Was it the last dance of the Texas two-step?
“The two-step also places unfair burdens on the voters”, says John D. Bell, a Corpus Christi attorney and the newly-elected committeeman for the 20th senatorial district of the State Democratic Executive Committee in a guest column for the Corpus Christi Caller Times entitled, “Was it the last dance of the Texas Two Step?”.
The two-step also places unfair burdens on the voters. Our early voting options and 12 hours of voting on election day allow everyone to participate, but a caucus at 7:15 one evening puts a hardship on those caring for small children or working that shift. Also, we do not have bilingual materials or aids for individuals with disabilities in the typical caucus.
The two systems generated differing results. The March 4 primary election split 126 national delegates between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, with 65 for Clinton and 61 for Obama. In contrast, 67 delegates were allocated by caucus results finalized at the state convention, with 29 for Clinton and 38 for Obama.
Even though Clinton carried the primary on March 4, with 51 percent of the vote, Obama had greater strength through the caucuses with the support of 57 percent of the delegates at the state convention. As a result, Obama earned 99 pledged delegates and Clinton 94.
Bell points out in the article that the next state convention in 2010 will be held in his hometown of Corpus Christi.
A special task force on the delegate selection process headed by State Sen. Royce West of Dallas will conduct hearings around the state and report back to the State Democratic Executive Committee. While some may advocate going to a “winner-take-all” primary system, the old unit rule was abolished in the Democratic Party years ago, and it should not be revived. Any new system will need to assure that our elected delegates reflect the diversity of Texas, both by ethnicity as well as by candidate preference.
The revised delegate selection plan probably will be a key issue at the next state convention in 2010, which will be held in Corpus Christi.