It’s no mystery that Republicans are rare creatures in Boulder County, becoming all the harder to spot as you narrow your search to Boulder itself and its youthful epicenter, the CU campus.
But is that the case even on caucus day, after three of the top Republican nominees barnstormed the state from Colorado Springs to Grand Junction? Sure enough, according to an article in the Daily Camera tellingly titled “Republican caucuses not on the radar at CU-Boulder.” The article is short but jammed with embarrassments for any CU alum, right-leaning or not. Students quoted in the article, including Republicans, could apparently not care less that there’s a caucus being held in Colorado tonight, if, in fact, they knew what a caucus was in the first place. A video accompanying the story is like a less-funny version of The Tonight Show’s Jaywalk Allstars, in which random students draw a blank when asked if they know about the caucus.
“What’s a caucus?” asks one student repeatedly.
The article hints that the students themselves aren’t entirely to blame, citing an utter lack of posters, flyers or handouts from the university or local GOP groups informing students of when and where to vote. But surely the Camera overlooked a robust online presence of campus Republicans, right? I mean, who hands out “flyers” when you can make announcements on your Facebook page and Twitter feed? It wasn’t long ago when the Camera interviewed the Doogie Howser-ish president of the CU College Republicans, Gregory Carlson, who said, “I’ve never seen so many students and Republicans and independents so active” back in 2010.
Well, apparently that was then. A quick Google search for “CU Boulder College Republicans” turned up a lot of dry sockets. Something called Republican Buffs hasn’t tweeted in a year and its webpage is expired. Even Gregory Carlson hasn’t tweeted since September. Facebook yielded a bit more of an active site, College Republicans at CU-Boulder, but their only mention of the caucus was a link posted over the weekend about where to find your precinct meeting place. There were no posts about it on caucus day.
It’s hard to blame them. Not only is the slate of candidates lackluster (at best) and failing to inspire many Republicans anywhere, but compared to primaries, caucuses are a pain in the rear. Registered voters show up at precinct polling places, including the one on the CU campus, vote in a poll for their preferred candidate, then elect chairmen, secretaries and delegates to the county and district assemblies. Delegates to higher caucuses are among the pool selected to attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August, where the nominee will be elected. It’s a lot of hullaballoo, to be sure, but it’s about as grassroots as you can get. For a concise and more detailed explanation, see the FAQ on the Colorado GOP website. It’s worth a read, especially if you’re a CU student. There’s no telling when a Daily Camera reporter is going to show up with a video camera to give you a pop quiz.