called after that, but the Caucus President refused to recognize him. The President then did a voice vote and declared the 7 delegates as being selected after verbal ayes and nays. Another call was made to require a specific tally of that vote, but the Caucus President declared that it was definitive enough and that was pretty much it.
Our 7 delegates were selected as all non-binding and no debate whatsoever on any GOP candidate. At that point there really was no mention of any GOP candidate's name. Motions were made to try and get the delegates to declare who they were "leaning towards" and several 2nds were received. Yet they reiterated that the delegates were all non-binding and that many of them didn't know yet who they would support ... even on the day of the caucus. I don't know that I have ever been more disappointed in our governmental process. They then went into the GOP Draft Platform. The Caucus President proposed that they didn't need to read them (12 pages worth). Some asked a specific question or two that were addressed, but one question asked the Caucus President his opinion of the matter. He then proceeded to talk about how change wasn't good, that we had a candidate who ran on change (referencing Obama), and that changed didn't work out so good. It was fairly clear to me at that point that there wasn't any real intent to debate the GOP Platform and it was pretty much accepted as is.
Several members of the crowd started asking questions about the delegates: how they would vote, who were they leaning towards, how was this a representative process, what do you mean we're not going to talk about the candidates, etc. It was actually said by the Caucus President and others that if people wanted to be involved and a part of the process then they needed to start attending the Dallas County Republican Central Committee. This completely ignored the fact that the caucus process itself is designed to take into account all county residents who are registered to vote and declare themselves as Republicans. It was designed to run so quickly with motions, seconds, and motions to end debate that there was absolutely no chance for a deliberative process where debate was encouraged. Many of the crowd sat there with dumbfounded looks on their face over how things had played out. In fact everything was completely over with by 10:35, after starting at 10:00.
I was completely disappointed in how everything ran and turned out. I was ashamed that I had actually brought my 20 and 18 years boys (registered voters) and my 12 year old daughter to the caucus and witness a process that was run so much against how it was intended. Although I guess it was a good example of why more people need to be involved and knowledgeable on parliamentary procedures and Robert's Rule of Order.