Comments about ‘Readers' forum: Open primary system’

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Published: Friday, Dec. 2 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

I believe that the letter writer gave a distorted view of the way things work in the caucus system.

In my precinct, we elected delegates based on who they wanted to vote for in the nominating convention. We voted for two delegates who wanted Mike Lee. They voted for Mike Lee. No amount of arm twisting at the nominating convention would have made them vote for Bob Bennett.

Bob Bennett was defeated at the CAUCUS level, not in the nominating convention. He knew that before the convention vote was ever counted. He knew that the PEOPLE had already elected delegates who would NOT vote for him. All of his money, all of his influence, all of his tenure meant nothing to the PEOPLE who elected delegates and charged them to vote for other candidates.

The delegates were trustworthy. They did exactly as they were expected to do. They ignored political pressure from Bob Bennett's camp. The REPRESENTED their precincts.

That is the republican form of government. Our delegates could not be bought and they couldn't be lobbied. Unlike Congress, they fulfilled their duties to the people who elected them.

goatesnotes
Kamas, UT

"They [the convention delegates] put their honesty and integrity in abeyance and went along with these political thieves to oust the popular incumbents (i.e., Gov. Olene Walker and Sen. Robert Bennett) from being on the ballot."

The author is obviously living in some kind of parallel universe. I was neither manipulated nor surrendering my honesty and integrity to "thieves" in ousting Walker and Bennett (you can also add Cannon) at convention. I simply made a judgment as an elected delegate, and favored other candidates. Nobody coerced, manipulated, bought off or cajoled me. No arm twisting was involved, no donations exchanged hands, no promises were made. The caucus/convention process assures these very kinds of disruptions to the political process are eliminated.

Please folks. We can disagree on the viability of candidates without retail name calling and gross generalizations, can't we?

Reminds me of the time-worn statement that all Indians walk backwards, at least the one I saw did.

one old man
Ogden, UT

No, they are simply being Republicans. Integrity and honesty and good sense have no place in that party.

Shimlau
SAINT GEORGE, UT

one old man: having attended many caucus meetings, I can safely say, that the delegates who were elected from my precint, represented the will of those who attended the caucus meetings. I would hope that the democrats also had honorable caucus members that represented the will of their precint members. If you think that all republicans can be bought or sold, then, why hasn't the DNC bought them?

Brer Rabbit
Spanish Fork, UT

I was elected as a state delegate by my precinct in 2010. There were about 90 republicans in attendance and about 8 were nominated to be state delegates. Those that stood up and said that they would listen to all sides in order to form their opinion got very few votes. I stood up and told the caucus that I would not vote for Sen. Bennett under any circumstances and gave them several reasons. I got over 50 votes and the other 7 split the rest of the votes.

Afterwards a woman came up to me and asked if a lot of people in the precinct asked me to vote for Bennett if I would change my mind. I told her NO, because I had made clear my position to those in attendance, and I intended to keep my promise.

I think that it was great to have the primary between two good candidates, Tim Bridgewater and Mike Lee, either of which would have served us better than Sen Bennett. Bennett had stopped representing average Utahns years ago and had joined with the wealthy and political elite, many from out of Utah.

Utah's candidate selection works very well.

durwood kirby
South Jordan, UT

Perhaps it is not the system that is at fault, nor the "integrity" of the delegates. It seems to me that the problem is that the caucuses are populated by folks that tend to be way to the right of the general voter.

I guess it's time for the more moderate voter, which I believe represents most of us, to start showing up at caucus meetings. I just have a hard time believing that what "we" elected reflects the real Utah.

If it does, I think Utah is suffering from a serious, serious dearth of common sense.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Every Republican SHOULD attend his caucus meeting!

Statements like, "caucuses are populated by folks that tend to be way to the right of the general voter" are false and misleading. That poster would have us believe that Republicans are "filtered" as they enter a caucus and that only those "way to the right" are allowed to enter.

If EVERY Republican attended his caucus, we would have the full spectrum of the Republican party to select delegates. Because so many people think that the campaign starts with the primary, they miss out in selecting those who will become candidates.

