I like having a trusted neighbor research candidates and, based on our shared
political principles, choose our best option. The caucus system gives the power
to the grassroots.You will see the caucus system attacked by three
main groups: 1) special interest groups and lobbyists that realize that its
easier to buy an election than it is to sell a bad candidate to delegates who
have the time to research voting records, 2) those from one party that want to
cross over in a primary to select the weakest of their opponent's
candidates, and 3) biased media that doesn't like being circumvented by
informed citizens.If we lose our caucus system then elections will
be decided principally on sound bites, name recognition, money, and incumbent
power. Lobbyists and entrenched incumbents label candidates chosen by the
caucus system as extremists in an effort to discredit our system. Please
don't fall for their propaganda.
The GOP has a great new set of state delegates. They are Conservative, but wise
enough to pick great candidates. In speaking with them I am confident they will
pick Mia Love for the 4th. She is has always been a great fiscal manager with an
economic green thumb, and she has what it takes to unify the party while
attracting moderate and independent voters in order to finally beat Matheson.
I live in a primary election state and it is not all roses here either. Although
anyone can run, only people with access to money and existing power have much of
a chance. The party engages in a hands off approach during the run-up to the
primary but because of that the candidates have to mold themselves to the
platform of the party instead of letting the candidates have a platform which
becomes the platform of the party. This handicaps them when in the general
election because it encourages either lying, or extreme positions which must be
modified later to attract independent and swing voters. Look around and you will
see this happening in the current election races across the country. Either system can leave people with the feeling of being left out. I
participated during two periods in the Republican party but left both times
because I felt that while people would respond positively when I spoke up, the
voting always seemed to go against what I would advocate. That is very
discouraging. I will continue to vote and to speak up but I will not suggest
that I feel particularly represented.
To me the value of the Utah system is that it allows the party to fire someone
without losing the seat.A generation ago, while I was a student at
BYU, we once used the caucus to deprive an incumbent of a place on the primary
ballot. He simply wasn't doing the job and so those of us who recruited
him, supported him and got him elected went to him and warned him not to run
again. He ran anyway but the legislative district caucus refused him ballot
access.Maybe, Bennett should not have had that happen to him. But no
one is indispensable. The caucuses who are empowered to make such
decisions under Utah law are not some rump meeting in some smoke-filled room.
It is the most democratic process in the country.
The bottom line is this. (thanks Neilt). The people did decide on Sen Bennett.
They had the chance. Bennett is unpopular with people who want a smaller
government and less debt. I'm not upset Bennett lost his reelection bid and
actually chuckled when he cried in his room at the convention after he lost on
round 2. Our US Senator was elected in a General Primary by all who
took the time to vote. Bennett didn't deserve to be on the primary ballot
since it is the people's seat, not Bennett's. Lee won in the
Republican Primary against Bridgewater. Then Lee won in the General Election.It's clear that people in Utah still don't understand the
concept of representative government. The ignorance on this principle is
astounding.The power was stripped from the Establishment Republicans
in 2010 and they are mad so they want to circumvent the convention process and
make their own rules to get their guy on the Primary. There already is a way for
anyone to get on the General Election ballot. Bennett almost went for it.Utah's system is great!
@ Laura M. Warburton- "Delegates are representatives of the people"
Where can I find a public list of who my delegate representatives
are? Can I see their voting record? Of coarse not, I can't do either.
Without attending a caucus, there is no way for the "1000 people in the
precinct" to know who is representing them in the so-called "great
system of electing party candidates." Attendees at my local caucus meeting,
wanted one thing, to voice their support or opposition of candidates, they voted
for delegates based on who they promised to vote for at the state convention.
Most attendees left frustrated that they still had no say or guarantee that
their delegate would vote the way they stated in their 30 second "vote for
me as your delegate" speech. Take away the unnecessary middle man
(delegate) and let the people vote for their candidates. To me, "It
doesn't get more grass-roots (to the people) than that."
@NeilT:You state that the people never got the chance to decide on
Senator Bennett.Let's be more honest. The people never got off
their rear ends to turn of the TV on the night of the caucus, so they
didn't TAKE the chance.The chance was offered to them, but they
couldn't be bothered.The problem isn't the process.
It's the apathy of should-be caucus attendees.
The bottom line is this. The people should have decided on Senator Bennett.
