Friday, January 18, 2008

Nevada Caucus Pregame

Things are getting exciting! If I know EW, he's already gone to Vegas to campaign...

I've been curious about the recently dismissed caucus lawsuit. I'm not familiar with the pleadings or the substance (here's one link on the odd math), but here's what troubled me. You are a service union member working in a casino. Your union has endorsed a candidate. Because of your job, you can only attend the unionized casino-worker-only caucus near your job site. Does anyone really think that worker has complete freedom to vote their true preference? The union caucus takes everything bad about caucuses (the bullying, viability requirements, and lack of a secret ballot), and compounds it by mixing it up with work. Is that illegal or unconstitutional? I have no idea (indeed, cf. New York state judge convention decision this week upholding questionable selection process). But it smells terrible in my opinion.

So here's my prediction: Obama carries the union caucuses at percentages much higher than the rest of the state. Controlling for income, ethnicity, etc., the results will still be disproportionately in his favor at those caucuses. At which point, I wonder if anyone else will feel a little bit queasy.



Blogger Earl Warren said...

Tom, that's a fair point if these are indeed "union-sponsored" caucuses run by the Culinary Union. But are they? I'm not sure. I thought they were simply "at-large" caucuses organized at the casinos for EVERYONE working in them -- whether they are members of the Culinary Union, another union, or no union at all. I didn't think the Culinary Union was involved in managing and/or running them in any way, formally or informally. But maybe I'm wrong. I can't seem to track down info on this, but if anyone has any links, that'd be helpful.

1/18/2008 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly feel a little queasy, but I think that's bar review related.

1/18/2008 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not clear on how viability or non-secret ballots are harms that will be magnified at the casino sites, and there are many vocal Hillary and Edwards supporters in the Culinary Workers Union who I doubt will be "bullied" at any caucus location. We also have to consider that there are many non-union casino employees (dealers, security, management, etc.) who will participate in the casino caucuses. I would be more concerned about the disparity between casino workers' access and that of other workers throughout the city who don't have caucus sites close to their workplace.

The nature of the Vegas labor market makes the casinos stand out as reasonable caucus locations...not ideal, but reasonable and worth a try. It really is the backbone of the local economy, and those people keep some strange hours.

1/18/2008 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

while your patrician concerns are appreciated, I trust the adult men and women will free to make their own adult decisions all by their little selves.

1/18/2008 5:07 PM  
Blogger Tom Fletcher said...

Thank you for your insight 5:07, but I fear you miss my point. I firmly believe that all of these adults are able to make up their own mind. What I worry about is whether they will be able to express those intentions in the face of job pressure.

1/18/2008 7:40 PM  
Blogger Tom Fletcher said...

Hmm, totally wrong. Well, just goes to show you. Fatuous. Yup. Thanks for playing folks.

1/19/2008 2:34 PM  

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