It's regional convention day here in Texas, and I tagged along to the Senate District 17 convention in Ft. Bend County at Dulles High School. To say the Democratic base is energized would be a major understatement; the base is supercharged. As with the Primaries and Caucuses on March 4th, the turnout today was huge. The largest on record in most places, ever. For example from the Chronicle's Houston Politics Blog:
Don Bankston, a stalwart Fort Bend County Democrat, said Saturday's Senate District 18 convention in Rosenberg was the largest collection of Democrats he has ever seen in the county during his 40-plus years of political activity. The county has been dominated by Republicans for 20 years, but the last primary saw Democrats come out in unprecedented numbers.
"It is one of the biggest and most diverse crowds ever," Bankston said. "This is what this county looks like, and this is why Republicans are scared out of their wits."That was the norm, everywhere. And let me tell you, these folks were fired up. So fired up that they refused to allow the traditional rally the crowd speeches from the first wave of Democratic big wigs that showed up, including Congressmen Al Green and Nick Lampson, and State Rep. Dora Olivo! They voted instead to keep the proceedings moving. Yeah!
This particular convention, which includes my precinct, ended up seating mostly Obama delegates though Hillary won her share. However watching the process in action really for the first time, I now realize how ludicrous it is for the media to declare a definitive winner/loser on primary election night. There is just so much more to the process both during and after that day.
I won't get into all of the details here, but the primaries determine roughly 2/3 of the delegates seated, with the caucus determining the remaining 1/3. However, delegates to the regional convention are elected on caucus night, and they must show up to the convention in order to select the delegates to the state convention. If those delegates don't show up, then the candidate of their choice can actually lose delegates at the state convention.
Now you see why it's so silly to declare a winner in a race as tight as this one was in Texas, especially if you get it WRONG. Because by most counts, Barack Obama has won more delegates in Texas than Hillary Clinton, and that's the only thing that really matters in the primaries. His campaign is now starting to claim victory in Texas too. Now I know that didn't fit the "Comeback Kid" mantra that the news media had seemingly pre-written for March 4th, but that is the reality on March 29th.
Bottom line for all of you folks who don't have the privilege of participating in the Lone Star State's full contact politics up in person, based on the level of participation, enthusiasm, and general disgust at 8 years of completely inept Republican rule, Texas is absolutely in play this November.
Unless, of course, the Democrats find a way to screw it up.