Clinton Rips Casino Caucuses

ABC News' Teddy Davis and Sarah Amos Report: While campaigning in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, former President Bill Clinton defended a lawsuit challenging the Nevada Democratic Party's decision to permit casino workers to join presidential caucuses at their workplaces, even as he denied that he or his wife's campaign had anything to do with the litigation.

"Do you really believe that all the Democrats understood that they had agreed to give everybody who voted in a casino a vote worth five times as much as people who voted in their own precinct? Did you know that?" Clinton said in a testy exchange with Mark Matthews of KGO, ABC's affiliate in San Francisco. "What happened is nobody understood what had happened. ... Now, everybody's saying, 'Oh they don't want us to vote.' What they really tried to do was to set up a deal where their votes counted five times, maybe even more."

If turnout were incredibly low in the casino caucuses and incredibly high in the regular precinct caucuses, Clinton would be right in warning that votes cast in the at-large casino caucuses could be worth "five times, maybe even more" than votes cast at regular precinct caucuses, according to Bill Buck, a consultant to the Nevada Democratic Party.

Clinton is being disingenuous, however, when he makes it sound as if this feature of the Nevada caucuses was only recently discovered. It's been known for months.

What has changed is knowledge that the Culinary Workers, the union which represents the casino workers, is backing Barack Obama.

Clinton also criticized the casino causues saying: "This is a one-man, one-vote country."

What Clinton left out, however, is that it's not just the at-large casino caucuses which is at odds with "one-man, one-vote."

The regular Democratic precinct caucuses in Nevada are also at odds with "one-man, one-vote."

In rural parts of Nevada, five people are needed to produce one delegate.

In Clark County (home to Las Vegas), 50 people are needed to produce one delegate.

Democrats in Nevada and Iowa structured their caucuses this way in order to encourage candidates to campaign in rural parts of the state.

A federal judge has set a hearing for Thursday to help determine the legitimacy of the at-large casino caucuses.

The Nevada caucuses themselves take place on Saturday.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...