They never got the chance. Bennett was unpopular with the tea party. I am not
upset that Bennett lost his reelection bid. I am upset with the process. Our
U.S. Senator was selected by a tiny majority at the party convention. Bennett
deserved to be on the primary ballott. Lee would never had a chance in an open
primary and the tea party knew that.
@Lilljemalm - I have a good friend living in Colorado. She's very
conservative. The corruption she's described to me in the Republican Party
is shocking. If true, there's far more broken than the caucus system in
Colorado which by the way is different than our caucus process. @sherlock holmes - a delegate is a precinct representative. No different than
your Utah House Representative is a representative of the people in his
district. That's called representative democracy. Folks, the
problem isn't the caucus system. It's how it's utilized.
It's not understood. Ironically, the very people who want the system
killed also lobbied against and defeated a simple 2012 session bill that would
have required Utah high schools to teach the caucus system (about a 2 hour
class). I taught several HS government classes during the last 4 months and NOT
ONE CHILD understood the system and neither did the teachers. No wonder there
is so much confusion about this great system of electing party candidates. Delegates are representatives of the people - approximately a 1000
people in their precincts. It doesn't get more grass-roots (to the people)
I no longer live in a caucus state, but 4 years ago I did - Colorado. I
attended the caucus in my pricinct then and was elected to go to the county
convention. There, I was supposed to vote for who the majority in my pricinct
had voted for, but it didn't matter. The county party bosses had already
decided who was going to run for each post. They kept the noise level high
enough that no one could tell who got the most "ayes" and
"nays". This year's Colorado caucuses also show what a farce they
are - 9% of registered voters appeared and they all tended to be right wing
whackos. The caucus system allows party bosses to control who runs and it
allows extremists to take control. It is no way to allow the majority or the
masses to have a proper say in politics.
The caucus system 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
60,000 republicans in Utah that went to the neighborhood caucus elections in
2010 to elect the GOP 3500 delegates. Add to those numbers to democrats and the
primary elections and certainly the municipal elections didn't do any
better in voter representation. In 2012, over 100,000 showed up to elect 4000
Gop delegates. I don't know how many to the democrat caucuses, but a
lot.Most people that want the caucus system changed, there are
exceptions, are frustrated that they don't have as much power as people
that show up to the neighborhood election caucus meetings. It doesn't take
money, you just have to show up.What we need are more people getting
involved earlier, not shutting down the system that protects us from power
hungry people wanting to take over.
If you are a state delegate, you like the caucus system. We
probably had 10 that would like to have been a state delegate in our caucus
meeting. Only 1 got to do it. Too bad we have to put up with this outdated
system. Candidates would love to give their messages to everyone.
Why meet with 4 people when you could meet with a 100. Time to go
to a closed primary election.
Let's stop lying to ourselves.I'm one of the few delegates
elected from my precinct. From hundreds of voters only 80 attended our caucus.
From the few who attended we elected only 2 delegates. We can all pretend that I
"represent" the others from my precinct, but we all know that I get to
go to the convention and vote for whomever I chose to vote for.The
caucus / convention system isn't part of a representative form of
government. It's part of an elitist power struggle and the victors take
all the spoils.
1st - the LDS Church made the same basic plea to it's congregation before
the 2010 election. Bottom line - primary races are won by the one
with the most money and removes the 'real' candidate from the voter.
The citizen will be lucky to get a handshake let alone a one on one. The citizen
will be relegated to sound bites, commercials, carefully constructed public
interviews, and ads of varying kinds all orchestrated by successful ad agencies.
Primary races are about money, folks, and that's all there is to it. Look who is standing side by side on this issue....look carefully.
Don't be deceived by fancy words and plays on your emotions. This stream of
anti-caucus articles are manipulative and decisive.The caucus
process is NOT the reason for Utah's lack of political participation. The
apathy is caused by a lack of democrats. That's no ones fault. It is what
it is. Next thing they'll try is forcing an equal number of Republican and
Democrat seats in the legislature. We have a great system! It's
produced one of the greatest managed states in the country.
@toosmartforyou, the caucus system whose praises you sing serves to
disenfranchise the vast majority of caucus attendees. Get used to the "angst
against the system" because any time you 1) deny that many people a
meaningful voice in the direction of their party, and then 2) go and do
something truly stupid like replacing a experienced senator who enjoys the
support of a majority of his constituents with an upstart obstructionist
ideologue, people are going to stand up and take notice.
