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January 20, 2014 / needhamgrassroots

You know how important Primaries are? Sick of Centrists?

The work of GETTING BETTER DEMOCRATS starts BEFORE the primaries! Go to your Caucus!

If Primaries are where we get better Democrats–Caucuses are where we get better Democrats into the Primaries.

Chances are that You–an active and engaged citizen who works on campaigns and makes calls to legislators– you know that it’s important to vote in Primaries, not just in general elections, because that’s where we get to choose the BEST democrats. And that puts you at a level of participation higher than most: so few people vote in primaries.

But as important as PRIMARIES are in changing the kinds of Democrats we get on the ballot… caucuses may be even MORE important.

[here’s a detailed post on Caucuses, but in short: Caucuses, open to ALL registered Democrats, are where DELEGATES are elected, and DELEGATES go to the CONVENTION to decide who gets to be on the Party’s ticket for Governor, and other statewide offices]

Caucuses are about local communities empowering representatives (delegates) to make big decisions–what Democrats get past the gate of merely a declaration to run for office, and onto an actual primary ballot. If Primaries are where we get better Democrats–Caucuses are where we get better Democrats to field in the Primaries.

Are YOU going to your town’s Caucus to vote? Check the massdems website! (Needham: check the Progressive Needham calendar)  Needham’s Democratic Caucus is February 8, 2014, Saturday, 10AM (must be in line to sign in BEFORE 10am). (Optional) RSVP HERE

For some good commentary on Caucuses, Conventions, Primaries and the “15% rule”, see this Mass Politics Prof blog:

Participation in local caucuses that lead to a nominating convention is, arguably, a better test of one’s commitment to local politics and civic life [than voting in a primary].  And the local organizations that work the caucuses are much better buttresses of community than the solitary act of voting in a party primary. …

Conventions are not determinative unless a candidate cannot crack the 15% threshold.  This raises an important question of governance: should a prospective nominee who cannot organize around the state within their own party to meet a relatively minimal requirement earn a spot on that party’s ballot?  Shouldn’t a party expect a modicum of organization?  Shouldn’t citizens?

The process does favor those who plan in advance, but that doesn’t make it closed and begs another question: isn’t it reasonable to expect that a candidate for statewide office plan in advance?  Why is that unreasonable?  Candidates for governor, for example, are about to take over a large and complex organization that tests their managerial and political skills.  They can hone those by putting together a statewide political organization to win over their follow partisans and win a primary. [READ THE REST HERE]

From Boston Magazine:

I am not going to try to explain exactly how the system works—because only the truly deprived understand it—but I can give you the overview:

At 517 caucus meetings throughout the Commonwealth, Democratic activists will elect 3,856 delegates (and 1,514 alternates) to the state convention. More will be selected later as needed to fill in diversity numbers. Plus, a whole bunch of elected officials and committee members get to be delegates automatically.

In total, roughly 5,500 to 6,000 delegates will be able to vote at the June 14 convention in Worcester. They vote on all of the statewide races, and there are two big things at stake.

First, candidates must receive 15 percent of the vote (on the first ballot) to qualify for the primary ballot.

Second, a candidate who gets a majority of the vote (on first or subsequent ballots) receives the official party endorsement.

read the rest: David Bernstein – Boston Magazine: It’s the Countdown to the Massachusetts Caucuses – Jan. 2014 –


link to this page:

more on caucuses:
2018 Edition:

2014 edition:


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