Precinct Caucuses empowering


Gabe Kaplan

Gabriel Kaplan

Amid the buzz of the upcoming Super Tuesday and debates over Coronavirus and democratic socialism, I found refuge in my neighborhood’s Precinct Caucuses. 

My neighbors and I gathered Feb. 25 at Minneapolis’s Anwatin Middle School and worked together to participate in the local political process. Although not as intriguing as the larger Democratic primary — where the state party chooses who to endorse for the Democratic nominee — my neighbors and I had the opportunity to advocate for the candidates and the issues we believed in. In addition, we were able to vote on party resolutions and choose delegates to send to the Minneapolis and the Senate District conventions.

I was not eligible to fully participate in the event, but I was still able to attend the caucus as a surrogate for State Representative Frank Hornstein. The meeting was pretty small, just 20 people or so, which allowed us to actually discuss what we were voting on and influence one another. Rather than devolving into a simple shouting match, as discussions so often do at the national level, our’s was entirely wholesome and productive.

I was able to speak on behalf of Hornstein — who I believe will most effectively represent my neighborhood as he has done for nearly 20 years — and some of my neighbors spoke on behalf of issues they cared for. 

As a group, we voted in favor of petitions to the state’s Democratic party calling for stringent action on climate change, a true minimum wage for all workers and more. 

Meetings like the precinct causes, although relatively tame, are essential to the functioning of democracy. Sometimes we may wish to immerse ourselves in the issues of the nation, in the presidential race, in the world of Trump, but we can only do so if we maintain discussion on the local level.

As soon as we are able to vote, it is important that we don’t just ignore local issues and local events. For the security of our democracy, it is key that we participate in events like the Precinct Caucuses just as we do in the presidential primary and general election.