In Washington County (and many other Utah counties), around 30% of voters vote
straight-party Republican. Candidates are actually competing for the remaining
70% of the vote. Since the Republican candidate for any given office only needs
to win the support of 20% of that remaining 70%, there is usually no doubt that
the Republican will win the election.Consequently, Republican
candidates in Washington County don't need to appeal directly to the
general populace. As long as they convince enough delegate to put 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 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 state like Utah where the two party system is overwhelmingly one-sided. If
anything, a caucus system makes it easier for someone with money and/or
connections to bully or buy their way into office.
County Resident,It's probably more than just your neighborhood, but
it's not all neighborhoods.The people in charge of the caucus
meeting get some training (and it includes making sure that all sides get heard,
how the meeting is conducted, how voting is done, etc)... but there's no
way to enforce that. So your neighborhood could be an anomaly.I
know our last caucus had some problems (talk about that later) but all sides
were heard. The caucus leader didn't cram any candidates down
everybody's throat or tell people how they had to vote IF they got selected
to be a delegate.Some people felt very strongly about the Hatch
issue (both sides), so that took up most of the time. But nobody was told how
they had to vote.Coming in I didn't want Hatch. But I changed
my mind after hearing what some people had to say. We voted... and my side
didn't win. But that doesn't automatically mean we must get rid of
the caucuses (in my mind). It just means I was in the minority in my
neighborhood. I can deal with that.
@Mike Richards: The only GOP caucus meeting I attended years ago was a
no-discussion-we-need to-support-"candidate a", type of meeting.
Delegates were selected who would support Candidate A at convention. Attended a
Demo caucus which was a little better but not perfect. I haven't been back
yet to either side. I don't vote in the closed GOP primary cuz as far as I
am concerned, they are rigged, planned and executed. I have been independent for
years and have voted for people like Mitt Romney, Orrin Hatch and Jim Matheson.
I won't vote for Mia because of this "selection" process without
input. Maybe its just my precinct. (and this was before I lived in Kearns.)
re: Uncle GadiantonWhat about the lack of paragraphs?
Mr. Banderson's comments brought to you by the Society for the Perpetuation
of Metaphors, Similes, and Cliches.
JoeBlow: I wouldn't assume at all that we are on a great path. The path
is a return to the main road that we begun 200 years ago. Its the 'shovel
ready' politicians that scare me the most. The biggest wrench in all of
history is the belief that Socialism is a better system then free market
capitalism (not crony capitalism). Those who don't do anything but
advocate 'more government' sponsorship of failed policy leave it up to
the rest of us to find someone that actually admits that an elephant is in the
room and must be removed before economic growth and freedom can regain its
footing. Trying to build a house with an elephant on your back is not an easy
task. Watching politicians argue about the jot and tittle of a sinking titanic
are of no use to me. The only thing that will pull us away from the cliff is
someone that understands the constitution, free markets, and the importance of
God. The socialistic planners want everyone to use a spoon (socialism) when we
have an earth mover (free enterprise) available. Wrenches can stop something
from moving! Go Mike Lee!
to Mike R (6/5)...There you go again with your one size fits all
mind set. Everywhere is not the same as your little corner of the world. I'll theorize that groupthink is quite common in middle class to
affluent areas in the south part of the SL Valley.That said; money
can corrupt in gathering, institution, etc... all it takes is a few corrupt
Both Mike Lee and John Swallow won in primaries.
"Please throw as many wrenches into the wheels of government as possible.
Perhaps we can stop it before it rolls off the cliff."For that
logic to be sound, one must assume that we are on a great path and any deviation
will be detrimental.Have you noticed that we are heading for a
cliff? Those "wrenches" you crave prevent any change of course.
Great column. Keep the caucus system. It works just fine.
Whatever system gave Mike Lee a chance, I'm going to support. Perhaps we
can get a few more of his like! Our country stands a chance with someone who
understands the constitution and isn't going along with the rest of them.
Anyone, anyone, that will stop the madness in Washington D.C. has my support.
Please throw as many wrenches into the wheels of government as possible.
Perhaps we can stop it before it rolls off the cliff. Therein lies hope!
If you don't like the candidates selected by your delegates then GET
INVOLVED and get your neighbors involved and go to your caucus meeting and get
the votes you need to be a delegate. Don't throw away the best system for
selecting candidates just because you don't like who was chosen. Become a
delegate and you can help do the chosing. The delegates ususally go to many
events to meet the candidates and learn what they can. I would rather have in
informed delegate chose my candidate instead of a typical citizen who only hears
what the media wants to tells them and a few radio ads.
