Noticing there is a national presidential race warming up, you might be saying, "Honey, hold my earrings, 'cause I'm fixing to jump into this cat fight." Anyone watching the national debacle flower open on TV has some opinions about who should be the next president. Republicans, good luck. Looks like your commander-in-chief is puckering up to succeed himself. Wait and see whether Oklahoma voters are along for that ride.
Democrats, things start get interesting today. Anywhere in Oklahoma, your local Democrat Party wants your input about Democrat candidates for president. It is happening now. In Cherokee County, at the Municipal Armory in Tahlequah, at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 14, bring your many registered Democrat friends and neighbors from all over the county. Every registered Democrat in Cherokee County can participate.
For voters living elsewhere in Oklahoma, call your county election board, get your county's party chair on the phone, and ask the time and location of your precinct meeting. All over the state, Democrats will be grouping up in one spot, by neighborhood. For instance, if you vote at Keys precinct, you'll be teamed up with all Keys voters in one cluster, and you'll have a friendly little impromptu election for your precinct's Democrat precinct officers (chair, vice chair, secretary). This is how the Democrat Party develops its pathway for upcoming national elections at the local grassroots level. Everyone in that little group will talk about who they would like to have for president. The elected precinct officers will be responsible for "bringing in the vote" for Democrats in their precinct.
It is a matter of pride for each precinct to have more registered members of their own party. Though it isn't a strong weapon due to crossover voting and moderate swing votes, Democrat local voter turnout is the only way currently to combat gerrymandering. Precinct officers or their proxies will be attending the local county convention taking place soon, and representing their local as national candidates vie for each neighborhood's vote.
You may love Elizabeth Warren's sensible moderate views, Joe Biden's populism, Beto O'Rourke's fiery freshness, Bernie Sanders' visionary compassion. Here in Cherokee County and in every county in the state of Oklahoma like in every state in America, Thursday night's doings get turned into actual convention floor delegate votes starting at the neighborhood, then county, then district, then state, then national level. Any Democrat can watch from the sidelines, but you must first be elected as a precinct officer to next again vote at county convention.
County delegates are comprised of precinct officers. We elect about eight delegates in Cherokee County. Each county nationwide has delegates based on population. Delegates from all 72 counties in Oklahoma go to two shindigs: district convention (ours is Congressional District 2, of the five congressional districts in Oklahoma), and also the Oklahoma State Democrat Party Convention. At the Oklahoma Democrat Party Convention, local grassroots-elected Democrat citizen voter delegates representing every corner of the state, confab in what can be described as a miniature version of the national conventions you see on TV, where the delegations are seated alphabetically by county. From this ever-filtering process emerges a round of state-level voting for nominees to run on the national ticket. Isn't that exciting?
Each step in the process is aimed at solidifying the common sense of growing sizes of groups for some candidate.
Let's review: Show up, meet your neighbors, take clear notice of the upcoming events, participate, and just keep showing up from now until the election night party. That's how democracy works in a political party system.
Kathy Tibbits is a Cherokee citizen, attorney and artist living at Lake Tenkiller.