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Thu Jun 13, 2019, 08:31 PM

Kansas Democrats' changes to presidential selection laudable, but incomplete

“Help! I’m being held hostage!”

I received that text from a friend the afternoon of March 5, 2016, and immediately the worst came to mind. Had he been carjacked? A home invasion? I texted back and asked him where he was. The reply: “Topeka West High School at the Kansas Democratic presidential caucus!” I had been to the caucus earlier in the day to report on the event but had left after an hour.

Never did I dream that hours later the Democrats would still be caucusing.

The caucus system for picking delegates to send to the party’s national political convention — made famous by the Iowa caucuses — is a noble idea: People gather together, talk about the candidates, speechify and then vote on slips of paper. Multiple votes are usually taken to reach the vote thresholds, which demand that minor candidates’ votes get reallocated. I’ve been to Iowa caucuses for both parties, and they are indeed fun as Iowans relish the process, with great turnout, impassioned speeches and dramatic outcomes. However, in other states, including Kansas, party members shun the caucuses like the prospect of mowing a lawn full of chiggers with shorts on.

To wit: turnout in the 2008 and 2016 Kansas presidential caucuses averaged 9 percent. A stunning 91 percent of Kansas Democrats did not participate in the process of picking their presidential candidate. Based on turnout alone, the Kansas Democratic presidential caucuses have been epic failures.

Read more: https://www.cjonline.com/opinion/20190612/kansas-democrats-changes-to-presidential-selection-laudable-but-incomplete
(Topeka Capital-Journal)

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