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Thread: Good info on how caucuses generally work

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    Default Good info on how caucuses generally work

    Attn all who are unsure how to support Ron Paul in a caucus state and Attn Iowans ..originally posted by rodo1776

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    Hello. I'm new to the forum and after spending a few days reading all the great stuff here I think one thing is a bit lacking. Organizing and planning in caucus states. Iowa included. As an old political hack from the Democrats who has not participated in years and fed up with all of the politicos I am excited about being part of this new revolution. What I see on the forum is great but I think we need to focus on one thing and that is WINNING NATIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATES.


    Straw polls are great but in caucus states the real action is in getting delegates elected at the caucuses. So I wrote a little diddy about ideas of how the caucus works and what you can do to try to get delegates. Remember you need delegates out of the caucuses to go to the next level in order to secure national convention delegates. OK so let's get a discussion going and everyone please start to concentrate (or continue the efforts) to get people organized and EDUCATED about what to expect at a caucus. Sorry the thing is so long but as a new member I have no authority to leave attachments.


    Hi I am a former Minnesotan who attended Democratic caucuses many times and was involved in many campaigns and conventions. I gave that up a long time ago due to seeing what an inbred corrupt system it is. So It has been awhile. I think that the majority of us in the Ron Paul revolution have probably never attended a caucus and do not know what to expect nor have a good idea how to operate at the caucus to maximise the level of support that Ron Paul receives.

    In order to try to give some perspective of mine attending caucuses years ago although as I mentioned as a Democrat I am writing this as an idea of what you may find when you attend your GOP caucus for Ron. Remember this is from a perspective from the Democratic Party and from Minnesota. All states have different rules and systems and agendas. So while most states will have some major differences with the process I describe here you should also find that there are more similarities. In order to be successful you and all Ron Paul revolutionaries need to be prepared or the LOCAL GOP ATTENDEES WILL WIPE US OUT!! At the caucuses. In order to start let me ask some questions:
    1) Have you ever attended a caucus before?
    2) Have you ever been a GOP party official in any form even precinct chairperson or at any higher level?
    3) Does your meet up group or local organization have a specific plan and training for you before your caucus actually occurs?
    4) Have you been organizing to get people to attend the caucus?
    5) Do you know the rules and the agenda for your caucus and the delegate election process?


    So if anyone can answer yes to all questions you are in good shape, although you could read this for maybe an idea or two.
    If however you can not answer yes to any of these questions then PLEASE get organized and start getting answers to the questions. The only goal for us from precinct caucuses is to get delegates and then move up the system (since in most states the caucus is just the first step) and get NATIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATES FOR RON PAUL. This should be the only goal for any of us. Without national convention delegates we can not get the nomination.


    So any of you that will be attending a caucus for the first time hopefully can go in prepared. First rule to remember is to be aware that anyone there in attendance that you do not personally know as a Ron Paul supporter is either a Ron Paul supporter who you will hopefully know soon but more than likely that person or the majority of them (although not all by any means) are PARTY REGULARS AND ARE NOT OUR FRIENDS. I CALL THEM POLITICAL HACKS. (Excuse me to not offend RP supporters who are good republicans and regularly attend GOP caucuses as this is meant more for the people who have never attended a caucus and I hope you would at least partially agree) They are people who have been active in the party for the most part and each has his or her own agenda. That agenda almost exclusively is not Ron Paul. Why do I say that? Primarily because that from my perspective the majority of regular republicans (at least those that are there to get elected delegates) are threatened by Ron Paul. The caucus is not a general election and is primarily to elect delegates who then move up to other conventions and ultimately elect NATIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATES.

    Some will be regular folks, however the real power in the caucus is controlled by the regulars. The caucus is a concentrated gathering of more actively involved republicans from your precinct. Hopefully this turns out not to be the case the night of the caucus with a huge number of Paul attendees, but I think you will find that to be true when you attend. Depending on the higher level party district in which your caucus is located you will find that there are many more issues that these attendees will be concerned about. You need to know 1) is there going to be a contested election for the parties candidate for the house district you live in? (State House of Representatives. Each of you live in one of these. Also you live in a State Senate district. So is there a contested race for that position. Also the congressional district. If there is a contested GOP race for state or congressional offices then in most cases the caucus will elect delegates who will go on to nominate candidates for these offices. But you need to keep in mind and know in advance are you in a district where there is a contested race for the GOP candidate for House of Representatives or the senate district or congressional candidates or senate or any state-wide offices.

