COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., March 2, 2016 — That might have been the headline this morning if the Colorado Republican Party had held a straw poll at last night’s Super Tuesday caucuses. It didn’t happen, though, because the state party felt bound by the rules jammed through at the 2012 national convention by Mitt Romney.
Those rules would have reduced the Colorado national delegation from 38 to 9 had there been an official—even non-binding—straw poll.
As grassroots conservatives, however, many precincts conducted unofficial polls anyway. In northern El Paso County, a sampling of a dozen precincts revealed Ted Cruz as the clear winner. Close behind was Marco Rubio followed by Ben Carson.
John Kasich and Donald Trump were also-rans.
In one precinct Trump received only 2 votes out of 60; in others anti-Trump feeling ran high. One caucus goer expressed his contempt by saying, “I don’t want that bozo as my president.”
In previous election cycles Colorado has been burned by straw polls. In 2008 the poll went for Romney. He dropped out a week later. In 2012 the poll went to Santorum.
Although the caucus process serves other important functions, the straw poll gives the people the same kind of voice in the nominating process that a primary does. Some people come to the caucus just to cast that ballot.
Still, the people want the poll, even though it is not binding on delegates to the national convention.
At a caucus, neighbors get to meet each other, discuss issues, pass resolutions and elect delegates to represent them at country and state assemblies. Those delegates get a sense of the mood of the people. It is grassroots democracy at its finest.
It’s anybody’s guess how a state-wide poll would have turned out but the results in these precincts in the 2008 and 2012 straw polls matched state-wide results.
Because the state GOP chose not to conduct a straw poll, this morning no one officially knows the pulse of the voters on the Republican side in Colorado. That’s a shame because the country knows that Colorado Democrats favor Bernie Sanders by a better than 80-20 split.
That pits the furthest left socialist ideologue on the Democratic side against the strongest Constitutional conservative on the Republican side.
Now you know why Colorado is a battleground state. If only we knew the whole story.