The opening paragraph states, that the current caucus system is "a process
that renders politics a spectator sport for most Utah voters."If
we take that logic to the next level, the United States Senate is "a process
that renders politics a spectator sport for most U.S. voters." Why should we
elect 100 representatives throughout the United States? This gives these 100
people way too much power.Based on the logic of this article, all
laws should be put before a popular vote, and we should do away with the U.S.
Congress, as well as with the Utah Legislature. For that matter, we should do
away with county councils and city councils. Everything should always be done by
a popular vote.Personally, I'm elated that the U.S. has a
representative form of government. I'm pleased that Utah is smart enough to
bring that to a lower level -- clear down to the precincts.Way to
go, Utah! Way to go to the voters who turn off their TVs for one night every two
years and participate in their caucuses. For these voters, politics is
definitely NOT a spectator sport.
Those in favor of the caucus system keep writing about how it gets the maximum
number of people involved. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS LOGIC TO ME? I
attended my caucus, but like 95% of all students, I'm too mobile to be a
delegate. (Read: you alienate the 18-25 demographic and anyone who moves for
their job every caucus.) None of my delegates have to listen to a word I say,
and the promised contact info never got to me. In other words, my job at the
caucus was to attend, try and fail to speak, and then select who gave good
30-second speeches. The result: out of over 100 people, the only people who
matter in Utah politics from my precinct are the precinct chair & the 2
other delegates. No representation, just that oligarchy.
Too smart for you: I did suggest an alternate plan to the caucus, as you
suggested. It was the primary.
I have attended my caucus meetings every election. Why are some afraid to allow
all others a chance to cast a ballot in a Primary? Is it because they feel the
electorate is unintelligent, or unworthy to vote? What are the legal, official
qualifications to vote? Do those on this board who denegrate opponents of the
caucus & make false assumptions, feel that they are worthy to vote while
others are not? I don't need my church to tell me to attend caucus. But I
am grateful for any organization that encourages others to participate.In
the caucus system extremes have louder voices & greater influence. I feel
it is in the best interest of our state if a Primary system were followed.
I'm sick of the angst against the system because it turned out Bob Bennett.
I've attended caucus meetings for decades and those who make the decisions
are the ones "who show up." If you suddenly attended this year and
didn't get your way maybe you should develop a history of attending.
Bennett wasn't favored by my caucus and I was happy he was not retained, as
were several in my district. This year they still support Orrin Hatch. Those
who don't like the system can always organize a write-in campaign. The
system works in your participate and not just complain. I wouldn't have
selected a delegate that didn't embrace the caucus system and them griped
about it later, either. Enough of the verbal abuse heaped on those of us who
attended our caucus, and I wasn't elected either, neither did I wish to be.
Did you suddenly attend this year only because a religious leader urged it?
Get involved on your own, please, and proffer solutions instead of emphasizing
THe caucus system is an excellent means to get the maximum number of interested,
and usually iformed people involved in the process.Opponents tend to
fall into three categories:a. Incumbents who no longer are dong a
good job (Sen. Bennett and Hatch come to mind)b. The news media
which is threatened by "mere citizens who actually pay attention and
participate" having power instead of masses of basically ignorant voters who
might be swayed by a newspaper endorsement, or the tons of advertising that
enrich the media.c. Losers at the caucuses who failed to become
delegates because their neighbors voted for someone else they thought was better
quailfied to represent them.
I don't like the caucus system. There were many who attended the caucus
meetings and wanted to become a delegate so that they would be able to attend
the convention to vote their choice, but were not selected. Only a select few
(in my case only 5) were chosen to go to the State GOP convention.I
feel the caucus system should be scrapped and that we go to a straight Primary.
Perhaps when every citizens knows they can cast a vote (not just to
cast a vote on who the delegates decide is the best candidate) for each
candidate then more will become more educated and interested and actually
vote.I understand that a Primary system could be more expensive when
one must be conducted every election cycle (which would be the case if the
caucus system was scrapped). Perhaps the cost is worth it in order to allow
every voter the opportunity to cast their vote for all the candidates, not just
the one that delegates selected for me.