Published: Sunday, March 25 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT
I agree. As pleased as I am to hear that folks like Mike Leavitt and Kirk Jowers
are promoting reforms to the caucus system, I think the system ultimately needs
a much bigger overhaul. Representative democracy is fantastic, but as the author
pointed out, Utah's caucus system is hardly representative and not all that
Of course large turnout is better, but the caucus system works even without a
record turnout. Those who care enough will make the effort and sacrifice to
participate in the process. Tiani says that the caucus system "increases
party power and decreases people power." Actually it's just the
opposite. Her logic sounds somewhat appealing on paper, but in reality it will
lead to incumbent politicians having a much easier time getting re-elected
without being accountable to their constituents. Keep the caucus system.
What the writer missed is that without the caucus, the government would choose
those who would appear on the ballot. The only choice the people would have
would be to vote for a candidate who had been selected for them by the
government. Is that what the citizens of a representative democracy
want? Do they want to vote on candidates that the government put on the
ballot?The caucus allows the people to have a voice. They elect a
delegate, a representative, from their community, to elect the candidates who
will appear on the ballots. The is the very definition of "representative
democracy".Every non-caucus system proposed takes the people out
of the process of selecting candidates. America is not a pure democracy where
the people vote on every issue and America is not a totalitarian society where
the government selects the candidates.
Peanut Gallery: How will doing away with the caucus system lead to
"incumbent politicians having a much easier time getting re-elected without
being accountable to their constituents?" Caucus/Convention lets candidates
avoid primary elections and thus avoid their constituents. That means either
incumbents stay in without being accountable to their constituents, or
incumbents get booted out without letting the constituents get a say.Mike Richards: Could you explain how "without a caucus, the government
would choose those who would appear on the ballot?" Anyone can file for
election and appear on the ballot. The caucus system keeps some or all of those
candidates from appearing on a primary ballot.
"What the writer missed is that without the caucus, the government would
choose those who would appear on the ballot."This is absolutely
untrue. An instant runoff primary system would allow the people's vote and
voice to be considered as to who they want (and don't want) to appear on
the final general election ballot. The "government" has nothing to do
Hmmm... it seems to me that a primary election with all eligible candidates
would be a much better way for all citizens to have a chance to voice their
opinion of who they want to run in the general election. Too many hardworking
people are excluded from having their choices heard under the current system.
re: Clarifying Facts,The caucus system determines who will appear on
a ballot from those who have registered as candidates. Every name appearing on
a Republican ballot has been voted on by Republicans who know the candidate and
who know the issues. At the nominating conventions, if more than two candidates
want the same job, voting continues until there is a majority vote for at least
one of the candidates. If that candidate does not receive 60% of the vote, then
the candidate with the majority vote and the candidate with the highest
non-majority vote appear on the primary ballot.Without the caucus,
the county clerk, i.e., the government, determines who will be on the ballot.
There seems to be this misinformed perception that the caucus/convention/primary
system needs to be full and open to all voters as part of the process used by
political parties to choose their nominees to appear on the General Election
Ballot. To do so otherwise, is not democratic and is unfair.WRONG.Only members of any specific political party have the full
legal right to make the rules regarding HOW that party's respective
nominees are chosen to appear on the General Election ballot for consideration
by all registered voters [see Utah Code 20A-8-401 (2) (c)]. Utah Republicans
have chosen the caucus/convention/primary system to choose their eventual
nominees for the General Election.According to those who advocate
abolishment of the Party caucus/convention/primary system, they are of the
opinion that Republicans do NOT have not right to select their eventual nominees
for the General Election as allowed per Utah Code. Through "mob rule,"
they want to dilute or disenfranchise the members of the Republican Party to
rightfully choose their own nominees for the General Election. That is what
would be unfair and undemocratic for all Republicans.
While I agree that the Republican caucuses are open to manipulation by the GOP,
as indeed the Republican PRESIDENTIAL nominating caucuses seem to have been
(blatantly) this year,in order to favor one candidate over another, to limit and
skew information getting to the people at large etc, that is an argument for
greater and more intelligent participation in caucuses, and greater diligence
and political savvy in those harmed and misdirected by such manipulation, not an
argument for ending the caucus system itself.Perhaps the media would
educate us all better on the caucus system in Utah and give an unbiased rundown
on the candidates -but don't hold your breath.
Open primary – One must have declared a Party on order to
vote.Is given ONLY that party ticket to vote on.A Democrat can
not vote for any Republican, Libertarian, or anyone else – and vis
versa.That winner of the Party election – by “the
people” – then goes on to the General Election.Utah's system is dis-enfranchising, period.Rationalize it all you
want, but that's the facts.
