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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Vanguard Coverage of the DNC: Biden is the VP Pick for Obama and More

The Vanguard is primarily a blog that covers local politics and local government issues. However, there is no denying the fact that much of the world will be focused on the Democratic National Convention next week. So we have asked Don Gibson, a UC Davis Student who is President of College Democrats and an elected Hillary Clinton Delegate to the Democratic National Convention to write about his experiences at the Democratic Convention in Denver, Colorado. Here is his second report.


How did I get here?

As a college democrat, the DNC was not my first idea of helping getting democrats to take back the state. A few political friends of mine suggested that I run because they thought that I would be a passionate delegate. The general goal for getting elected to be a delegate is get the most registered democratic voters to come out to the caucus to vote for you. There are stories of all the crazy ways people got elected to be delegates. From rumors I have heard, one person running to be a delegate in San Francisco's district went all out. He filled a bus load of homeless, offering them coffee and donuts and registering them to vote then cast their ballots.

I did not have the resources or connections to do something that intense. A goal for me was to have the caucus site on the UC Davis campus where I could get all of my friends to vote for me. But the first CD is a geographically large district. It reaches from West Sacramento to Napa City to Eureka and the boarder of Oregon. What ended up happening was unique for this CD. This was the only CD in California had two sites for people to cast votes. I thought I was done for. How could I get dozens of my friends to Napa? And then deal with the fact that someone could bring their entire church to vote.

In the Democratic Party, the strict rules about gender equality work on the delegate level. The delegates work out to a 50% to 50% ratio through out the state. In the 1st CD, Obama beat Hillary by .3% points. So he got three delegates and one alternate while Hillary received two, one male and one female delegate.

I thought, I doubt I would win but why not try? I filled out all the paperwork already. I got a van with me and six other Davis College Democrats to come to the caucus. On a side note, they did not encourage my run. The entire hour car ride was them joking about me. They were saying everything from "Don Gibson supports the Iraq War" to "Vote for Don Gibson to make abortion illegal". It was not the most encouraging car ride I had experienced.

Once we all got to the high school in Napa, the whole mindset changed. The game was on. I met up with a fellow Hillary delegate candidate. She had not committed to support a male on her slate so I made a deal that my friends who came would vote for her and me. Due to the ability of people to cast two votes, I was able to help out fellow candidates who pledged to support my run.

I had to shake every hand that walked through the doors of the high school's theater. I knew I could not win only on the fact that six of my friends came but that I had to win uncommitted voters. The odd thing about this run was that a significant number of people came supporting a female candidate but not a male one. The voters had the ability to cast two votes. I had the pleasure of convincing them that I would go for Hillary all the way.

Two different conversations still stick out to me today. One woman asked me "What would cause you to change your vote to Obama?" At the time, the primary was still in full swing and no one was sure who would come out on top. My only response was that "If I was personally insulted by her". The other person who really asked where I stood on his issue was abortion. He asked me where I stood even telling me he was a catholic and strong pro lifer. I could only say that "different people have different ideals of morality and government should not regulate morals" I do not know if I ended up getting the pro-lifer's vote by it was a trying experience.

After producing literature and shaking over 100 hands, all the votes have been cast. The votes for the male ended up being around 89 total votes where I received 45 to my astonishment. Four other males received votes and the female that won was not even from this caucus but was from the one in Eureka. I vowed to ensure that ever American had health care and that we would get out of Iraq as my impromptu acceptance speech.

What happened today?

Governor Dean! Luckily I did not call the contents of his speech as in my last post. He talked about how our current leadership in college democrats is what needs to take the lead to win the swing states for Obama. He asserted that Obama was the candidate of the future and McCain was the one of the past. This is a great way to invigorate the activists at the convention. The big idea was his campaign plan for the country. In 2005 the DNC held experiments with voters about how to increase Democratic turnout in Virginia. Groups that received robocalls or direct mailers increased their turnout by 1% to 2%. While those who were in the neighborhood leaders program had a 12% increase in Democratic turnout. Those people had their door knocked on 4 times for 40 households with members of their own community. According to Dean's speech voters under 30s actually voted more than the 65 and older crowd in the Iowa caucus pushing Obama over the edge. Dean was only a 10 to 20 points away from winning the democratic caucus in Iowa. Even though he did not go down as the candidate, he is doing an amazing job as DNC chairman.

Nothing other than that really happened today. More college democrats flew into town and there was a community service project outside of the University of Denver. But I can not forget to mention this thing. Biden is the VP for Obama! I hope I did not ruin anything for you guys but it came out publicly as many of us were leaving for the evening reception for College Democrats of America. I got the text message at 1:08 am MST.