The Big Caucus, Or: The Smell of Nachos and a Daytime Emmy-Winner

Categories: Politics
Going on a voting Spree: At bottom, Julie Doyle and Tim DeLaughter stump for Hillary Clinton before Saturday's senatorial district convention on the SMU campus.

I spent Saturday serving as a delegate at the Fightin’ 16th Senatorial District’s Democratic Convention at SMU’s Moody Coliseum, and I’m happy to report the festivities went baby’s-butt smoothly, with none of the long lines, restless crowds and frustrations that plagued other conventions around the state.

Psyche!

When I showed up at 8:40 a.m. or so, I was greeted by a clusterfuck of monumental proportions, with delegates and alternates grouped by precinct and bottlenecked toward the registration tables. Once I found my precinct’s tiny hand-scrawled sign, I waited a good hour and a half or so before securing my credentials and heading into the arena, where the tantalizing smells of stadium nachos and lukewarm soft pretzels hung heavy in the air.

After that, there was a lot of waiting around. Thankfully we had access to SMU’s WiFi, so everybody could read Daily Kos till their eyes glazed over (which for me usually takes, say, 10 minutes tops).

The meeting was finally called to order by chair Dr. Theresa Daniels a little after noon, with Obama rally rock star Rick James singing the exact same rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" I heard him do last month.

A number of speakers followed, some interesting, most not so much -- that is, until Iraq veteran and State Rep. Allen Vaught took the stage for a moving endorsement of Barack Obama that brought the house down. (Hillary’s convention endorsement came courtesy of someone with a little more star power, however: two-time Daytime Emmy-winner and The Bold and the Beautiful actress Heather Tom, who had the unenviable task of speaking later in the day to a wearier and far less attentive audience.)

My favorite moment of the day was the crowd reaction to the credentials committee's rulings, however, which devolved into roughly an hour of pointless arguing, motions, counter-motions and old-school “yea” and “nay” voting (though no one bothered to explain to the crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 till halfway through the process that only actual delegates could vote on the motions).

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s 2008. There has to be a better way. I certainly didn’t see any game show-style decibel meters up there …

Wait, wait … changed my mind. My real favorite moment of the day came during the nomination and election of permanent officers, when we had the privilege of electing a 90-something-year-old woman as permanent parliamentarian after nobody remembered to nominate the sitting parliamentarian, who promptly stormed off the floor. Seriously, a 90-year-old parliamentarian. None of us in the Fightin’ 16th can ever make any jokes about John McCain’s age ever again. --Noah W. Bailey

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