Published: Tuesday, May 28 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT
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.
The Caucus System in Utah is the best way to make sure a grass roots process 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. We have a system that
that does NOT favor the incumbent, wealthy or famous. This is a good thing.Neighbors discussing the best candidates and finding ways to improve
this state and nation.That is being proposed to be removed from the
neighborhood caucus meeting. Dropping off our votes but not discussing. That is
what is wrong with Washington DC. They don't listen to each other in a
meeting. They watch from their offices. We need to change that not follow it.Perhaps the Count My Vote group should go watch WALL-E from Pixar again,
the people on the spaceship.We are talking neighborhood town halls.
We aren't just meeting to elect delegates. We believe the Count My Vote /
Buy My Vote group would ruin that.
Kirk Jowers is a D.C. Lobbyist. He, Mike Leavitt and those who are very wealthy
are very upset and disgusted with the caucus system. Why? Because they cannot
buy elections in Utah. The people and grassroots decide elections. They
don't like this and are extremely upset.
Voters are not so stupid that they can't be counted on to research
candidates and issues and represent their own views in a primary election.
Delegates are not so wise that they can't be influenced by money, hype,
misinformation, or other factors that have nothing to do with a candidate's
qualifications for elected office or the merits of a policy resolution.The writer says that at her caucus meeting, delegates were chosen who
"most closely represented [the] thinking" of the majority of the
caucus-goers on most issues. That's already a very watered-down version of
representation. It gets worse because the delegates are under no obligation to
vote in any particular way, and rarely if ever answer to their precinct for the
way they vote.Representative democracy is fundamental to how our
government runs. We can't and shouldn't weigh in individually on every
issue affecting our country, so we choose representatives to do this for us.
It's precisely for that reason that we should weigh in individually and
directly on the candidates who we want to represent us. Picking people to pick
people for us can only result in less representation.
The problem lies in that while a delegate may share my positions on issues, they
most certainly do not share my level of intensity or importance placed on each
of those issues. In allowing me to vote for the candidate that I WANT, am able
to weigh each issue against each other to determine for whom I want to vote.I understand we live in a Representative Democratic Republic but I want
to be able to choose my representatives that run the government, not choose
representatives to filter out who my options are before I even get the chance to
The problem with going straight to primaries is that you actually don't get
to vote for the candidate you want. You get to choose from among candidates
hand-picked for you by special interest groups. They won't represent you;
they will represent the big money that finances their campaigns. Your options
are filtered either way. At least with the caucus/convention system you have a
chance to be one of the people choosing the candidates. The caucus/convention
system allows people without big money behind them to run and win. No system is
without flaws, but the caucus/convention system comes closest to actually
representing the grassroots.
If the caucus worked so great then why is all we have representing us in salt
lake and DC big name, big business, and rich representatives? Lee, hatch,
chaffetz, bishop, etc all backed by huge lobbyists and are career politicians.
Stephansen, Lockhart, Dayton, bramble, etc all rich and backed by corporate
sponsors. I'm not seeing any "normal" or
"average" folk up on Capitol Hill.
Why not simply allow everyone who wants to run, be on the ballot in a primary?
We even had Orly Taitz, the birther queen, on the ballot in the last
primary here. But, too bad for her, she got too few votes--didn't
make it in the top two to run in the general election.
Conservatives seem to believe that the word “people” only includes
those human beings otherwise known as businessmen. Or that they would only want
business interests to be represented in government. In order to
accomplish their agenda, the must do every thing they can to dilute and
misdirect the will of non-business citizens. First they establish
political parties where the select group can decide behind closed doors who will
be the parties candidates. Next they divide up the state into
groups by location according to automatically produce the best voting results
for their party. Meanwhile a massive campaign of untruth and
misleading information is presented to the voters to popularize their
candidates. Caucuses, conventions and such are used to make the
voters think that they can pick the candidates. But in truth the final
candidate is always the one selected by the party way back in the beginning.
"Voters are not so stupid that they can't be counted on to research
candidates and issues and represent their own views in a primary
election."In Utah, most voters' views on important issues
are simply mindless repetitions of Republican talking points, shallow rhetoric,
and hate-speech directed at the president. But the voters are not unique.
