The Chaffetz victory over Cannon in the 2008 primary provides a compelling
example of the representative nature of the convention system. 69% of delegates
voted for Chaffetz in the convention and about the same percentage of voters
favored him in the subsequent June primary. If delegates are more extreme than
the party membership, why did both groups vote the same. Then in 2010, the
"extreme" delegates went with Bridgewater in the convention while the
more "moderate" primary voters chose Mike Lee. Please tell me how that
happened? The convention system simply narrows down the field to the candidates
that will most likely be favored by primary voters. Orrin Hatch handily won the
convention vote in 2012 and repeated the victory in the primary election. The
2010 convention eliminated a whole bunch of candidates who would have had little
to no chance in a primary election. Where or where is the evidence that the
caucus-convention system does not work?
I completely agree with Furry.I have been a delegate to my county
convention before. In being selected I did not know who I would vote for until
I had met the candidates, heard their platforms, and asked them questions. And
yet I was selected to be a delegate.I am certain that if I had
revealed that I have not voted for a GOP candidate for governor since Leavitt in
the early 1990's, I would not have been selected as a delegate. But only 5 people attended my caucus meeting (several years ago). Each of the
5 were selected as a delegate. I attended the county GOP convention as an
independent at heart, though a registered Republican. At the
convention a huge majority of delegates are conservative to ultra conservative,
and the candidates sing a strong conservative tune. Because of my
experience I would favor a direct primary process, as recommended by Jim Hansen.
When I go to the polls, in both a primary an general election, I know that the
vote I cast will go to the person for whom I voted, regardless whether that
person wins or loses. I know that my vote will be counted. That is not true
for a caucus. At a caucus, I can't even be sure that the people seeking
votes to be delegates to the conventions know who THEY wil vote for, much less
that the vote will be what I want it to be. That is not aeptable to me.It's time to use primaries and not caucuses.
There are those who think they know everything, and those who know that these
people don't. To postulate that disagreement or apathy to a
system that for all purposes is run by a few equates to ignorance just points to
continued trend of some groups to castigate those who don't agree with
them. "If you don't agree with me.... well.... you must
be stupid" is basically what they are saying.And you wonder why
people don't want to come play in their little meetings.
"Those who are too lazy to come to a meeting for a few hours every two years
are probably also illiterate to issues and candidates "I
don't know if lazy would always be the reason. Some people's schedules
just might not work. Like people that have evening jobs. Anyway,
what makes you think that people that show up to the meeting have anymore
literacy regarding the issues then those that can't make the meeting? Seems
like a huge assumption.
"An election WITHOUT a caucus system virtually GUARANTEES the election of
the incumbent because he/she is the one with the massive war chest accumulated
in Washington, D.C. as a result of their lobbyist benefactors."Yeah, that's why Jason Chaffetz couldn't beat the "incumbent
with a huge war chest" Chris Cannon in a primary. Oh wait...
I'm not quite sure WHY this issue keeps coming up.Are voters
still angry that Bob Bennett didn't get re-elected? He COULD always run
again, just like I COULD!Those who complain that the "same old,
same old" people continually get re-elected SHOULD be all for the current
caucus system. It allows anyone/everyone an equal chance.An
election WITHOUT a caucus system virtually GUARANTEES the election of the
incumbent because he/she is the one with the massive war chest accumulated in
Washington, D.C. as a result of their lobbyist benefactors.
"The delegates picked Mike Lee"? Actually, no. He made the mistake of
figuring he would win outright and didn't try to get 2nd and 3rd choice
votes. In fact in 2010, the more moderate Tim Bridgewater was
selected by 57% of the delegates in the last round. Mike Lee managed to get 43%
and make it to a primary. Sen. Bennett endorsed Tim Bridgewater during the
primary, but with voters ticked at TARP and ObamaCare, they went with Mike
Lee.From someone from Salt Lake County, your idea that the
democratic candidates don't win general elections is not correct.
Democratic party members hold 1/2 of the seats in the Utah House and almost
that in the Utah Senate for Salt Lake County. They have the county mayor and
several on the council. A large percentage of municipal and school board
officials are democratic members or vote that way. The GOP has a lot of work to
do to solve that.
The problem with caucus system is the most extreme type voter usually attends
along with all their extreme friends and usually vote for delegates who voted
for individuals like Mike Lee. This wouldn't be a real problem if Utah had
real competition from democrats but once someone wins the GOP primary it is
assured they will win the election.
The tea party influence and crazy ideas is the reason the professional
politicians see the danger to our system of government.
"Those who are too lazy to come to a meeting for a few hours every two years
are probably also illiterate to issues and candidates "Lazy and
illiterate? Why such disdain for common people who, for whatever reason, may
discover that the ONE night in which the caucuses are held conflicts with other
things in their lives? Perhaps it's a mother who works two jobs and
can't get the night off at her second job? Or maybe someone who is
struggling to pay the bills and simply can't afford to pay a babysitter to
attend the caucuses? Or maybe they are deployed overseas with the Military
during the time the caucuses are held?There are an infinite number
of legitimate reasons that someone may not be able to make it on ONE night, at
ONE specific time, at ONE specific place. To call them "lazy and
illiterate" is nothing more than elitist hubris.
The 60% threshold to avoid a primary works, allowing a shot of a challenger to
eliminate an incumbent and yet requires a challenger to be a strong
candidate.Based on the state gop released stats since 2000 for state
wide or congressional races, at 60%, threshold to avoid a primary, 47% of
contested races went to primary. If at 2/3, 67% of contested races go to a
primary and at 70%, 70% of the races go to primary.70% would not
have helped Sen. Bennett in 2010. He was not in the top 2 coming out of
convention. In fact the more moderate Tim Bridgewater was selected by 57% of the
delegates in the last round. Mike Lee managed to get 43% and make it to a
primary. Sen. Bennett endorsed Tim Bridgewater during the primary, but with
voters ticked at TARP and ObamaCare, they went with Mike Lee.Sen.
Hatch just barely missed eliminating Dan Liljenquist by hitting just under the
60%, and Jason Chaffetz just missed eliminating Chris Cannon by hitting just
under 60%.The current system does not protect the incumbent, wealthy
or famous. I think that is a good thing.
One of the principles of those wanting to gut the neighborhood election caucus
meeting and convention system we have in Utah, was this: " A system that
provides inherent advantages to those who are incumbent, wealthy or famous is
not acceptable."The problem is their proposals would do exactly
that.The Caucus System in Utah 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 120,000 republicans in Utah that went to the neighborhood
caucus elections in 2012 to elect the 4000 State Delegates. Add to those numbers
the democrats and the primary elections. Certainly the municipal elections
didn't do any better in voter representation.Bypassing the
Caucus / Convention System will NOT create more participation. There are 4000
state delegates that spend countless hours vetting candidates to be on the
ballot. They are selected by those that attend the neighborhood election caucus
meeting. You just have to attend.The current system does not protect
the incumbent, wealthy or famous. I think that is a good thing.
"[P]probably also illiterate to issues and candidates." There's a
lot of hubris and disdain for others packed into that single phrase.