Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: No Caucus For Old Men

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So, are you going to the caucus tomorrow?

I'm gonna try.

What do you mean "try?"

Let me tell you something, Junior. It ain't easy for a guy whose feet hurt half the time to stand around outside on concrete for two hours, waiting to get into a joint that he may or may not be able to get into when it's all said and done. And even if he does get in, he might have to stand around inside for another couple of hours because all the seats are taken.

You think it will fill up, Mr. Cope? And that quickly?

It did last time. Last time, there was a line that went around the block three times, waiting to get into that joint.

But that was when Obama was running. I was there. We were all for Obama.

Not all of us. I was there, too. My wife and I. And we were there for Hillary. Last time, just like we'll be this time. If we go.

Uh-huh. I remember seeing you there. All hunkered down in that little bitty clump of Hillary people, totally surrounded by a sea of Obama people. You lost, you Hillary people.

Yes, Adlai. We Hillary people lost last time. And I have a strong suspicion we Hillary people will lose this time, too. Which makes it all the more difficult to decide if I want to put my feet through all that misery, just for the privilege of being on the losing side once again.

You think she'll lose tomorrow night?

I do. It is my experience that Idaho Democrats tend to go for the more outsidier candidates during their caucuses. Like last time. They went overwhelmingly for Obama, who was, at the time, the most outsidiest of the remaining candidates. The first caucus I ever went to... '84, I believe, though it could have been '88... Jesse Jackson won the Idaho delegation. Go figure.

And you think Bernie is more outsidey than Hillary.

Don't you?

Well, I guess so. I'm going to vote for him, and that's one of the reasons, if not the only one. That he's not so much part of the establishment as Hillary. I guess that makes him an outsider.

See what I mean? That's why I think Bernie will win tomorrow night. At least in Ada County. Because so many of you younger snots are Bernie fans, while it is my observation that older Democrats are more likely to be Hillary fans. Now, if it were a primary instead of a caucus, it might be another matter.

Because?

Because I'm not the only old fart whose feet hurt him whenever he stands around on concrete for hours and hours, nor am I the only old fart who's figured out that what happens in an Ada County, Idaho, presidential caucus... or primary, for that matter... makes about as much difference in the total campaign as a pinch of salt in a tub of sea water.

Then... if I have this right... you're saying caucuses favor the wishes of younger people, while primaries favor the older people.

Maybe not "favors" old people. But evens it out some. Think about it, Hubert. How many elderly people... who are the most dependable voting demographic, by the way... how many would choose to drive downtown at five o'clock in the afternoon on a work day, find parking, totter over to the caucus site with their walkers and canes and bad eyes and bad knees and bad hips and incontinent bladders all the other fun shit that comes with living past 60, all to cram into a confined space with an untold number of screaming, flopping, poster-waving babies, if there were another way? And there's no such thing as early voting in a caucus. Or voting by mail.

But... like you said... being an Idaho voter is like "a pinch of salt in a tub of sea water," anyway. So why do we even bother?

Because we should, Jimmy. Because it's our country, too. Because we feel guilty if we don't. Because it's our duty. Because it's our privilege. Because we can. Take your pick.

Sounds like you'd be having a little trouble living with yourself if you don't go.

I would. No doubt about it. But then... if I do go... I'll be having a little trouble living with my feet. So it comes down to which discomfort I think will last longer.

Looks like you have a rough day of deciding ahead of you, Mr. Cope.

I certainly do, Franklin. I certainly do. Incidentally, some day soon, you and I are going to have to have a little talk about that "establishment" you're so worried about.

Sure, Mr. Cope. Any time you think your feet can handle it.