I've been to a few caucuses, and have yet to hear any of the dialogue or
discussion about candidates or issues. Last year's meeting was mostly
dithering about how to count votes for delegates, and how so-and-so would
"do just great" as a delegate/precinct chair because he/she "is
really good about organizing things." I have also spoken to
people who were very involved in the past (including holding elected office),
but no longer participate because they got sick and tired of having some caucus
goer scream at them because their views aren't in exact alingment. I feel that the threshold level for nomination should be raised back to
70%, where it was about 15 years ago. That helps the "little guy"
candidates, because if you can get 30% of the delegates to support you, you
deserve a shot in a primary. Many voters feel that the caucus/convention
process has been hijacked, and they don't have an opportunity to select a
candidate. There is nothing wrong with primary elections, there
have been several in the past. If the primary is too "contentious,"
then the fault is with the candidates, not the system.
Re: "When the inmates have taken over the asylum, it's time for
something to change."Well, speaking as one of the inmates,
I've got to ask, "why?" Change for no good reason is usually
bad.The caucuses provide an opportunity -- not a requirement -- for
people to discuss issues and candidates.It may well be that most
people aren't all that interested, so they stay away. Just like most people
stay away from the polls. But that's not a good reason to take away the
opportunity to be involved for those that are interested. And more and more
people are becoming interested.The people most loudly objecting to
the caucuses are those whose candidate wasn't supported by them. So, all
this bellyaching amounts to nothing more than an attempt to give an unfair
advantage to one side's candidate over that of the other.There's no good reason to overturn the current system. Doing so would do
nothing but enable political candidacy to become more expensive, more removed
from voters, and more opaque to meaningful participation and oversight.
10CC,You raise a point, but fail to recognize the 60/40 threashold to
avoid a primary.The delegates did not select John Swallow as the
party nominee. There were enough of them that felt like Sean Reyes was a better
candidate or had issues with Swallow that the race was sent to a primary. It was
the Primary Election, where Swallow with his money trounced Reyes. I didn't
know, as most didn't, the problems with Swallow/Shurtleff until after the
general election. There was some mud slinging in the primary that I simply
ignored. My mistake.The delegates did not select Mike Lee as the
party nominee. re: Bennett: 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.OHBU,
One of purposes of the delegates is to personally spend the hours and vet the
candidates. We all select the delegates in our neighborhood caucus meetings.
This whole argument is based on a false premise...that townhall style meetings
are exclusive to the caucus system. Correct me if I'm wrong, but
candidates often hold townhall meeting during elections. They also have debates
where ideas are discussed and argued for. Then an election takes place that
chooses a candidate. Why should these discussions be restricted to a
Pharisaical system where one must vote for a representative to vote for the
A general misunderstanding of government is behind the "push" to
eliminate the caucus meetings. Too many people think that they have no
responsibility to START the political process at a caucus meeting. They think
that we live in a Democracy where they have the right to vote directly for any
candidate who desires to run for office. They forget that we live in a Republic
where we vote for delegates or electors who are expected to do their homework
and FIND the best candidate(s) from among those running for office.Our responsibility to participate in an election does not start at the
primary; it starts at the caucus meeting.It's very doubtful
that anyone was "shouted down" by his neighbors for making comments at a
caucus meeting. In the last two caucus meetings that I attended, there were
many precincts gathered in the same building. There was NO shouting from any of
the precincts. I wandered through some of the meetings and marveled at the
process. There were literally thousands of people voicing their opinion on WHAT
they wanted to see in a candidate and WHO best represented their principles.The caucus works.
One Old man,Those "extremists" that voted for Orrin Hatch, Gary
Herbert, and Mia Love over Carl Wimmer?Obviously we need to make
sure there is time to talk, even if it is between 6p and 7p or 9p and 10p. If we
can make sure the meeting doesn't go to 11pm, it will work.
The caucus system produced such finely vetted candidates as John Swallow and
Mike "Short Sale" Lee.We either need to fire all the
delegates and start over, or maybe realize the the merits of the caucus system
are vastly overblown (Swallow accumulated $1.7M as a first term candidate?
Isn't a low-moneyed candidate the whole selling point of the caucus?)It seems to me the dismal participation of Utah voters has a lot to do
with the dismal candidates produced by the caucus system.
Discussion in neighborhood caucus meetings????Surely this writer is
joking.I've attended many caucus meetings. Once upon a time,
there may have been some discussion, but the last couple of times anyone who
even tried to say something sensible was literally shouted down by a few
extremists who had highjacked the meetings.When the inmates have
taken over the asylum, it's time for something to change.
The problem with our voter turnout is that it has not kept up with the
State's population increase. That isn't the Caucus/Convention system.
Utah had worse turnout when we got rid of it for a short time many years ago.
Utah's voter turnout keeps going up, but not as fast as the
population. Some of that is the younger voters, where Utah has a larger
percentage of them and they aren't, as a group, as involved. Some of that
are those moving in and not understanding our system. We can do
better explaining the system we have if we didn't have some in the media
trying to ruin what we have. We also can make sure the younger voters are
invited and feel welcome.