04 March 2008

Party Line

I was all set yesterday to write this ginourmous (TM my younger cousin Alex) blog entry about all my doings and going-ons in February, complete with photographic evidence of same, but I was rudely interrupted by the onset of a vicious migraine. Thing I don't love? Feeling like someone's jamming an ice pick into my skull, all alien bounty hunter-ish. But at any rate, that entry will come later today. But for now I thought I'd write about The Political Process As Observed by Yours, Truly.

That's right. Today's March 4, also known as Primary Day here in Texas (and Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island, but who cares about those states? Vermont sits up there, all high and mighty with its gorgeous foliage and seasons, Ohio's just lame, and you can fit about 1200000 Rhode Islands in the city of Houston alone. I have one Rhode Island in my back yard, as a matter of fact.). And would you believe, despite being nearly 28 years old and fairly politically active for most of my life, I'd never before voted in a primary until today? It's true! It's not due to apathy or a Lenten promise to give up electronic voting booths; it's just that I'm a member of a third party and, generally, our inter-party races are usually settled by a thumb war or something. Sometimes it's a race to see which broken-down old van can get to DC first. Exciting, yes, but maybe not something that captures a nation's interest.

But this year, for reasons which will remain my own but which probably stem from being too old to get much het up about ideals anymore, I've decided to join the crowd and vote big ticket. And it's really exciting, too! Texas generally gets sort of overlooked by presidential candidates - the Republicans figure they'll carry Texas whether they come down here and campaign or not, and the Democrats figure the state will still go Republican, no matter how many times they come down here and sample our BBQ. And I guess BBQ and Shiner Boch isn't much of an inducement to presidential candidates (although it should be, obviously), because for the most part, we sort of get shafted.

But not this year! With the Democratic primary race still very much anyone's game (as long as that anyone is Clinton or Obama), all eyes are on Texas and our wacky Democratic primary process. McCain will take it for the Republicans - is Huckabee still alive, even? - but it's still neck and neck for the Dems. If Clinton manages to take Ohio (which she's favored to) AND Texas, she's back in the game and will have a slight lead over Obama. If she loses them both, she's probably out, and if they split down the middle, then this primary race will drag on until the summer. And as much as I like both Obama and Clinton (I do, actually, for varying reasons both politically and personally), and enjoy the drama of it all, I need it to be over already. I compared it to the World Series earlier today - McCain is the Yankees, a bit bloated and still riding on the buzz of yesteryear's heydey, and he's already won the ALCS in four games. He's kicking back and watching game tape while Clinton (the Mets, obvs: less accessible perhaps than other teams but her fans are hardcore) and Obama (please, he's totally the Cubs. Fan-and-celeb-favorite, getting everyone's hopes up only to dash them at the last possible moment when the foul ball bounces off a fan's glove) are still duking it out in the National League, wearing each other and everyone else out. By the time one of them manages to win 4 games out of 7, McCain will know exactly how to hit them in the pennant race.

CNN has a totally handy (and fun!) map which shows how many delegates each candidate has. You can make your predictions for the remainder of the primaries (all eyes on Guam!) and see how many more votes Obama and Clinton need to win the nomination. There should really be a pool for these sorts of things. If my Oscar picks were anything to go by, I'd rake in tons of dough.

Regardless of which unlikely presidential candidate wins the Democratic nomination, I've done my part. Well, one-half of my part. The craziness of the Texas Two-Step means that I get to go back to my polling place tonight and caucas. I've never caucased before, but it sounds really fun and important, like maybe I should wear an Amanda Woodward power suit and type on my Blackberry a lot. Even crazier, because the Texas Democratic Party consists of precisely five people and one large, ungainly dog, they don't have precinct chairs for every polling place. And the only qualifications for being a precinct chair are A) having voted earlier in the regular primary and B) being alive, so basically anyone who is alive and has voted is eligible. That means that, theoretically, if my polling place doesn't have an official precinct chair, I could do it. I think all you have to do is pass out papers and be a glorified cheerleader ("2!4!6!8! Who do we appreciate? Clinton! Clinton! Goooo Clinton!" or "Obama Obama, he's our man! If he can't win the Democratic Party nomination and then go on to beat McCain's weird, gelatinous face into the ground, no one can!" You can use those cheers if you want. You don't even need to credit me.). Still, though, Democratic Precinct Caucas Chair sounds pretty freaking important. It's too bad that teenagers can't vote; that sort of thing would look really good on a college application.

xx erin

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