If you’re living in Minnesota today is caucus day. As somebody who has gone through the caucus process twice I want to write a short guide for any newbies considering going to their caucus today.
The most important thing to keep in mind when caucusing is that it’s a complete waste of time if your goal is anything other than toeing the party line. Politicos will often claim that caucuses are where you have a real chance to effect change. They’re lying. The caucus is the first level in a multi-layered system. It is the layer that gives people wanting to change things within a political party hope. When you arrive you will likely notice that there are few people present, which creates the illusion that you have a greater chance to instill change. But you need to know that this first layer is the least consequential layer and that each layer above it has built-in corrective mechanisms to ensure no meaningful chance occurs within the political party. You may be elected as a delegate at the caucus but if you have any desires outside of the party platform you will be weeded out at a later time (or your voice will be totally ignored if you make it to the national convention).
Now that that’s out of the way I recommend you think of a watering hole that you’re particularly fond of, skip the caucus, and spend your evening drinking beer with friends.
But if you’re one of those people who cannot take advice from somebody who has gone before then I’ll give you some pointers. The first thing you must do is find your caucus. I’m not going to explain how to do that because I’m not one to enable people to make destructive decisions. If you really want to attend your caucus I will take no responsibility for getting you there.
Getting elected as a delegate is pretty simple. First, dress well. I recommend going all out and wearing a suit and tie. Few people will do this and it will make you stand out from the rest of the candidates. Speak effectively. What I mean by this is that you should speak clearly, not use any vulgar language, and not appear nervous. When you’re speaking stick to the party line. If your goal is to effect chance within the party keep it to yourself. Do not speak on specifics.
Libertarians attending a Republican Party caucus may feel a desire to discuss ending the Federal Reserve and America’s foreign wars. Know that most of the attendees aren’t aware of the Federal Reserve’s existence and ending it isn’t in the official Republican Party platform so they won’t support it. Instead give vague and empty statements about wanting to return this country to “fiscal responsibility” (it’s such an empty and meaningless phrase that it’s included in the party platform, which means other caucus attendees will lap it up).
If ending America’s foreign wars is what you desire then keep your mouth shut. Without a doubt there will be at least one person at every Republican Party caucus that has a hard-on for Israel. In their eyes opposing America’s foreign wars is equivalent to abandoning Israel to the barbarians in the Middle East (in their opinion “barbarian” is synonymous with “Muslim”). Any mention of ending America’s wars will be met with accusations that you’re and anti-Semite. Once that accusation is out there you’re chances of getting elected as a delegate drop to zero. Instead discuss the need for a strong home defense and ending foreign aid to “our” enemies (caucus goers are naturally collectivists and like to think of Americans as a single cohesive group so use collectivist terms such as “our” and “us” frequently).
At the beginning of the caucus there will be elections for event positions such as chairman. Volunteer for one of these positions. Caucus goers tend to elect people who they perceive to be willing to sacrifice their time and energy for the good of the party. By running for a caucus position you demonstrate your willingness to participate in all of this madness. In the eyes of most attendees this shows a willingness to sacrifice time and energy for the party. Don’t worry, if you get elected to any of these positions you won’t have to suffer much work so running is fairly low risk.
During the evening an opportunity to add to the party platform will be arise. Note that, like the caucus itself, this opportunity is an illusion that enacting change is possible. In reality each caucus will have a slew of its own proposed changes that will be reviewed and dumped by higher layers in the party process. The only chance of getting an adjustment made to the party platform is to make it sound like something that already exists on the party platform. What the higher ups are looking for is a more politically correct rewording of the current platform. If you can make the psychopathic statements in the platform more palatable to decent human beings you have a chance of getting it added. With that said, if you’re trying to get elected as a delegate you probably want to make some attempt to create a platform change. Keep it vague though. Something specific such as ending the Federal Reserve will never go anywhere. Instead find a way to reword fiscal responsibility to sound more convoluted and empty.
Remember that running for a delegate position carries with it the risk of actually getting elected. If that happens you will be asked to sacrifice more of your free time by attending the next party event at a later date (and that date will almost certainly collide with something else you have planned because karma is a bitch). Honestly, it’s better to stay home or go to the bar. At least then you won’t face the risk of becoming a delegate.