The District, with much local fanfare, held the first presidential primary in the nation back in january, ostensibly to draw attention to the fact that D.C. has no representation in Congress. However, bowing to pressure from the national Democratic party, the primary was made non-binding; i.e., people could vote, but the delegates could wind up going to a candidate other than the winner. Then, five of the nine candidates (at the time) dropped out of the primary. Howard Dean got the most votes.
Aaand, the nation ignored it. John Kerry won the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, and a bunch more primaries, and has clearly become the front-runner for the nomination. On Saturday, D.C. held caucuses, which really do count in determining who gets the District's delegates come convention time. Kerry, who wasn't even on the D.C. primary ballot, had the most votes by far and will receive the most delegates. Al Sharpton, the sideshow of presidential candidates, finished second. Dean received the third-most votes.
That's right: Dean, the winner of the January primary in D.C., will receive fewer delegates than two other candidates. Dean, unlike Kerry, actually took a stand on D.C.'s lack of national representation, which you'll recall was the reason D.C. wanted to move up the primary in the first place.
The voter turnout at the caucuses was a staggering 3.5 percent, compared to 16.5 percent for the meaningless primary. For a city that's trying to draw attention to its lack of representation, this has to feel like poking yourself in the eye. After trying to organize a first-in-the-nation and publicize it as a cry for voting rights in Congress, at a cost, oh by the way, of $350,000, they threw out all those votes and went with someone else.
Ladies and gentlemen... your nation's capital.