‘Texas 2 Step’ Democratic Primary Process Debated
With the 2008 Presidential campaign in full swing, some Democrats in Texas are already looking ahead to the 2012 election.
State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, opened hearings in Southeast Austin Monday morning to examine the party’s so called Texas Two Step process. It includes both primary and caucus votes to pick Presidential candidates.
Some have criticized the setup saying it’s confusing and even unfair.
“I feel my vote didn’t count as much,” laments Amy Esdorn, one of many Democrats who wasn’t able to attend the caucuses after the primary polls closed in March. Those voters only got to cast one ballot when others essentially voted twice.
Even those who did wait in long lines to caucus complain the process was chaotic, even confrontational. In some places, police were called in. And then there was the arithmetic to divvy up delegates. In some cases, even the party’s self described “EZ math” worksheet just added up to more complaints that the caucus was too complicated.
Issues with the two step process come to light during the March primary between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. Clinton won the popular vote but Obama won the county conventions. Clinton then challenged the caucus process.
“There are persons who think we need to scrap it altogether, there are persons who think we need to modify it, and there are people who think we need to keep it just the way it is,” West said.
State Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie explained at the hearing, “No one and I don’t think anyone here in this room could have expected the record turnout that we saw.”
The hearing could inspire changes in party rules. But those alterations have to be approved by state party and state legislature. So any changes wouldn’t be put in place until the next Presidential primary in 2012.
In the meantime, there will be several more hearings around the state, including citizen input.