Caucusing while brown

This is the time of year when states that use a caucus system, like Minnesota, will have caucus training. Flawed as it is, it’s part of the package, and if you want to be politically effective, it’s perfectly normal to learn how to do it. We’ve never had a complaint about training people, and it’s bizarre to think that someone would complain about learning basic civic duties.

But then, this is a rather white part of the state. Caucusing while brown would be a whole different story…at least as far as Republicans are concerned.

Warnings from GOP legislators that Muslim voters plan to “infiltrate” Republican caucuses appear to have galvanized Muslim efforts to get out and caucus. But Muslim leaders say the rhetoric has extended well beyond the content that the two Republican representatives have shared.

It started with a Facebook post that said a “Macalester professor from Bangladesh” led a recent caucus training at a mosque. Dave Sina, chairman of the 4th Congressional District GOP, wrote that the training “encourages them to infiltrate them all, Republican, Democratic as well as Green and independent.” The post went on to say that “the easiest is the Republican, because they don’t show up.”

As the article points out, this is training to participate in elections, which has rather different implications than infiltrate. They are proposing entirely legal activities which are in fact encouraged by society. I watched the introduction to this training video on facebook, and while I’m not at all a fan of ISAIAH, a group that tries to encourage non-partisan political partisan by faith groups, everything the speakers say is exactly correct, fair, and just. (I’m not a fan because of sour grapes — I’d like to see more secular training).

But read the comments. People are freaking out. She talks about how to “build political POWER”! The Muslims are going to take over! They’re TAKING OVER! We’re DOOOOOOOOOMED! You can almost hear the shrieks of horror at the idea that minority citizens of the state might actually get out and vote.

By the way, it’s true that Republican caucuses are small. At the last one, the Republicans just held it at someone’s house; the Democrats took over a big meeting room at the big bar in town, and had volunteers at stations to help guide the mobs of people who showed up to their positions and to explain the procedures. It was standing room only.


  1. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    The real downfall of the Republican party was when they let Xtian fundies infiltrate. Then the Trumpkins infiltrated, and they were done.

  2. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Even in states with primary elections, D’s should cross over to vote in the R primary. It wouldn’t take that many to have a significant effect.

    RWNJ GOP politicians mostly fear losing a primary. Let’s bring their fears to life.

  3. unclefrogy says

    the reaction just illustrates that the conservative does understand nor trust democracies fundamental principles at all.
    it will never be We The People in any inclusive way. I suspect that at heart many would even accept a king instead of a vote.
    uncle frogy

  4. Rich Woods says

    @unclefrogy #4:

    Accept a king? Some of them will only be happy with nothing less than a Leviathan.

  5. says

    While I think it is a good step for Muslims to learn how to caucus, minorities can have a disproportionate and wholly undesirable effect on politics. In Australia’s federal parliament the conservative government is dependent of the votes of a few wacko fundamentalist senators to get its legislation through. One of them a fundamentalist extreme right wing Christian has just defected to the government. How tiny a minority does she represent? She was elected with just over 150 votes out of a population of over 20 million. An even bigger irony. She was originally an African refugee. Not only does the government run torture camps for refugees which make Guantanamo look like a picnic it is currently courting votes by bashing African migrants accusing them of belonging to criminal gangs.

  6. eleanor says

    Reminds me of how racists and idiots in the UK completely lost their minds when a Muslim woman (wearing a headscarf, moreover!) won a TV baking competition.
    “Racial tensions are the fault of immigrants who don’t want to integrate.”
    “Look, here is someone from an immigrant background participating in wider society.”
    “Waah! A liberal plot to take away opportunities from native Britons! Political correctness gone mad!”

  7. Helen Huntingdon says

    @9 Am I the only one continually bewildered by demands that women wear LESS clothing? I’ve seen slut-shaming and demands that we cover ourselves my whole life. And a hijab is a practical thing to wear in MN more often than not — the biggest thing I noticed at first after the Somalis arrived was that it was all of a sudden possible to get scarves big enough to really wrap your entire head and shoulders thoroughly, but light enough to be used as a veil, for which I was profoundly grateful. Then again, I’ve never noticed anyone in MN complaining about hijab, or has it started there too?

    I got mistaken for a covered woman more than once, but trust me, the giant scarves wrapped in many layers are the way to go when the windchill is bitter and your face hurts. Even better, if you get the ones of the right weight, you can drop a single layer over your entire face and still see well, particularly if you wear glasses and the scarf layer is right against your glasses. It’s wonderful how much better life is with a veil when the air hurts your face.