    Why do you need to know this? Because you can become embroiled in controversies that will make it more difficult to become elected a delegate. AND KEEP IN MIND THE GOAL AT THE CAUCUS IS TO LEAVE THE CAUCUS WITH ALL ELECTED DELEGATES AND ALTERNATES BEING RON PAUL SUPPORTERS. Here is a link to a general description of the caucus procedure from Minnesota:

    http://www.sd60gop.org/caucus_info.asp


    Here are links for Iowa:

    http://www.iowaindependent.com/tag.d...g=caucus+rules


    And read closely here because as you can see the Straw Poll which is the first thing DOES NOT BIND THE NATIONAL DELEGATES TO VOTE FOR RON PAUL
    "The caucus result from the straw poll has no binding on the county convention or the state convention," said Todd Versteegh, who's helping organize the Republican caucuses in Johnson County. He said Republican delegates are elected at large, after the presidential vote, by the whole caucus. "We don't allocate in terms of percentages, you're just a delegate."
    http://www.iowagop.net/inner.asp?z=4

    Here is a link to the IOWA GOP party website explaining the caucus system. Again read closely where they say that the delegates elected are not bound by the results of the straw poll. The delegates elected after the straw poll elect the NATIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATES who I gaurentee you will not be for Ron Paul in the percentages the straw poll showed unless you stay and elect the real delegates.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-d...a_b_74483.html

    Or here once again the delegates elected after the straw poll determine the national convention delegates.
    “Iowa Republicans have the same multi-level convention process as the Democrats: Caucus-goers elect county convention delegates, who choose congressional district and state delegates. The district and state delegates choose the delegates for the national convention.”


    So any Iowa caucus attendees who leave the caucus after the straw poll end up leaving the process to elect the delegates in the hands of those that stay for that election. DO NOT LEAVE AFTER THE STRAW POLL. If you leave then the regulars will elect the real delegates and then ultimately the national convention delegates and we will get SCREWED! We could poll 15% on the straw poll and then all of you leave and I assure you in that case we will not get 15% of the National Convention Dleegates. The huckster, mittsters etc will stay and get all the delegates. SO plan on a long night and stay and have a strategy.

    All states will vary in rules and you need to know the rules before you go into the caucus and be prepared. But keep in mind once again the goal is GET DELEGATES AND ALTERNATES ELECTED THAT ARE PAUL SUPPORTERS!! Don’t stray from that goal. Everyone else there at the caucus will have other different agendas.
    Each caucus is allocated a number of delegates based on republican strength in that precinct and other variables. Anyway when you go to the caucus there will be a number of people and some times the number of people attending could be less than the number of delegate slots available so then everyone who wants to becomes a delegate. Make sure you know how many slots there are in the precinct and make sure you have that many or more Paul supporters show up. Also they should elect an equal number of alternates.

    Anyway if there are more people who want to be delegates than slots then there is an election and everyone gets up and gives a short little intro on who they are and will probably say who they support or have to say that although that can be "Undecided" or "leaning x". The tricky thing here for anyone in a caucus where there is a contested election for house of representative or state senate or other office now you have to keep in mind in that case that there are many people there with the express purpose of electing all delegates for their candidate and no delegates for the other candidate(s) In this case you may be asked who you support or who you lean towards or if you are undecided. Very tricky because if you prefer one candidate you have no chance of receiving votes from any of the other candidates supporters.

    If you are in this type of a situation it is best to be undecided or if you figure that candidate x has way more support than candidate z then say you lean towards or support candidate x. Maybe you even know one of these candidates and would prefer one or the other. Obviously there is more to life than just the presidency but again this is written with the one goal of Ron Paul and I put that ahead of any other candidates. But you live in the area so you can decide. The other possibility which should be more common is that you are in a district where there is either an incumbent GOP state representative and or state senator and they are running unopposed or you are in a district where the incumbent is a democrat (or someone has just resigned and the seat is now open) and in that case typically there will be only one candidate running for the GOP nomination to run against the democrat.