Politicians also espouse myths, fables, totally unfounded assumptions,
small-picture thinking, and gaps in logic wide enough to drive a garbage truck
through. I'm not confident that Republicans are capable of choosing
candidates who can see past the partisan blindfold, regardless of whether they
use a caucus or any other system. They are viewing the world through extremist
glasses right now, and until they shed those, rational thinking and reasonable
action will not prevail.But for what it's worth, I would prefer
an open primary to the caucus system any day of the week. That way at least I
would have a voice in Utah politics, since by principle I cannot join the
dominant party and am therefore excluded.
If we allowed all who wanted to run to be on the primary, how many ballots would
we allow until only two candidates became the obvious "winners"? Would
Clinton have won if we were allowed to vote until one candidate received the
"majority" of all votes cast? It was obvious that the
"majority" favored a conservative, but the vote was split by Perot and
Clinton, a liberal, won.Having a caucus eliminates that kind of
nonsense. All Republicans in a precinct vote for delegates. Those precinct
members assign to those delgates the responsibility of nominating candidates who
will appear on the primary ballot. That is how things work in a Republic. We
do not vote by mob rule, but we elect "electors", or has someone
forgotten that the President is elected by the electoral college and not by
The only way Caucuses don't "represent" is if you don't attend
your neighborhood caucus meetings.You can't skip your caucus
meeetings and then belly-ache that they didn't represent you. And if you
went and voted... just because the person YOU wanted didn't win,
doesn't mean there was a conspiracy against you.. it just means you were
with the minority. You can't stay home and then assume the
system is to blame for the person you wanted not winning. You can't vote
and then complain the system prevented the person you wanated from winning (when
in reality you were just in the minority). The system is supposed to indicate
what the majority wants! If you don't go, or are in the minority... you
can't blame the system for not sending YOUR represenative! That's
they way elections work people! I don't know why caucuses are
blamed (mostly by people who coudln't be bothered to show up and vote)...
for their guy not winning.
2 bits said " The only way Caucuses don't "represent" is if you
don't attend your neighborhood caucus meetings.Well 2 bits, I
WENT to my caucus meeting here in the south end of the valley, I even joined the
GOP so I could go to my caucus meeting..What I saw at least in my
precinct was appalling. One of the State GOP board was boasting how proud he was
that he helped "Drive" Bennett out.The citizens who were
there that had a rational and logical ideas to solve problems, were shouted
down. It was not what I thought the "process" was suppose to be. People
showed up but was quickly dismissed.The ones that don't want a
change are those that would lose their power to the people. The people can
determine which GOP candidate to vote for without having some group say who it
is.As for the caucus being a way for the citizens to select
candidates has never been to all the whine and dining the candidates to do
persuade the delegate to CHANGE his Vote from what the people of his district
wants..So no, it is not representative government.
ConfusedHow was it not representative? Everybody there got to
vote, right? Just because your position got shouted down and didn't
win... doesn't make it "Non-Representative"! You voted... The
majority still won... That's Representative!Sounds like your
caucus had some special problems (not all caucuses had your problem). For
instance, GOP Board members controling the meeting. There should be no GOP
board memebers even in the meeting. It's SUPPOSED to be controled by one
of your neighbors (a volunteer who went to some training on procedure including
keeping silent on their own politics and focus on the process).I
knew every person in our meeting. Not one of them was a GOP party official.
In our meeting we were instructed to pick 2 delegates for State and 2 for
National convention. They asked for volunteers. Only 2 vounteered.
Eventually we got more people to volunteer. They each got 5 minutes to express
their background and their views, we voted, we counted, the winners were
announced, and went home.I have close friends who didn't like
the outcome. But even they admit that the majority won. That's
I'm very skeptical of anyone who argues that the people can't be
trusted to vote because they're too easily swayed by money and power.
Sorry, even delegates and party die-hards are swayed by the same things. "Grass roots"? Give me a break. When you read that, think Tea
Party--funded by billionaires and promoted on the most watched cable channel.
Primaries promote grass roots way more than a caucus system. Here in Ohio,
anyone can appear on the primary ballot. However, to do so, they must deliver a
pre-set number of signatures on a petition. That way, the wackjob nobody would
vote for still doesn't appear because they must have at least some support.
