A few final thoughts from last nights' caucuses.
- The ward that I live in has a large community of Orthodox Jews and they were out in full force at the caucus. One of the precinct conveners told me that the Orthodox leadership in the US had issued a call for Orthodox Jews to become more active in the political process including voting and attending caucuses (without specifying who they were to support of course). I don't know what sort of impact if any this will have on national or state politics, but I would guess that it some communities with large Orthodox populations, it could be a factor.
- I noticed that the discussions last night between the Ron Paul supporters and those who favored other candidates was very civil and respectful. It seems that a lot of Republicans are very sympathetic to at least some part (or parts) of Paul's agenda. I would definitely include myself among them when it comes to his views on the proper role of government. If the eventual GOP nominee goes down to defeat this year (a pretty likely prospect), I could see an opening for a conservative candidate in 2012 to try to combine some of Paul's positions on government along with his pro-life stance with what I would call a more realistic view of the role of the US in the world. It would be a delicate balancing act and might alienate some of the current hardcore Paul supporters, but it's an interesting prospect to consider.
Finally, an e-mail from Mike on his first time:
I attended my first caucus tonight. Pleasantly surprised, I found a familiar face in my neighbor who I half expected to see but even more so - my immediate neighbors' 18 year-old son wearing a Huckabee t-shirt. This is important because his parents shunned me when they saw my then 2-year-old wearing a BUSH/CHENEY t-shirt in '04.
Nothing like a good ol' fashioned shunnin' to bring neighbors together.
Ultimately I enjoyed and learned from the experience but here is my main takeaway (yes, I work in corporate, sound-bite-ridden America): more caucus-goers than ever seen by the 'regulars'. More than 3X the most previous I'm told. And I couldn't help but notice as I neared Wayzata Middle School that the stop-n-go traffic started a couple of miles out! I parked on a snow bank in a no parking zone so there were many encouraging signs.