    In that case you are obviously a big supporter of that candidate and you want to kick butt on that horrible democratic incumbent and that is part of why you are there to help the GOP kick out that bum (frankly there is an 80% chance that the person really is a bum so why not say you want to get rid of him/her). And remember you are all, every single one of you when you enter the caucus VERY SOLID LIFE-LONG REBUBLICANS or former democrats who now believe that the republicans are the best. You will not be trusted (except from other Paul supporters) if you get up there and say “I’m here for Ron Paul and Ron Paul only. I only registered for this caucus as a republican to vote for Ron Paul”. If you say anything negative about any other candidate for any other office you will lose the potential to get votes from their supporters for a delegate position. (Some of you will end up in the same caucus as an elected official or candidate as well).

    So for pursuing the one goal of Ron Paul keep in mind that others are watching you and if they consider you the “enemy” they will never vote for you as a delegate. Remember once again the only reason you are in that caucus room is to become a delegate or to vote for others who are Ron Paul supporters. Don’t lose focus. The only way to get national convention votes for Ron Paul is to get elected a delegate or alternate or make sure you support Paul people for those slots. (As I say with the caveat that some states may have different procedures) There are others in the room with you that are organized to meet their own objectives (and in most cases way more organized than we are and you will not have a clue as to what is going on and who has what agenda). And they do not get up and tell everyone else what their plans are and you can bet that their plans do not jive with ours. So it is hard to figure out.


    Do not wear any Ron Paul buttons or be a vocal Ron Paul advocate at the start of the caucus unless your caucus rules are that delegates are elected solely based on presidential preference. (This is a point of contention surely but my personal opinion if you are organized going into the caucus) Save that for after the voting is over and you have taken all the delegate and alternate slots. Then you can do whatever you want. But not at first. But try to identify and know all the Ron Paul supporters in the room by advance coordination and organization.

    The precinct leaders should see to it that everyone knows at least the names of the Ron Paul supporters and hopefully you have it organized in advance who will be running for the delegate and alternate slots. As you can see from the link the caucus convener will explain the number of delegate slots available and number of alternate slots although you need to know that in advance. Depending on the rules and or how many people are in attendance and how many want to be delegates or different things can happen:

    Say the caucus has 10 delegates to elect and 15 people want run for the slots and there are only 8 known Paul supporters that want to run for delegate. Then there should probably be a situation where everyone of these 15 gets up and introduces themselves and maybe you will be required to state your preference for president (undecided is a valid position by the way) and or any other candidate or even positions say abortion. Say whatever you want depending on how you read the others and state your positions if you want.

    If you know you have Paul supporters there with you then go for it. But remember others are trying to figure you out and deciding whether they will support you for delegate. Then after all the speeches everyone gets to vote for 10 names because there are ten delegate slots and the top ten vote getters win the delegate positions. Usually the precinct chairperson will run and easily win for example. BUT and very important is to know that you do not need to put down 10 names (this may vary by state). ONLY VOTE FOR THE PAUL DELEGATES in this case the 8 know ones even if you know someone else who is non Paul or the person seems really nice or is really cute or handsome.

    The reason is that you dilute your strength and can lose a Paul delegate and give Huck or Mitt an extra delegate. You will then have the last delegate elected could have won by 1 vote over the 11th name and the 11th name is one of the 8 Paul supporters, but if a Paul supporter said "Oh I think that Huck supporter is cute so I will vote for her too since we only have 8 Paul people running and I get to vote for 10. In that case only vote for the 8 names you KNOW are Paul delegates.

    Do not vote for the cute person under any circumstances. Only use your 8 votes even though you have 10.
    If you vote for more than just the known Paul delegates then a Paul delegate can be beaten out of a slot because another Paul delegate voted for the handsome guy who turns out is for Huck. So this is called BULLET BALLOTING and is very important. This happens only when there is not the same number of Paul supporters running for delegate or alternate as there are delegate slots or in the case that more previously unknown Paul supporters show up and run for delegate.

    This depends on your organizing ability beforehand to make sure you know how many delegates and alternates there are and then make sure you have a vote beforehand to determine who runs for delegate and alternate (and when doing this for strategic reasons it is best to have the most well spoken, articulate, funny, well known and TRUSTED PAUL SUPPORTERS and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt look alikes work well also, especially in campus precincts and also know the date of the next level convention since it could be that someone won’t be available for that date and therefore should not run for delegate.

    Each person running for delegate and alternate has to be committed to continue the process and attend the next conventions). DO NOT RUN MORE PAUL SUPPORTERS FOR DELEGATE THAN THERE ARE AVAILABLE SLOTS! Know who you are when you go in and do not be afraid to run for delegate except that it is best to only run the maximum quantity of Paul supporters to cover the number of delegates or you dilute your strength and can inadvertently elect other delegates for Huck or someone else. Another thing can happen where there are 10 slots and they ask for volunteers and only ten people want to be delegate or even less than 10.

