Judging by Super Tuesday caucus attendance at Evergreen High School, local Democratic Party troops are fully mobilized and highly motivated.
Thirteen precincts met at the school for what, during previous election cycles, has been a fairly casual confab.
“Whenever I’ve been here before, we get maybe 100 people, or less,” said Marilyn Kaussner of the Mountain Area Democrats. “This is just incredible.”
Incredible? Half an hour before the scheduled 7 p.m. kickoff, there wasn’t an EHS parking space available for love or money. The recreation center lot filled up next, and people started getting creative, marooning their vehicles along road verges and in makeshift formations between the rows. And still they came, with Buffalo Park Road a solid line of incoming vehicles.
The scenes of action were the EHS cafeteria and the spacious lobby in front of the auditorium. By 6:45, bedlam reigned in both places, and fresh regiments kept pouring in through the eastern doors and down from the main hall.
“I’m very impressed,” said Peg Solomon, enjoying her first caucus immensely. “I think all these people came out because they see a chance of getting a Democrat elected.”
“This is the first time I’ve come to one of these,” said Dean Miller, a Barack Obama supporter, according to his lapel sticker. “Bush and the Republicans have polarized this country, and we need somebody who can bring it back together.”
Judging purely by visible signage, Evergreen’s Democrats considered Obama the man who can do that. The Obama camp quickly ran out of stickers, buttons and placards, while great depots of Hillary Clinton paraphernalia lay unmolested.
“All these people have come because of Obama,” said Barbara Davis, laying to against a brick pillar in the lobby and trying to stay out of the crush. “We need to end the war in Iraq and expand the middle class so we don’t end up like some of those authoritarian countries. The whole world is hoping Obama gets in.”
By 7 o’clock, movement around the lobby had become difficult and, in the cafeteria, hopeless. Site coordinators Barb Johnson and Guy Saato struggled mightily against the tide.
“We’ll be lucky to start by 7:30, and we have to be out of the building by 9,” lamented Saato.
And still they came, some units valiantly marching down from Wilmot Elementary School through the frigid 5-degree night. From somewhere in the cafeteria, former U.S. senator Gary Hart could be heard offering stirring words of encouragement to the faithful, followed by enthusiastic cheers.
By 7:15, the cafeteria and lobby were a dense, immobile mass of Democrats. Numerous attendees bided their time on the stairs above the lobby, either forced out of the press by sheer numbers or simply unwilling to descend into it. Some precinct captains, perhaps making their way down from distant points, had yet to arrive. Others strove heroically to marshal their neighbors and begin debate.
“I’ve heard some people complaining that we’re too disorganized,” Kaussner said. “That’s not true at all. We’re just not organized to handle this many people.”
Slowly, incredibly, individual precincts began coalescing in little knots, and by 7:30 some had actually begun discussions, individuals yelling to be heard above the ambient din.
And still they came, each new arrival fighting her way into the multitude and eager to support her candidate of choice.
By some counts, nearly 600 party stalwarts attended Super Tuesday’s super caucuses at EHS and, as predicted, Obama received the local Democratic Party benediction.
“This is democracy in action!” hollered one precinct captain, standing on a lunch bench to give her voice better reach. “Colorado’s going to be a Democratic state!”