by Andrew Walden
Hawaii Democratic Party bosses are breathing a sigh of relief today. As the results from last night’s Democratic precinct caucuses held in all 51 House districts come in, it is clear that the Obama wave has vanished.
Two years ago, tens of thousands of Obama supporters faced off against Hillary Clinton supporters organized by the HGEA and Dan Inouye. Thousands of previously non-affiliated voters signed Democratic Party cards on the spot to participate in the caucuses and vote for The One. Obama won by about 3-1.
In House District 2, 2008 caucus goers spilled out the doors of the Hilo High School cafeteria as hundreds more jammed inside. But the March 3, 2010 caucus at the same venue saw table after table empty. About 30 lonely Democrat stalwarts huddled together in the otherwise abandoned room.
A similar scene played out at the Democrats House District 3 meeting. In 2008, voters lined up outside the Hilo ILWU hall to wait for a chance to cast their ballots. Parked cars filled every spot for blocks around. But last night, only about 25 people showed.
This is a huge victory for the Democrat insiders who had quietly expressed deep concerns about a bunch of newcomers taking over their clubby little operation.
Two years ago, 37,000 people showed up to vote in the Democratic caucuses. Hawaii Democrats got thousands of new members. But they didn’t get new voters. Six months after the caucuses, turnout of eligible voters in Hawaii’s November, 2008 Presidential vote was the second-lowest in the nation. Hawaii’s 2008 turnout dropped below the levels of 2004.
This year, if the House District 2 and 3 attendance is reflective of the whole, fewer than 2,000 people will have shown up Statewide.
It takes skill to drive away that many people, and the old-boy faction of Hawaii Democrats definitely has that kind of skill. They don’t want idealistic liberal types interfering with their power games.
Uncle Dan smiles broadly.
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