In a classic fifth season episode of The Simpsons, we see brief glimpses of conventions held by the two major political parties. The Republican convention is a scene of unmitigated evil. The Democratic convention is shown as a bunch of goofy losers who can’t do anything right.
If those stereotypes held true, then Nevada’s Republican caucus last weekend must have been organized by Democrats. Actually, that’s the best explanation I can think of: our caucus was so disorganized, so poorly advertised, and so confusing because our political opponents sabotaged it somehow!
But sadly, no, it was our own fault. The Republican party has a long history of incompetence in Southern Nevada, but this event may be the pinnacle of that shoddy record. As I sat around for an hour and a half after the caucus started, with many people I know from my neighborhood, we often exchanged glances that said the same thing–we’ve all had times where we’ve had to put together things more complicated than this, and they’ve always been far more successful. It really shouldn’t be this hard.
The agenda was all but improvised. Basic matters of procedure seemed to change right in the middle of the caucus. At my site, the registration table was in a high school cafeteria…along with meetings for three precincts. Nobody foresaw that four noisy groups in a huge room with great acoustics would cause a problem?
At some locations, people who showed up late were turned away; at mine, they got to be included in just the last five minutes. Everybody has made a big deal out of how low voter turnout was, but what nobody has noted is that the caucus was barely advertised–most people were never notified of the dates, times, and requirements. It was almost impossible to find online. My wife and I were only in the know because of friends who are involved in the party and took the initiative to get the word out themselves.
This fiasco has even been lampooned by national news outlets. What an embarrassment for Nevada. Failure this systemic always comes from the top down.