Comments about ‘Letters: Delegates not evil’

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Published: Thursday, May 9 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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South Jordan, UT

"The caucus system works because it gives average, ordinary people like me a chance to serve my community at the grass-roots level"
And this cool thing called "voting" allows average, ordinary people a chance to vote for the person THEY want, rather than voting for you and hoping that you choose the person they support. As good as your intentions may be, I can guarantee that as a delegate you voted for candidates that many people in your area would not have voted for if they had the chance.

Durham, NC

No... delegates are not evil.... they just many times are not representative either. The system is rigged in a way that only like minded people have a voice. Not unique to Utah.... but Utahan's know better than to allow a system of exclusion to persist.

Everyone benefits from vibrant debate. A one sided debate end up in a very warped system.

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

You don't need representatives to vote for representatives to vote for representatives....

Give each Utah'n their own vote. What in the world are you afraid of, democracy?

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

so you go to the caucus and elect two delegates to the state convention. the caucus members, in straw polling, vote 51% for one senate candidate and 49% for the other senate candidate. Since the former senate candidate polled the majority, both delegates vote for the former, even though the latter got only 2% less. that is hardly representative and why the caucus systems robs the citizenry. Dump it and go to a primary.

Trust Logic
Brigham City, UT, 00

Thank you, Mark. I couldn't agree more!

@the old switcharoo, yes! For the same reason why our Founding Fathers didn't create a pure democracy. They knew that it was better to elect representatives to work through the details and select what they felt best represents their constituents or narrow it down for a simple vote than to bring everything to a popular vote. It's not perfect, but the only thing wrong with it is apathy! How do you expect to get good representatives when only 10% show up on a record breaking year?

I would rather give more of a voice to those willing to spend their time and effort trying then giving everyone a voice on everything just for existing.

Salt Lake City, UT

Mark, you sound like a good guy. You are not the problem. The system is the problem.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The problem I have with believing businessmen is that their words don’t necessarily mean the same thing as when non-businessmen use those same words. It is my contention that when a businessman talks about people he doesn’t include non-businessmen in his meaning.

The description of his neighbors makes me think his neighbors are also businessmen. The reason businessmen are passionate about government is because seemingly, they are the only ones who are able to profit from government actions.

Ordinary people, of which I don’t see Mark Edwards as being, are mostly content to take the crumbs that government sometimes hands out, and spend their time trying to have the good life. They would rather take care of their own business rather than run other people’s lives.

Good government can only come from people controlling their government. Caucuses, conventions, political parties, are things that insulate people from their government and make our republic a government by a tiny minority.

I don’t think Mark Edwards is a bad man. I think he is a good businessman.

Salt Lake City, UT

The caucus system is not exclusionary, anybody who gives a fig can attend and participate and get elected. Many do and then do nothing with it.
The folks wanting to change it are self serving with a lot of money, it is relatively easy to convince Joe Sixpack to vote for you if you spend enough money on ads. That also explains why media types want a different system. THEY SELL ADVERSING! More money spent convincing said Joe Sixpack to vote for a pol is spent on MEDIA.
We have seen what we get when uninformed voters make choices, and we have a pretty good idea what the current caucus system produces, the best run state in the union.
So, back off the caucus system and if you want to make a difference, PARTICIPATE!

True Sue
Utah County, UT

Mark Edwards sounds like every other delegate I have met since being a delegate in Utah for the first time this year. He sounds like a good man, doing a job that he was asked to do by his neighbors. And he is definitely a representative of those who elected him. In America we have a representative government, not a democracy, because we are not afraid to trust people. If you remember how discouraging it was as a kid the first time you realized that only millionaires, or those backed by millionaires, can run for President. In Utah anyone can run for office. All you need is a list of delegates and a phone, because it's actually possible to talk with them all. In other states you need loads of money, the finest campaign staff money can buy, and hopefully the camera loves you for your expensive commercials and quality airtime. And in those states, as a candidate, you don't have to talk to any "regular" people. In Utah you can be assured that all of the candidates have been met with, by someone you know personally.