The caucus IS the place where delegates are selected to vote for a specific candidate. The nominating convention is where those delegates vote as they promised to vote.

If you wait until the primary to get involved, you've let others make the most important decisions for you AND you have no room to complain. If you don't care enough about who is running to go to a caucus, then you just don't care who "wins".

Mark l
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

There is no such thing as 'We the People' and never has been. Some people think it would be nice if we were all like Rodney King "Why can't we all get along?" Well, we can't all get along because we don't agree. Sometimes we disagree completely. But out of our differences a Constitution was created that can lead to prosperity if we follow it. Let's get back to the basics and follow and uphold our Law.

John C. C.
Payson, UT

You all are correct in some way.

Yes, Halvor Olsen, the will of the people was thwarted in the last few years because of those of us who did nothing. We can see it being broken in front of our eyes by those who used the system as designed. They showed up.

As Mike Richards said, the will of the people was thwarted at the caucus level. Shimlau and Brer Rabbit would agree, the delegates did exactly as caucus attendees mandated them to do. Get that? People vs. attendees.

Goatsnotes said, nobody coerced, manipulated, bought off or cajoled him. He represented the will of the attendees.

one old man claims that the Republicans lack integrity, honesty, and good sense. He might be right if current leaders are deliberately thwarting the public will.

Durwood Kirby has it exactly right, . the problem is that the caucuses are populated by folks that tend to be way to the right.

Yes, Mark I, We the People disagree, but the Constitution was created out of those differences and will find a consensus IF we act according to its assumptions. That is, IF we express our disagreements publicly and civilly.

John C. C.
Payson, UT

In a deliberate act of rebellion against democratic and constitutional principles, We the People sat home and allowed a minority to take over. To our shame, we watched delegates act legally and true to their principles as they chose our candidates for us. They chose candidates who proceeded to dismantle our traditional avenues of public expression. Who closed primary elections. Who gave themselves more say over who could appear on the ballots, successfully keeping popular candidates like Chris Cannon, Olene Walker, and Bob Bennett from even appearing on the ballot. Who passed laws making public initiatives, petitions, and referendum votes much more difficult. Who attempted to shut down public access to government records. Who even attacked democracy itself, calling it mob rule.

We chose this through inaction.

But they left one door openthe door through which they democratically mobbed the governmentthe caucuses. Unless we follow their example in March, 2012, we will sit placidly at home and destroy our democracy more effectively than a horde of armed terrorists.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

In the November election, there was one seat to be filled in the city where I live. My wife and I discussed the two candidates. We talked about the effort that each candidate had shown in contacting us. We talked about their views on government. We talked about their history as elected officials. We talked about those with whom they would work. In short, even though there was only one seat to be determined, WE DID OUR HOMEWORK.

We DID NOT enter the voting booth uninformed. We did not simply look at the campaign literature and make our decision based on who had the "prettiest" materials.

How many voters in the 2010 primary election knew anything about the candidates except the 10 second "jabs" that the candidate had authorized? How many voters knew anything about the "person", what he had done, what he stood for, what principles he had?

When voting is based on popularity, we'll get people like Rocky Anderson and Mr. Obama. When voting is based on ability, we'll get people like Mike Lee and Chris Cannon. Lazy people elect pop stars. Our "ills" are self-inflicted.

@Charles
the greater outdoors, UT

@John in Payson: While I can see how you might come to your conclusion I'm going to state that you have it completely backwards.

The silent majority has stayed home and put too much trust in those running for office and believing them when they said they would adhere to the Constitution. As we can see, many have abused this trust.

Conservatives have said enough is enough. So they started getting involved and made their mark on the elections of 2010. This wasn't just in Utah, it was across the country. Many people like Bennett were ousted because of their spending ways and disregard for the Constitution.

As has been expressed numerous times we don't live in a democracy. We live in a republic where we elect representatives.

Bennett put on a full-court press to try to persuade delegates. He tried to stuff "his people" in the caucus' to be elected delegates. The majority said, No thank you. We've had enough.

Some here think conservatives are "too extreme" or "too far right" but have offered no details on what those positions mean.

2010 was the start of the change and 2012 will be the next step.

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