Comments about ‘Letter: Caucus system works’

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Published: Sunday, March 25 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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PeanutGallery
Salt Lake City, UT

Great letter. I agree. Our caucus system helps to counteract the overwhelming power of incumbency, and helps motivate our politicians to keep their word. The caucus system gives a voice to those who are willing to make the sacrifice and effort to participate in the process. Keep the caucus system as is.

On the other hand
Spanish Fork, UT

The letter presupposes that parties ought to have the power to put people's names on the general election ballot, with the party names next to the party's candidates. Party people keep talking about how political parties are private entities and caucuses are how they conduct their own private business. I say let them be private entities, and don't let them put candidates' names, or their own party name, anywhere on the ballot.

PeanutGallery says our caucus system "helps motivate our politicians to keep their word." I disagree. The caucus system helps motivate politicians to appease the extreme elements within their political party. Witness the drastic rightward shift of Orrin Hatch. I much preferred the guy when he would actually work with people and solve problems. Now he's just playing the grandstanding game with his new obstructionist colleague, Mike Lee. The caucus system serves the interests of extremists and strips the majority of participants of a real voice in the process. If that's what it's supposed to do, then it certainly does "work."

ugottabkidn
Sandy, UT

Question, what is the difference of radical right hijackings and hijackings by the keep him in till he dies element? I still believe the election process should be open to all your party members and quit intimidating the timid in a large group setting. Next thing we know participants will exercise Utah's "stand your ground law" just to be heard. Just another reason people are disenfranchising

VST
Bountiful, UT

@On the other hand,

You stated, "The letter presupposes that parties ought to have the power to put people's names on the general election ballot, with the party names next to the party's candidates."

Please note the political parties DO have the power to put people's names on the General Election ballot with the party names next to the party's [nominees]. For your enlightenment, go read Utah Code 20A-8-401 (2) (c) that gives the political parties that power.

@ugottabkidn,

Utah already has the equivalent of a "Stand your Ground" law, but it is different than the Florida law.

Furthermore the Republican process is indeed open to all registered Republicans. Just because they may be timid in a caucus does not mean they do NOT have the right to vote in that caucus or in a primary election.

Independent Thinker
West Jordan, UT

The caucus system has a few elements worthy of retention, however, exclusion is not one of them.

Even as registered Republicans, only delegates get to vote for party candidates. The rest of us merely have the opportunity to vote for those few delegates - who have no direct power to impact laws. At the very most, we have may have up to 90 minutes to interview and make choices as to who those delegates should be. More often than not, we only have a few minutes to hear from those wishing to become delegates. It's not a system that fosters informed decision making. The most common roadblock is that more often than not, even those wishing to become delegates don't have much of an idea who they will vote for in convention except for maybe the most high profile candidates.

Fear of incumbency, monied candidates, special interests, etc. are not constitutionally protected concerns trumping the interests of registered voters. Any system that removes the vast majority of individual party voters from the initial process of selecting their elected office holders, is a severely flawed system.

On the other hand
Spanish Fork, UT

@VST, thanks, I've read it. I don't think the current law serves the best interest of Utah's citizens. However, as long as political parties have quasi-official status around here, they are not "private" groups conducting "private" business, and the caucus system is nothing less than mass disenfranchisement.

Alex H.
Provo, UT

To those who keep complaining that caucuses about the party, not the people as a whole, I'm willing to cede that point. However, you aren't even representing the active, voting membership of your parties in caucuses. I have to move a lot due to my student status; I can't be a delegate. As a result, this Republican's voice cannot possibly be heard in Utah. I went to the caucus informed, but I couldn't (1)speak about issues or candidates due to time (in fact, Robert's rules of order shut down effectively ALL discussion in my precinct), (2) run as a delegate, (3) get anything out of most of the delegates beyond a 30-second speech, or (4) figure out any other way in which ANYONE who was not a delegate was present. This system isn't democratic or republican. It's mobocratic, unless a minority make it oligarchic. The caucus system, with its TOTAL lack of accountability to the party membership, has permanently failed.

Furry1993
Clearfield, UT

The people and the country are important, political parties are not important. The caucus system does not work. 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.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@On the other hand,

So if the "caucus system is nothing less that mass disenfranchisement" (your opinion), then take some action through the State Legislature to have the law changed. If you think the law is unconstitutional, then file a claim in the state or federal courts making your case to have the law overturned.

You will not change the current caucus system by griping about it from the sidelines. But good luck with that one if you choose to do so.

Side Note to @Furry: See above if you want to "eliminate" the caucuses but are not willing to take any action on your part.

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