It boggles the mind that people think the caucus system is as
representative. A voter is required to sit through a long meeting that is
carefully choreographed and then vote for someone to vote for them. I
understand the need for representative government, but why the Pharisaical
requirement to vote for a representative to vote for my representative?
RE:Utah_1In Washington County, around 30% of voters vote
straight-party Republican. That means that candidates are actually competing
for the remaining 70% of the vote. Since the Republican candidate for any given
office only needs to the support 20% of that 70%, there is usually no doubt that
the Republican will win the election.What does this have to do with
caucuses?Republican candidates don't need to appeal directly to
the general populace. As long as they can win the support of the delegates, and
get their name on the ballot as the Republican nominee, all of the hard work is
done and the election is pretty much guaranteed.How many delegates
are there in Washington County? I'm not sure, but I think it's
between 100 and 200. A candidate would only need to earn (or buy) the support
of just a handful of outspoken and influential delegates in Washington County to
secure the election for themselves.A caucus system is not an
effective control against shady politics, especially in a place like Utah. In a
state that leans heavily to one party or the other, a caucus system makes it
easier for dishonest politicians to get elected.
One more problem with the current system - caucuses exclude more voters due to
the fact that they require voters to be at a specific place at a specific time.
There's no early voting, there's no mail-in voting, and you can't
go earlier in the day if your schedule doesn't fit with the meeting time.
Lower income people are probably under-represented at caucuses because a higher
proportion of them have jobs that require them to work in the evening.
OHBU,At least you got to vote for 2 representatives to represent you at
the Convention.How much say does any Utahn have on who represents
them at the DEMOCRAT Convention (hint... NONE). When was the last time any
Utahn got to vote to select who would represent them at the Democrat Convention
(hint... never)). So why all the whining? At least you got to
SELECT who represented your neighborhood at the Republican Convention. Utah
Democrats have never enjoyed that privilege. Their Convention isn't
attended by commen everyday Utahns selected by a grass-roots vote. Mo caucus,
no vote on convention representatives, no primary! Democrat primary candidates
are picked by Democrat party_officials and party insiders (not you. You have
not vote on who attends the Convetion or who your primary candidates are. Why
no complaining about that?. Would you like it if the
Republican_Establishment appointed THEMSELVS to pick the party primary
candidates? Cause that's how Democrats do it now. And how Republicans
will do it if you win.There's litterally no feasible way to
conduct a primary to pick the primary canididates. IF I have another post left
I'll tell you why...
...The reason it's totally unfeasible to have a primary to pick the primary
candidates (and why no party in any State does this) is...It would
cost the party millions. You would have to rent space in every community, rent
election equipment, pay or volunteer staff to monitor and conduct the election,
people and machines to count, oversee, and validate the results and insure
against fraud.And how effective would that pre-primary parimary
be?I can't imagine the turnout to this new PRE-Primary Primary
being any better than we get at the REAL Priamry (currently under 20%) or the
current caucus turnout (under 15%). Heck... why would anyone go? We
don't even know who the candidates are yet. There are dozens (instead of
2). We don't know their character or their stand on anything yet. No
debates yet. Advertising hasn't started yet (because they don't have
any $$$ until supporters know they are viable and can make the primary or
not).What makes you think this is economically feasible? Who pays
for it?It's not a feasible option (and nobody does it).
2 bits,You seem to think I'm only opposed to the Republican
caucus. I'm not. I'm opposed to the way primary candidates are
chosen in each party. It's not a situation where you have to have an
election to select primary candidates--as you called it, a "pre-primary
primary." The way many other states do it makes much more sense and could
actually be cheaper than the caucus system. It's quite simple: anyone can
be a primary candidate so long as they can deliver a pre-determined number of
signatures of support. This is the way presidential and other candidates end up
on roles elsewhere. This way, there needs to be genuine support for your bid to
appear on the ballot, but it has nothing to do with party officials selecting
who can be voted on, and who can't. After that, you have an open primary
election and the person with the most votes wins. The says whether they want a
democratic or republican ballot, and they vote. Quite simple. As
to how viable it is versus a caucus system: currently 10 states have a caucus
system, and the other 40 have a primary.
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