The Rt.495 MetroWest Dem meet-up was held Tuesday night in Boxborough. The agenda included a discussion of ideas to for increasing attendance at local DTC meetings. This subject is of particular interest to me because I am always looking to get more democrats to attend our DTC meetings. I was surprised to learn that in Townsend we get more folks in attendance than Carlisle or Littleton. I was even more surprised to learn that Littleton only holds DTC meetings QUARTERLY
(?!) How the hell do they get anything done?
Next on the agenda was a discussion about the caucuses to be held in February and the rule changes that came about as a result of the Dukakis-McGovern Commission
(with thanks to BlueMassGroup
These are some of the rule changes that we discussed:Reduction in Number of Delegates/Alternates
The number of delegates/alternates is fixed according to the percentage of registered democrats in a city/town/ward. In order to make the convention more manageable, the number of delegates have been reduced by 1 or more delegates and most city/town/wards will seat 2 alternates. Some smaller towns will only seat 1 alternate.
We must be doing okay here in Townsend because we will be seating 4 delegates (including ex-officio) and 2 alternates. I was frankly surprised when I learned this as I expected that Townsend would get 2 delegates and 1 alternate.Delegate Challenges Must be Received in Advance
Delegate challenges must be received a week in advance (I believe that's the time limit, my notes are a bit spotty here) For example, you can challenge a delegate if you can prove that they supported a candidate of another party (Republican or Green or whatever) in the last 2 election cycles.Universal Ballot
Up to three races will be included on each ballot to streamline the voting.No Delegate Switching after 1st Ballot
Delegates must stay for the entire convention for all votes. If a delegate is late and an alternate is switched in, the alternate will vote for the entire convention.Votes Will be Held in Reverse Order With the Lowest Office First.
The Governor vote will be held last. I guess to make sure that delegates/alternates stick around and vote for the whole thing.All Statewide Candidates Must Get 15% on First Ballot
Candidates must get 15% of delegate votes on the first first ballot in order to continue on to the primary.Winner of the Convention
The winner of the convention with the majority of delegate votes will be listed first on the primary ballot with a note of endorsement from the MDP.
There was a very lively discussion about the hows and whys of the decisions from the Dukakis/McGovern commission. I'm not positive of the motives behind the changes. The feeling I get from what I hear from people I see at meetings like this one and at DFA meetings I go to is that there was a lot of backlash after the last nominating convention. Many felt the convention went on too long, and some folks saw some of the deals made between delegate slates for particular candidates as some sort of shananigans. I don't think there is anything wrong with having a convention strategy, as long as the rules are followed.
There was also a very lively discussion about the idea that democrats should come out of the convention unified behind a single candidate without the need for a primary like many think the Republicans do, but I personally don't hold that opinion. I understand the need for party unity, but I don't think that limiting our choices is a good idea, and I certainly don't think that the decision to select a candidate should come down to a few hundred delegates. I don't love the 15% on the first ballot rule, but at least it gives grassroots campaigns like Deval Patrick, and Robert Reich before him the opportunity to get into the process and then let the people decided, not just "party" people.
The Rt.495/MetroWest Dem
Meetup group meets on the second Tuesdsay of the month, either for an informal information meeting or speaker meetings. The next speaker meeting will be held Sunday, November 20, 2005 in Harvard MA, at the Harvard Public Library.
The featured speakers will be Mike Festa
, candidate for Middlesex DA and Cameron Kerry
, brother of Senator John Kerry (and possible candidate for Secretary of State?)