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New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I’m not a very political person. I don’t follow politics, and haven’t since my more radical days in the 1970’s. But this year has been different. I’ve been energized and inspired by the candidates on both sides of the fence. People seem more engaged, less polarized. And I’ve been keeping an open mind.

The fuel continues to be fired in the comments on ybonesy’s post, Do You Do Politics? There is a lively conversation going on there. I don’t remember many discussions of politics in my childhood. But my mother reminded me (Comment 79) that she was very involved in politics and even met Rosalynn Carter.

My friend Teri commented (Comment 58) about going to see John Edwards speak in St. Paul last Tuesday at the Carpenter’s Union Hall. She was on stage with Edwards; she shook his hand. I was fired up to see what he would do next. The following morning in New Orleans, he announced he was ending his race for the Presidency. His supporters and campaign managers in Minnesota were stunned. Where will they turn next?



New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



I’ve been thinking about voting in the Minnesota caucus next Tuesday – but, wait, how do I do that? I discovered I knew next to nothing about the way the primaries work, or even about the caucus process in my own home state of Minnesota. I had to do some digging to learn about why Minnesota does a caucus and not a primary. We tried once in the 50’s and once in 1994 to adopt a primary system. Both were unsuccessful.

It turns out that voters and politicians feel they have more control over the small town feel of a caucus. WCCO covered these issues in one of their news segments, Good Question when Jason DeRusha asked, Why Do We Do Caucus?

In another of their segments, In The Know, Don Shelby discovered that people are most unhappy in their mid-forties. Well, guess what the median voter’s age in this country is? You can listen to Don’s answer at WCCO – In The Know – Get Don Out Of This Rut. 

Happy or not, I plan to vote in Minnesota’s open caucus on Tuesday. To vote for a presidential candidate, I can show up in my precinct at a certain time and cast my vote. To find out where to vote, you can go to Minnesota Caucus Finder at WCCO’s Minnesota Caucus Resource page.



Georgia To Pennsylvania, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.          Georgia To Pennsylvania, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.          Georgia To Pennsylvania, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.          Georgia To Pennsylvania, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



At the national level, things get even more complicated. The Democratic nominee for president needs to capture a majority of 4,050 delegate votes (on the Republican side, it’s a majority of the 2,348 delegate votes).

For Democrats, state primaries and caucuses select 3,254 pledged delegates, who are obligated to vote for the candidate their state has chosen. An additional 796 unpledged delegates — consisting mostly of party leaders and elected officials — are free to vote for any candidate.


New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  On February 5th, Super Tuesday, Democrats are voting in 22 states with 2075 delegates at stake (Republicans in 21 states with 1081 delegates). New York, California, Illinois and New Jersey are among the biggest states holding Democratic primaries.


SUPER TUESDAY STATES – FEBRUARY 5TH

  • Alabama (Primary) – 60 delegates
  • Alaska (Caucus) – 18 delegates
  • Arizona (Primary) – 67 delegates
  • Arkansas (Primary) – 47 delegates
  • California (Primary) – 441 delegates
  • Colorado (Caucus) – 71 delegates
  • Connecticut (Primary) – 60 delegates
  • Delaware (Primary) – 23 delegates
  • Georgia (Primary) – 103 delegates
  • Idaho (Caucus) – 23 delegates
  • Illinois (Primary) – 185 delegates
  • Kansas (Caucus) – 41 delegates
  • Massachusetts (Primary) – 121 delegates
  • Minnesota (Caucus) – 88 delegates
  • Missouri (Primary) – 88 delegates
  • New Jersey (Primary) – 127 delegates
  • New Mexico (Caucus) – 38 delegates
  • New York (Primary) – 281 delegates
  • North Dakota (Caucus) – 21 delegates
  • Oklahoma (Primary) – 47 delegates
  • Tennessee (Primary) – 85 delegates
  • Utah (Primary) – 29 delegates
  • Democrats Abroad (Primary) – 11 delegates



