Posts by Russ Daggatt

It’s Time for Washington State to Get Rid of Caucuses

It’s Time for Washington State to Get Rid of Caucuses

  Bernie Sanders had a big win in the Washington caucuses on March 26th. In fact, it was his biggest single delegate win of the entire primary process. He netted a 47-delegate advantage over Hillary Clinton. His next-best delegate haul was the Utah caucuses, where he won with a 21-delegate advantage. There is no official vote count in the Washington State caucuses, but the state Democratic Party estimated that 230,000 people turned out. Sanders won 72.7 percent, which translates to roughly 167,000 votes. To put that in perspective, in the caucuses Sanders won less than 10 percent of the 1,755,396 votes President Obama received in the state in the 2012 general election. But Washington State also has a presidential primary. Republicans use the results of the primary to allocate delegates to their national convention, but Democrats don’t. John Oliver  ridiculed that practice  on Last Week Tonight last Sunday: Generally, you are lucky if you live in a state that has a primary … unless you are a Democrat in Washington State, where things get a little more complicated: [voice over] “In Washington State we have both caucuses and presidential primaries, where you actually cast a ballot in private. But Democrats have never liked the primary and have ignored it from Day One.” It’s true. The Democrats’ presidential primary in Washington doesn’t count. They have one, and it’s this Tuesday, but all the pledged delegates were decided in their caucus months ago. So, you know that awful friend who says he doesn’t vote because he doesn’t feel like his vote counts? If he’s a Washington Democrat participating in the primary, he’s right. He’s still awful, but he’s right. There is a  long history  behind this. But to summarize: Before 1988, both parties allocated their delegates using a combination of caucuses and conventions. After 1988, the state instituted a presidential primary. Republican rules
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