I tried to figure out who I’d caucus for. Here goes my thought process

Yuck. I was trying to figure out how to start a post about the presidential race as our state caucuses approach this weekend, and that was the only word I could come up with. I even tried to find a way to make this post funny, and, still, all I could think of was “yuck.”

So sorry, Stephen, registered Maine Democrat, age 46, a former classmate who approached me about doing a humorous post about how he’s a liberal supporting Trump. I thought for sure beginning this post with a bit about a Democrat for Trump would be hilarious and provocative. It should be.

Unfortunately, other than serving to speed up the demise of our two parties as they now stand, while giving rise to the more reasonable majority of unenrolled voters, I can see no purpose for his candidacy — not even laughter at this point, and I can laugh at just about anything.

And sorry, husband and wife readers with initials C and K. You know I’ve come to adore you both, and I truly intended to follow your lead. C and K, like me, are unenrolled, but found themselves completely unnerved by this election cycle. So they lowered their heads and their standards, and entered their town office to enroll temporarily as Democrats, so they can vote for Sanders this weekend.

C and I discussed the conundrum: Which is worse? Having to associate one’s name with the evils of current party politics or, by not participating, condoning the two candidates that the parties are most likely about to unleash on the general electorate. I really meant to follow their lead, but, I confess, C and K, I didn’t do it.

Republican U.S. presidential candidates (L-R) Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich stand at their podiums at the start of the U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate in Detroit, Michigan, March 3, 2016. (Rebecca Cook | Reuters)

Republican U.S. presidential candidates (L-R) Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich stand at their podiums at the start of the U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate in Detroit, Michigan, March 3, 2016. (Rebecca Cook | Reuters)

Part of it was (and for the humor-challenged, this part is tongue-in-cheek), I spent some of the week hiding from lesbians I may have angered when I attempted to laugh at my own poverty and at being mistaken for a lesbian. I have yet to read the comments from the post to that effect, but my not-lesbian friend Laura has. She suggested that, if I did read them, I would lump most of them collectively together and add them to the long list of reasons I don’t self-identify as a feminist.

More seriously, I just wasn’t sure what was strategically the best thing to do with my little lone vote. Sure, I’d prefer Sanders to Clinton on integrity alone, but it seems pretty clear the powers that be in the Democratic Party, superdelegates and all, are hell bent on anointing Clinton. Superdelegates are not beholden to voters and are free to align with the candidate of their choice. Before voting even started, Clinton had 359 superdelegates to Sanders’ eight.

Nationally Clinton entered the caucus/primary part of the race — the voting part of the race — with a 15-percent lead. Here in Maine, she’s already secured three of our five.

On the Republican side, Ohio Gov. John Kasich also stands alone on the integrity factor. Powers that be have zero control of the yuck on the Republican side, though. Steadfast conservatives like Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain are calling for order within the party — order that does not include a Trump candidacy. How yucky for our state that Trump answered Romney’s statements in his usual distasteful fashion right here in Portland.

So when it came to which party to enroll in, I was honestly torn. A majority of Maine’s Democratic superdelegates have spoken, which feels like trickle-down politics from the folks who hate trickle-down economics. I couldn’t help but feel my lone vote for Sanders wouldn’t serve much of a purpose, nor do I like the idea of participating in a democratic process that includes the elitist concept of superdelegates who are not bound to the wishes of voters.

Republicans, who are reaping what they have sown in recent years with the hullabaloo Trump has caused, need help making sure Trump doesn’t secure a majority of delegates. Republicans also need help getting a grip on their party, but that’s secondary to making sure they don’t unleash Trump on the general electorate or, heaven forbid, the world stage. In that light, I gave serious consideration to enrolling as a Republican and voting for Kasich.

So here I sit on the Friday before the caucuses, still unenrolled and wishing our election process were different on many levels: open primaries/caucuses; a shorter cycle; a more responsible, less glam-oriented national media. Plus it would be nice for the media to more fully explain what percentage of overall voters primary and caucus participants represent.

As I’ve written before, unenrolled voters make up a majority of voters, followed by Democrats, then Republicans. So when we talk about one third of Republicans supporting Trump, we are talking about one third of the smallest voting block in our country. Yet the non-stop coverage of Trump would have voters thinking he’s being supported by vast majorities.

I do like the idea that Maine Democrats provided for absentee ballots in their process this year, but I learned about them too late to participate. (The deadline was Wednesday — the same day lesbian anger forced me into hiding, LOL.) I could register at the caucus itself and attend, but there’s no way I can commit to three hours of listening to Democratic demagoguery and then vote with a clean conscience with that ‘D’ next to my name.

My conscience could have allowed me to show up, register temporarily, vote for Sanders, and leave quickly — a process the Republicans offer. So technically, I could still show up at the nearest Republican caucus site, register temporarily, and cast a vote for Kasich and against Trump. The idea that our election process has reduced me to such thinking is disturbing, though.

Chances are, I’ll be holding my own private caucus this weekend, literally praying that reasonable minds prevail. It would be nice to end the weekend knowing our state’s delegates are behind Sanders and Kasich, but I’m not sure that’s likely. I am sure that both parties need a long, reflexive look in the mirror as this cycle comes to an end.

I am even more sure, however, that we the people of these United States of America need to take a long, hard look at what we’ve let our political system become. “Yuck” is not the first word I want to come to mind when I think about selecting a president for the greatest nation on earth.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.