New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  But it’s not over after Super Tuesday. The last Democratic primary is June 3rd with Puerto Rico (the last Republican, July 12th in Nebraska). And there are many delegate-rich states to go. Here are a few of the Democratic states:


Tuesday, March 4th:

  • Ohio (Primary) – 161 delegates
  • Rhode Island (Primary) – 32 delegates
  • Texas (Primary) – 228 delegates
  • Vermont (Primary) – 23 delegates

Tuesday, April 22nd:

  • Pennsylvania (Primary) – 188 delegates

Tuesday, May 6th:

  • Indiana (Primary) – 84 delegates
  • North Carolina (Primary) – 134 delegates



The New York Times has an excellent breakdown of the primary schedule at:



New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

So you have a better understanding of the primaries. Do you know why young voters are targeted for a big turnout? Or what a Millennial is? Do you know why Missouri is considered a purple state?

Are you confused about where the candidates stand on issues that are important to you? You’re not alone.


I found a couple of helpful tools:

NPR (National Public Radio) 2008 Election Issues: Candidate Positions – the page has an over overview, then if you click the link under each issue, it breaks the candidates down by detail

MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) – Select A Candidate – this survey works the other way around. You choose the answer to each question, based on what you believe about the issue. At the end, you click and it tells you which candidate falls the closest to your own beliefs. You might be surprised!



Georgia To Pennsylvania, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.          Georgia To Pennsylvania, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.          Georgia To Pennsylvania, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.          Georgia To Pennsylvania, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Last night over dinner at Taste of Saigon with my friend, Teri, we talked for 4 hours over dishes of shrimp lo mein, and broccoli and beef. At first, we caught up on our writing projects, writers, and our date to see Louise Erdrich at the Minneapolis Central Library in February. But as the night wore on, we began discussing politics. We were both genuinely interested in what each other had to say.

She asked me if I knew who I was going to vote for on Tuesday. I said I was still keeping an open mind, and though I was leaning a certain way, I really didn’t know.



New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



That was until I got home and watched Clinton and Obama on the last debate before Super Tuesday. I asked Liz to tape it for me. And even though I was exhausted when I got home, I sat and watched carefully as Hillary and Barack debated the issues.

After that, everything changed. I am solidly in Hillary’s camp. She squarely faced off with well thought out details of how she is going to implement her plans on healthcare, Iraq, and immigration. And though she and Barack seem aligned in their Democratic mission and vision, I don’t trust Obama to do what he says he will do. He has Vision, but no plan. And when he responded to Clinton in the debate, he reiterated the details of her proposals, rather than telling me his own.

For me, Hillary offers exquisite leadership qualities and Vision along with a detailed plan to back it all up. I think she will get the job done. She’s an inspiring role model for young girls and women, an example of what it’s possible to achieve, against all odds. I’ve done my research. I’ve looked at their records. I’m voting for Hillary.



New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  New Mexico To Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 2008,photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



All that said, I love the way Obama is rallying young voters and those who feel they need inspiration. He has a certain charisma about him. And his views are so close to Hillary’s, that if he does win the Democratic Presidential nomination, he’s got my vote.

My blogging partner, ybonesy, is taking her daughter to an Obama gathering in New Mexico as I write (his appearance at the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis tomorrow is sold out). I’m inspired that she has the same passion for her candidate as I do for mine. And it makes our blog a richer place to visit.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve learned a lot about the way politics work in this country’s national elections. If there are others as in the dark as I was, I hope this is helpful.

And though I now know who I would like to vote for (unless some strange unforeseen event changes my mind), I’m absolutely sincere when I say this:  it doesn’t matter to me who you vote for. Just get out and vote. From New Mexico to Minnesota, Georgia to Pennsylvania, every vote counts.



-posted on red Ravine, Friday, February 1st, 2008, 3 days before Super Tuesday

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