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Comments about ‘Letters: Caucuses are ineffective’

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Published: Friday, March 23 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Without the caucus, just how would the candidates for the party be selected? Would the primary ballot have ten names on it? Do we want someone who receives 10% of the ballots' cast to be the party's nominee for the general election?

The caucus system is fair. The people elect delegates to represent them at the nominating conventions, just as we elect Congress to represent us and our State. That is the pattern selected for a Democratic Republic.

Telling us that the system does not work, after only spending one evening of an entire life at a caucus might be a little bit presumptive. Just what didn't work? Did the letter writer do his homework before attending the caucus? Did he attend town hall meetings? Did he contact candidates? Did he talk with others in his precinct before attending the caucus? Was he prepared to discuss issues and candidates.

In a Republic, the people have work to do BEFORE voting. It's not up to the Party to decide who will run, it's up to the people.

goatesnotes
Kamas, UT

The letter writer has set a new low in quality, and so has the DNews in enabling. The letter adds little to the dialogue in any "thoughtful" way.

If you are a "conservative Republican" with the intent to vote "straight Democratic" until this situation is resolved to your satisfaction (which you leave undefined), then please return to your corner and pout.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

I don't like the caucuses.

Open them up for everyone.

I get tired of living in an Oligarchy. I want freedom and Democracy.

casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT

Sad, but true.

VST
Bountiful, UT

The opinion writer stated "...there is no possible way that the state or county delegates can adequately represent my views..." as a basis for attacking the caucus/convention process.

I have a question for the opinion writer. Did it ever cross your mind that just maybe "your views" do not coincide with the views of the majority of caucus attendees who selected those state and county delegates?

PeanutGallery
Salt Lake City, UT

To the letter writer: Sorry, but I find it hard to believe that you care much about conservative principles if you're willing to abandon ship over this. Also if you're unwilling to run as a delegate. It sounds like you just want to complain, with no commitment. The caucus system works just fine, and does not need to be changed.

Lifelong Republican
Orem, UT

I always vote DEM in the local elections just for the reason that the inmates are running the asylum in Utah. Once the Republicans made public education the enemy of choice, I could no longer support them locally, seeing what they are trying to do.

I vote Republican nationally because I don't agree with a lot of the Dems agenda on abortion and other things.
But until this state's republican party start strengthening our schools, I can't support them.

Sen. Osmond is giving me hope this year but it is going to take a LONG time to get rid of what Stephenson and his gang have done to our kids here in Utah. We need to elect some PRO public education (that doesn't mean charters or vouchers) candidates that care about ALL of our kids.

Only then will I return to voting Republican in Utah's elections.

Many will blow this off as one person but there are a lot of people in my area that feel the same way and they are finally speaking up.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

I like the idea of the caucus, but the one I went to waas incredibly boring and disorganized. Why do they have to spend all that time reading the rules? Preposterous, we're adults, we can read them for ourselves. Let's hear from the delegates, debate the issues, do something intelligent!

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Caucuses are not always effective. But they are also not the worst way to start the process of select the initial group of candidates. What method would YOU suggest Curt? If you don't have a solution... maybe you should work on that for a bit instead of spending your time just complaining.

IMO this year's Utah Republican Caucuses were quite ineffective. But the reason isn't because caucuses are an inherently ineffective way to get the citizens involved, educated and invested in choosing the primary candidates. This caucus was different because it was dominated by ONE TOPIC, which polarized our neighbors so much that no other topics mattered. I think 90% of the people were there to either insure Hatch was NOT on the ballot, or to insure that he WAS on the ballot.

When it becomes a ONE TOPIC caucus... it does become ineffective, because so many other REAL neighborhood issues and concerns get ignored.

Like you said... it's hard to find the delegates that most represent you on most things... when all that is discussed is ONE THING. That's what made this years Republican Caucus ineffective IMO.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@Mike Richards
"Without the caucus, just how would the candidates for the party be selected? Would the primary ballot have ten names on it? Do we want someone who receives 10% of the ballots' cast to be the party's nominee for the general election?"

Seems to work just fine for the presidential race and of course Romney's going to win the nomination despite having only about 40% of the votes.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

Hey, all you fed-up Republicans, welcome to the Democratic party! Meanwhile, Utah Republican party, don't change a darn thing!

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Three cheers for the man who actually thinks with his own brain.

All people, even us dummies, have a right to vote on the leadership of our government. The notion of only the well informed should vote is a criminal action against the Constitution of the United States.

The vote of a misinformed person, though he may have worked very hard to become informed, is a thousand times worse than the vote of a merely uninformed person.