Salt Lake City, UT

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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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.

South Jordan, UT

"So, back off the caucus system and if you want to make a difference, PARTICIPATE!"

I want to change the caucus system and I DO participate. I have been a delegate multiple times over the years in BOTH parties. Stop being such an elitist and acting like everyone that doesn't like the caucus system is somehow uninformed or disengaged from civic participation.

Rod Mann
Highland, UT

The delegates I know are like Mark. I do not know how you can "rig" all caucus meetings so that someone with a particukar piint of view gets selected. Senator Hatch spent $6M and with 18 months of effort could not secure the nomination at convention. All it takes to get elected at caucus is a little time and effort. Bring like minded friends who will support you. I just do not understand how anyone can say that is exclusive. Seems very inclusive to me. The beauty of the system is that it is very decentralized. In order to corrupt the system you have to corrupt hundreds of individual precincts. If it were corrupted then it really wouldn't matter what was put in its place because it would mean that the people as a whole were corrupt.

concerned conservative
Cedar City, UT

The caucus system works. Every year, because I am very politically active at least 20 people call me when they are in the voting booth to ask me who they should vote for. I don't totally fault them, they should have taken the time to do their own research but many don't. This proves my point, let delegates who are engaged and that you trust do the research,vett the candidates and vote for who would be the best.

Logan, UT

First of all, thanks Mark for being a diligent delegate. I believe there is nothing wrong with high information voters. As some comments have noted, the caucus and convention system allows for grassroots participation, countering name recognition based and money backed media campaigns. It has been said we get the government that we deserve; more citizens serving in the caucus and conventions system, and indeed, politics as a whole will help us to earn better government. It is our republic; let us keep it!

The STAR Forum
Coalville, UT

ISRRED -- You have input, as much as you want with your elected state delegate. But most "average" citizens honestly don't have the time to do this year after year. This takes countless hours, research, meetings, to meet with all of the candidates for all of the offices. The state delegate has a major job, and they are SERVING their community by taking on that role. Sadly, many of the delegates who got involved this last time had a one mission purpose in the Republican party ... elect Orrin Hatch. Their job is much bigger than that.

Electing delegates at your neighborhood meeting is something that proves our Republic (not a democracy) works. We elect at the most local level, and each level is supposed to hold the next level accountable. If we could get this system right, the neighborhoods would recall their city councilmen who go over budget, the councilmen would recall the county leaders, the county leaders would recall the state leaders that fail in their responsibilities. Local is where all the power should be. If we go to a direct primary, only money wins, and your voice is watered down into nothing.

Rod Mann
Highland, UT

"Ordinary people, ..., are mostly content to take the crumbs that government sometimes hands out, and spend their time trying to have the good life."

The government is the source of our prosperity? The government gets its money from we then people and any money we receive from it came from someone else. The governments role is not to redistribute money.

"They would rather take care of their own business rather than run other people’s lives."

Are you saying that those who chose to get involved in grassroots politics want to run other peoples life. While that may be true of some, the majority of those involved want to ensure that "we the people" have a say in who are elected officials are and hold them accountable for their actions. Do you think that those who don't care about politics will take the time to make informed decisions? Aren't they more likely to be influenced by 30 second sound bites and media buzz than to base their views of candidates on independent research?

Rod Mann
Highland, UT

"The problem I have with believing businessmen is that their words don’t necessarily mean the same thing as when non-businessmen use those same words. It is my contention that when a businessman talks about people he doesn’t include non-businessmen in his meaning."

I'm puzzled by the above remark. If someone is not a businessman then they are employed by one. Even civil service jobs are funded by tax dollars that come from businesses, businessmen or people who are employed by businessmen. Businessmen all have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children and friends, and employees who come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Personally, I value the opinions of those who create jobs, stimulate the economy and take a lot of personal risk in doing so. They generally are able to see issues from a broad perspective.

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

Delegates to elect delegates get into the good ol boy network and get politcal influence under the system.

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