Article 1, Section 4: "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for
Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the
Legislature thereof;"That has been done. The State chose the
Caucus system as the method we use in Utah. That is the law. It's very
simple. We meet as neighbors in a precinct. We elect delegates who will use
all due deliberation to qualify each candidate. Those electors will represent
us at the nominating conventions.We are not a democracy, no matter
how many people might think otherwise. We are a people who elect others to
represent us in all political matters. That system keeps us safe from those
whose wallets are larger than our need for their service.Every
person elected at a Republican caucus was elected by a majority of those voting.
EVERY PERSON. The will of the majority was done. Get over it.
Mike Richards,I don't have a dog in this fight, so I don't
much care about what method Utah uses to choose its candidates. But I have two
questions from your prior posts.First, how would going to another
system (a primary system being the most likely alternative) be the GOVERNMENT
choosing the candidate? I have never lived in a caucus state. But I can tell
you that the govt. does not choose the primary candidates.Second, I
understand that we are a republic and that the folks we vote for, in turn make
the laws and policies for us. But we elect them via a democratic process. We
vote directly for most govt. officials (the president being the rare exception).
Why would voting directly for a party candidate be a problem?The
parties are extra-constitutional anyway. Their mode of governance would not
have to conform to the representational model in the constitution. Also, if
parties electing candidates via a primary is so bad, does that mean the states
that do it that way are somehow outside of the constitutional model?
The best way to fix the problem with the caucuses is to eliminate them. At
least, with a primary election vote, a voter can be sure his/her vote goes where
s/he wants it to go. that's absolutely not true with a caucus.
I agree completely with this writer. I've participated in my Republican
caucus faithfully for decades and have disliked it for just as long. Let's
get rid of government by the party and bring government by the people to Utah.
I, too, have participated in caucuses for over 20 years, and have only felt
disenfranchised every time. Caucuses are loaded with special interest groups.
Few attend caucuses because they normally are poorly publicized to minimize
attendance and because those who have attended have had such a bad experience.
I've seen persons thrown out of a caucus meeting because they wished to
express an opinion. I'd like to have the people of the state, not a few
back room devotees, elect our leaders. Though I've always been
quite conservative, and realize that such a change would bring in many more
moderate ideals, I think we need to do what all the people want, not just a
minute, select few. The practice of electing someone at a caucus, whom we know
nothing about, and have no idea whom he/she will support at his/her convention,
and who is supported only by his cronies, is completely wrong in the USA. Maybe
it is fine in Iran or Syria, but not here. We deserve a voice in who elected
leaders will be. If not, why do we even call them elections?
Several weeks ago KUER and Doug Febrezio had a discussion on the history of the
caucus system. I believe DN and the media should make this history well known.
As I recall, only a few states have caucus systems. Further, Utah had a primary
system, but a certain politician some time in the early 1900s could not get
elected in the primary system after many tries. He knew he could get his cronies
to support him in caucus meetings, though, throughout the state. He had enough
political power to change the state to a caucus system. We have suffered in this
same corrupt system ever since.Please fact check my comments, and
even better, journalists, please give us an accurate history of how and why this
system came about, and who actually participates in caucuses. Thanks!
What's with all the "Anti-Caucusing" people writing to the DMN
today???Did the Eagle Forum or some other group put out a memo to
deluge the DMN with anti-caucus rhetoric today or something?What's so WRONG with neighborhoods getting together to talk about the
issues and pick the best from among them to represent them at the convention?Are the letter writers just a bunch of sore losers???The
Caucus system is NOT THE PROBLEM... APATHY (like we have had in past voter
turnouts) is the problem.The good turnout IS A GOOD THING.Granted your delegate may not have won. Or the delegate selected may have
not agreed with your position on something. But that does NOT mean the whole
system failed.Caucus votes are never going to be Unanimous. They
were never intended to be unanimous rubber stamp votes or a thought-free
endeavor.Just because YOUR agenda was not served... does NOT mean
the caucus system failed.
Just for the record, 2bit, almost all the delegates I supported did win.
However, this was only the case because of the outstanding, historical turnout.
Further, what I have clearly stated is that the caucus process is so flawed that
voters are disenfranchised. Sorry to disappoint you; I'm just glad
we're finally talking about the caucus system that active, caring citizens
everywhere should be disappointed with, and change.
This is the best opinion piece that I have ever read in the Deseret News. I am
a little bit shocked that it was allowed to appear here, but I agree
wholeheartedly with the author.
Party platforms are pre-determined and special interest is rampant. Caucuses by
their nature attempt to weed out delegates and therefore cadidates that
won't tow the party line.I've decided this go-around to
give Americans Elect 2012 a shot. We need candidates who can be themselves and
are patriots willing to work with ALL others for the good of the country. Change without compromise to special interest is what leads to the
breaking of laws or even dictatorship. The constitution is what defines
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