A few days leading up to an exciting event, I usually can’t sleep. I’m just so excited! Two nights before my first caucus, I couldn’t sleep. This time, it wasn’t because I was super excited.
I was tossing and turning all night because my throat started to hurt. I got up a few times to check for signs of strep throat, to get water or a cough drop. I like to play doctor and diagnose myself, so I diagnosed myself with a minor sore throat that happened because I ran in strangely cold weather the night before. This has happened before, where my throat hurts after running in chilling weather. Except… when I woke up, I no longer had a sore throat. It was a throbbing-can’t swallow-I’m in incredible pain-throat. And then… I saw what I feared… white spots on my very swollen tonsils, a major sign of strep throat.
I had to get to a doctor as soon I could (every doctor I called had at least a four-hour wait), but I also had to make a three-hour drive since I am registered to vote back home in Long Beach. There was no way I was waking up at 7 a.m. the day of the caucus when I felt this terrible to make the drive, so I had to drive the night before. I felt myself getting worse and worse as the day wore on and I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait for a doctor and then drive home. I decided to drive home, fall into a sleep-coma, caucus in the morning and then find the nearest doctor.
I woke up the morning of the caucus feeling worse than I ever have. I couldn’t talk very loud and everything hurt. I sucked it up and put on my favorite red, white and blue outfit along with a very pitiful happy face.
When I got to the caucus I had the option of filling out my form and leaving, which was incredibly tempting since my eyes were glazing over and I was getting chills and a heat stroke at the same time. With my throbbing throat I had to mentally prepare every time I needed to swallow.
I sat tight, even when we were told we had a whole hour before it started. I thought that in a caucus, everyone stood in a giant room and just raised their hand for whomever they were voting for or sat on opposite sides of the room. Nope. We were all grouped by our precincts, basically the neighborhood we lived in. I was in the largest, so I was excited for some arguments.
Unfortunately for me, my precinct was neither organized nor full of arguments. The leader of my precinct didn’t read the detailed document of how to be the leader. So we were off to a rough start. What surprised me the most about the caucus was how peaceful (mostly) everyone was. I heard a lot of people state who they were voting for, but if their person wasn’t voted in, they wanted to hear why they should vote for the opposing person. People got a chance to speak on why they were voting for whom they were voting for to try and convince others to switch sides. Most of them started with praising the person they weren’t voting for and then going into why their choice would be better. It was way more peaceful than I anticipated.
After collecting all of the votes, it was time to pick six delegates in my precinct. I had no idea delegates were picked from each precinct. In my precinct, four went to Bernie Sanders since he won most of the votes and two went to Hillary Clinton. Four Sanders voters volunteered and two Clinton voters volunteered to be delegates, easy as that.
All of the delegates then go to the Legislative District caucus in April and from those delegates, a few are selected to go to the county convention in May.
I’m glad I suffered through the pain to attend the caucus. It wasn’t as exciting as I expected, but it was definitely very informative. Plus, there was no way anything was going to keep me from my first caucus, even strep throat (which it ended up being)!