To me, this is democracy at its finest. No big donors or lobbyists or media swarms. It’s politics at the local level.
Last night, the Missoula County Democrats held their convention to select delegates to the state and then national convention.
About 80 people showed up at the Hellgate High School auditorium: split pretty evenly between the Sanders camp and Clinton supporters. There were perhaps a few more on Bernie’s side.
Missoula county voted 60 percent for Sanders and 36 percent for Clinton in last Tuesday’s primary. (One has to wonder who the four percent voted for.) By the party formula, that means Missoula gets to send 19 Bernie delegates to the state convention and Hillary gets 11.
The crowd was pretty much as you’d expect. More past and present elected officials and older, established Democrats in the Clinton delegation — more younger, political outliers in the Sanders contingent.
There was crossover, though: a few grayhairs (like me) with Sanders and some youngsters (that’s anyone under 30) with Clinton.
There was even a house divided: a Missoula County legislator on the Hillary side and her husband on the Bernie side.
I refer to them as “sides” because the auditorium was split down the middle. The Clinton camp caucusing and voting stage left and the Sanders crowd doing the same stage right.
This would be a much more exciting post if I could report a grand, fists-flying melee but everyone got along famously, with folks from both sides crossing over from time-to-time to chat.
Some other things I was proud of: Missoula County is sending more delegates to the state convention than any other county in Montana (take that, Yellowstone County) and then, just watching a small ‘d’ democratic process in action. It gives me renewed faith, at least at the local level, in party politics.
Of course, the further you get from the grassroots, the skankier things become.
I’ll post more from the state convention in Helena, which convenes tomorrow, and maybe from the national convention in Philadelphia at the end of July. Montana gets to send 27 delegates to national. Six of those are ‘superdelegates’ who have already been selected and the competition for the remaining 21 seats could be fierce. We’ll see what happens.