The people ranged in age from 18 to 80. There were numerous first-time voters as well as numerous former Republicans who decided to become Democrats. The men and women were of all races: black, white, Hispanic, Asian and others. It was a real cross-section of America and they were all there to participate in our democratic process.
The convention leaders stated that there are now 35,000 more registered Democrats in Nevada than registered Republicans. In Washoe County, there were more than 7,000 newly registered Democrats. The percentage of Democrats participating in the caucus process was at record levels. More than twice than what was expected.
For that matter, in Clark County so many people showed up that they had to reschedule the convention because the facility couldn’t hold them all. Several thousand people couldn’t get in.
What does this phenomenal turnout mean? What has happened to bring out so many individuals to join and participate in the Democratic Party? The convention leaders put it very simply: We are fed up with the past seven years of our president supporting the elite rich at the expense of the average American. We are fed up with denying our children health care. We are fed up with underfunding education and requiring all kids to conform to one national test. We are fed up with a six-year war that we should never have started and can’t seem to end. We are fed up with fear tactics and the attacks on our Constitution.
The way to change all this was to come out and support the high-quality Democratic candidates running for public office. People wanted to be involved to help make a change. They felt empowered, that their single vote mattered and could positively impact their future. This was democracy at its finest hour.
Everyday people – you and your neighbors – took the day to participate in deciding who will lead us. What could be more American? Washoe County gets to send 561 delegates to the State Democratic Convention. Out of the 1,700 delegates attending Saturday, more than half wanted to go. It seemed to be the end of apathy.
I hope the sentiment continues throughout this election year and into the future. People felt that it was OK to want something better for all Americans, that our government should help those in need and not cater to the few but serve the many. It was what democracy should be.
Jeff Blanck is an attorney in private practice in Reno. He can be reached at email@example.com.