Conservatives, republican, business people and even religious people are wrong about freedom, liberty, rights and the American Constitution. Their taskmasters spend billions of dollars to misinform them and point them in the wrong direction.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Party caucuses are simply a tool used by unscrupulous politicians to further distance and isolate the voter from actually having a voice in government. Each step in the representation process dilutes and weakens the voice of normal people so that the party bosses, buyers and sellers of government can ply their trade

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Ultra Bob
I wish YOU would think with your BRAIN for once (and not just emotion).

Hint... Caucuses are NOT an election. The campaigns and the primary election and the final election come LATER. The caucus phase is not the time to require a full election (where every person gets a vote).

You are right that in an ELECTION every citizen who cares enough to show up to vote has a right to select our community/state/nation's leadership. But big hint... CAUCUSES ARE NOT AN ELECTION. It's a PARTY FUNCTION... to select the candidates they will support for the general election.

You would have to be an idiot to not understand what a CAUCUS meeting is. Hint... It's NOT an election!

And to just blame everything on "conservatives", "republicans", "business people", "religious people", etc... is just LAME.

The DEMOCRAT party has caucuses too you know.

Alex H.
Provo, UT

Based on the comments so far, those supporting the caucuses seem to think there is no other way to elect candidates. They don't see that the national trend has been AWAY from caucuses and toward primaries. Participating in the Republican caucus as a student was impossible; I can't be a delegate because, like everyone I know under 25, I move a lot. Since the delegates apparently don't have to commit, my vote doesn't matter to my party. Even if this weren't the case, I don't know the rules , let alone how to use them to discuss the issues. In fact, fewer than 5 people out of over 100 in my caucus did. Instead of this outdated, complicated process which is hostile to the participation of your children and anyone else new in politics, let's move to a primary system to select candidates. This will let everyone, not just those already in political power, participate. If you don't want to do this, please let your party leaders and the LDS Church know, so they don't waste money trying to recruit us, shut down BYU on the evenings of the caucuses, etc.

Bifftacular
Spanish Fork, Ut

Curt, I think I might know you. I remember a kid in my neighborhood that always threw a temper tantrum and stormed off in tears when he didn't get his way instead of sticking around and doing what he could to change the situation. You? So, you'll go against your core values, beliefs, and ordinary commons sense and vote straight opposite party line simply because you're not getting your way? Nice. None of us have the perfect candidate to vote for, even if we're fortunate to be a delegate in our respective political party convention. Nor do we have that luxury in the general primary. They key is to vote for the BETTER of the two, three, or four candidates. But you go ahead and pull your "adult" temper tantrum. See how far that gets you.

Really???
Kearns, UT

Primary elections would work just fine. I am frustrated that I am left out of the picture in voicing my opinion of political candidates because I was working during the times the caucus meetings were being held. Caucuses seem to be set up to exclude people who have other commitments they cannot get around to be at those meetings.

Allowing us to select from a larger pool of candidate during a primary election would allow us all to have our voices heard. We could arrange to vote during the day of the elections, and we could even vote by absentee ballot if we happened to be out of town during the election.

I understand we have a representative form of government, but I have been afraid of the representation we have been getting at the caucus meetings in recent years.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

2 bits of Cottonwood Heights, UT

Because of the philosophy the people of Utah, it is almost a sure thing that the person elected to the government office will be a republican. Most voting people in Utah are conservatives and most conservatives are republicans.

Yet even among conservatives there is different wants and desires from government. So in the caucus of 100 people, there are 100 different opinions. The election held at the caucus boils that down to one or perhaps a few opinions that will be sent to the convention.

At the convention the buying, selling, trading of wants and desires will eventually boil that down to one opinion per job available and that one opinion probably will not be the one opinion to represent the other thousands of opinions that were dropped along the way.

Sorry about that thinking part, I sure did think that when people voted in the caucus and the convention, that was called an election.

On the other hand
Spanish Fork, UT

I know of an alternative to the caucus system that would:

* allow everyone who wanted to vote to have an equal say
* disincentivize "strategic voting" (e.g., voting for the candidate one considers weakest)
* accurately identify the community's preferred candidate regardless of the number of candidates on the ballot
* not require anyone to attend a meeting at a specific time and place

It's called range voting.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

The caucus system is the best way to make sure grass roots movements can work over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2,000,000 in election funds.

There were about 60,000 republicans in Utah that went to the neighborhood caucus elections in 2010 to elect the 3500 delegates. Add to those numbers to democrats and the primary elections and certainly the municipal elections didn't do any better in voter representation. This year the numbers are 2 or more times that with 4000 state delegates and more than that county delegates.

Most people that want the caucus system changed, there are exceptions, are frustrated that they don't have as much power as people that show up to the neighborhood election caucus meetings. It doesn't take money, you just have to show up.

What we need are more people getting involved earlier, not shutting down the system that protects us from power hungry people wanting to take over.

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