    Then all Paul supporters there should volunteer obviously. If that pushes the number of volunteers over 10 in this example you will now have an election. If you think you have enough support in your caucus then push for an election. Or the other thing is say if 11 people want to run and you know that of the 11 volunteers you know you have 6 or 7 Paul supporters. Then have one person graciously state that they will drop off so that there won’t be an election but that they would then want to be the first alternate vote only offer that in exchange for being first alternate. This way you don’t risk an election and the first alternate position is almost as good as a delegate. Also maybe you get there and you have enough Paul supporters to cover the number of delegate slots.

    That is great, be organized and only vote for these people. Maybe there are going to be others attending with Ron Paul buttons or who say they want to be a delegate and they run (but are not part of the organized group). Well now you have more people running for delegates than there are delegate slots. If in this case if any one of the organized Paul supporters who have been involved with the organization beforehand decides that they like that new previously unknown Paul person better than one of the candidates for delegate (official Paul delegates if you like) and substitutes this new unknown person in place of the official list you have now opened yourselves up to lose a delegate. You are now diluting your strength and can lose a delegate slot.

    If you see new people for Ron before the caucus starts or during breaks before voting try to talk to the person discreetly of course and have a printed list of candidates and explain what is going on and ask that person to vote for the list and not run for delegate. If you can’t get the message to the person and you break ranks and some of the organized people vote for that person you dilute your strength and can lose delegates.

    So when you introduce yourselves. You can all be PURE and say hey I’m a Ron Paul supporter. When you do this depending on the number of people in the room and the number of people running for the available delegate slots you can be shooting yourselves in the foot. If you are in an unorganized caucus and have no idea what is going on or who the other Paul supporters are and there is no organization, then in that case your only shot is to be a vocal Paul supporter and try to get elected or be a politician and if you have a good personality and have some jokes or are well know in the community maybe the best bet is to say you are undecided and see if you can get votes even from anti-Paul people and get elected. Use your own judgment in this case. But try to be elected a delegate.

    If everything works well and it is a disorganized caucus and you see that there are many Paul supporters then discreetly talk to these people and explain about only having the number of Paul supporters as delegates run and not dilute your strength. Or see if the rules allow you to ask for a chance to have a 5 minute recess and get all the Paul supporters in a corner and try to make sure that there are going to be only the number of candidates from your group as there are available slots and then organize it on the spot and follow the above rules of only voting for the Paul supporters even if you don’t have enough volunteers to cover all the available slots.

    In this case also organize candidates for alternate delegate slots which are important as well (see below) You can say you are undecided as well and draw votes from others (dirty trick maybe but let me assure you that the other campaigns will be doing it and this is usually best for people who are well known or well liked in the precinct as they draw votes from other candidates supporters But critically important. Judge your strength and BULLET BALLOT. Do not vote for all the available slots for delegate unless there is the exact number of Paul supporters as number of delegates to elect.
    Now I am not advocating any of this as it is dirty tricks. But let me explain a tactic that other campaigns who know how the system works will be doing.
    Assuming the Huckabee campaign is organized and you can be sure it will be. Or substitute Mitt or anyone else. Here is what the do:


    1) They meet beforehand and then organize to get as many people committed to go to the caucus.
    2) They then have a strategy meeting before the caucus and they know how many delegate slots there are.
    3) They pick or vote for the exact number of people to run for delegate AND ALTERNATE as there are allotted slots for the precinct.
    4) Everyone agrees to vote for this group and this group only

    (with me so far? Same exact thing we should be doing)

    But then they also have let’s call them Kamikaze volunteers. These Kamikaze people also run for delegate. They know they are not going to get votes from everyone else in their group and in fact do not even vote for themselves. Let’s say that they are a HUCK supporter in reality. Well they go and get a Ron Paul button, or a Mitt Romney Button (any candidate other than their real candidate) and then they run for delegate. Their speech goes something like this:


    “Hi my name is Bill, I have lived here in the district for 25 years and been a very active republican and worked on many campaigns etc etc etc and I am a Ron Paul supporter for president. I love Ron Paul and am working hard for his candidacy. I pledge to support Ron all the way to victory please vote for me. (Ok none of you have ever seen this person before but he is very convincing and you think he is a Paul supporter and then vote for him) There are other kamikazes doing the same thing but for Mitt or McCain etc. None vote for themselves. If they by luck get elected because of this ruse they suddenly change their minds later and go back and support Huck or Mitt or whoever but not Ron Paul nor the person they claim they support. But getting elected is not their real goal. Why does this occur? Because it sucks up and divides votes from the opposition.

