C’mon Texas!

We need those numbers!

Slate has a pretty good Explainer today on why the national press, the campaigns, and the voters, are still waiting for the Texas caucus results.

While the details vary from state to state, caucus night—the night that television stands ready to color a state one color or another—is merely, to use the Democratic party’s technical term, the “First Determining Step” in picking delegates. Simply put, the delegates won at the neighborhood caucuses move up to county caucuses, where they pick delegates to the state convention, where they caucus again and pick their national delegates.

Each step higher than the neighborhood caucus is, chain reaction style, determined by what happened on caucus night. So it’s not too hard to dead reckon how many national convention delegates will emerge at the state convention, months later.

But to make your caucus a media event, you need to get those neighborhood results out to the press, stat, so they can do those national delegate projections. Take Iowa. This year those undisputed caucus pros sent journalists a link to an automatically refreshing website, updated as caucuses results came in in real time. So, while the voters at the middle school I was observing were still klatching and kibbutzing, other caucus sites were reporting before my eyes.

But Texas, new to the spotlight, has party rules and procedures from another media age. They mail—yes, stamp and envelope mail—those results in.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.