    Some of whom may not be organized or people who show up and are not party regulars and are not part of any campaign or Ron Paul supporters. So then these kamikazes dilute votes from the other candidates and when the votes are counted they pick up an extra delegate or two and this frequently works well. I am not advocating doing this. But HUCK, MITT, Thompson and McCain will be doing it in many precincts. Take my word for it.

    Ok also very important PUT PAUL SUPPORTERS IN AS ALTERNATES. In the old days they were just ranked as first alternate second alternate etc and the higher the alternate number is best. But no matter how they do this make sure you have enough people to fill the delegate slots (and again only run the exact amount of delegate slots) and then the rest run as alternates and it should be the same process except depending on the precinct and how many candidates left in the race which will determine the turnout it may be that there are not enough volunteers left to fill all the alternate slots. But get alternate slots filled with our people.

    Get the alternate spots as what happens is when you go to the next level which is the senate district convention or county or however your state runs it, VERY IMPORTANT many of the delegates will not show up (not us Paul delegates though right?) or since the senate district convention or next level convention can be a whole Saturday then some delegates show up but have to leave (or are sick or can’t make the convention) and an alternate is then seated and becomes a delegate.


    Then the most important place to get REAL LIVE NATIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATES FOR PAUL is at the senate district (or county convention in rural areas or however your state’s GOP rules dictate). Now you are electing State delegates or congressional district delegates or maybe even National Convention Delegates. Here is where the allocations get concentrated. This is the real election if you will for National Delegates and the most important. So here usually a Saturday a month or so later all the caucus delegates convene for the Senate district (or county) convention. Same process basically but the voting is much tougher because every old hack politician in the world wants to be a congressional or state delegate. And these delegates are all important and are very few out of all the maybe hundreds of precinct delegates that are now at this senate district convention. Anyway this is something the state coordinator should know and get word to everyone before this convention and also have a strategy.

    It is very important to know the rules at this next level convention and have a plan. Much of the same tactics and strategy discussed earlier will still apply. By this stage the Ron Paul organizers will have the plan in place and a strategy for each senate district convention. Here is also where Paul supporters can engage in some fun back room deal making as well. Depending on the situation of contested races other than presidential there is an opportunity to “trade” support and get more Ron Paul delegates elected to the next convention or as national delegates in exchange for support for certain candidates. This is repugnant in my opinion but it is a reality and all the campaigns do it.

    It happens all the time in both parties and organizers will see any possibilities for that. I do not mean to write this and offend any long time committed republicans. I respect the fact that someone is active in politics should they want to be and do not mean to treat this as some type of position paper for screwing over the party or anything negative. I was an active democrat for many years in Minnesota and worked on many campaigns. After starting my own small business I became a republican. However have not participated in years as I have become totally disenchanted with all politicians that I can think of except Ron Paul and what this candidacy means as a chance to finally start changing the things that are wrong with America. So it is with one goal and only one goal that I propose what I do. Everything goes by the wayside except getting NATIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATES FOR RON PAUL.

    Stay focused on that goal is my personal opinion. Understand the rules and get delegates and alternates at the caucuses. That is only the first step in most caucus states. Take it from there and get organized and know who is who. In my opinion this is the most critical thing that Ron Paul supporters in caucus states need to concentrate on.

    Let’s get a discussion going on this and all organizers need to focus on caucus planning and organization. Put all the signs you want out on the street (which is great) and win all the STRAW polls in the world. But if we don’t work within the established system and beat the old hacks at their own game then we will not get national Convention delegates in proportion to our real strength and in fact will be helping other candidates get more support than they really have. GET ORGANIZED FOR YOUR CAUCUSES OR ALL IS LOST!!! let's kick some butt on all these hacks and reenergise the repulican party and get a real honost man in the oval office. We need national convention delegates to do that. Let's get the discussion going.
    Last edited by seapilot; 12-22-2007 at 06:19 PM.
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    Whew! Heck of a read!
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