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Comments about ‘My view: A 'good old boy' system’

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Published: Thursday, Jan. 30 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Sal
Provo, UT

Excellent article from someone on the inside of the system. Our founding fathers trusted the people. The caucus system needs to be eliminated to allow more people the opportunity to participate in candidate selection. I'll be working against my state legislators unless they help eliminate the caucus in Utah.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Sure, let's get rid of a system that Hatch controlled by using his status, his influence, his power in Congress. Does anyone sincerely believe that the huge turnout in the last caucus as not directly due to Hatch's effort to be re-elected?

The problem is not that Hatch controlled the caucus, but that those who wanted to be delegates corrupted the system when they ran as delegates for Hatch. That problem is easily fixed by requiring those who run as a delegate to investigate each candidate who wants to run as a Republican and to select from that candidate pool, the candidate that best matches the wishes of the precinct.

Who would select the candidates that appear on a primary ballot without a caucus? How many primary elections would we have until one candidate received a majority of all votes cast? How much would it cost each candidate to run in a primary election?

Why not just appoint the Republican incumbent to the office for a lifetime? Why include the voters at any stage? Let the party royalty confer the office.

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

T?he tea party started there and we should finish off after the monumental failure of the movement.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Gerald,
You spent your whole article pointing out your perceived "problems" with your experience at the most recent caucus meetings (I dare say that year was an anomaly and not something we should base our whole system on).

But you spent the whole article listing the problems with caucuses... Primaries with no convention to narrow the field to the top-2 contenders has it's own set of problems... doesn't it? Why not mention any of those??

===

1. If 2 finalists don't face off in the primary, the winner will not have majority support.

If every person who applies is on the ballot... we could have dozens of people on the ballot and no candidate can get over 50% of the vote. Which means you nave a severely weakened candidate going into the General Election (not a good thing). A flawed candidate that couldn't even get 50% support from Republicans... so he has no momentum, no base-support, no mandate/support from his own party... He can't get 50% of Republicans... so how can he get greater than 50% support from Democrats and Republicans combined?

#2. It splits the vote (out of words)...

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

#2. It splits the vote.
Say there are 20 people on the ballot. If there's a popular position (say gay marriage or something). If most voters favor of it, naturally most of the candidates will support it (a good thing). But if there's one who doesn't... he gets all those votes, the rest of the votes get spread across 19 people... and the least popular position wins (a bad thing).

It happened at my caucus meeting.

It was obvious one side had clear majority support in the room. They asked for volunteers. They spoke. A lot supported the majority position. One didn't. We voted... Shockingly the minority guy advanced. Because majority position votes got spread over the numerous people sharing the majority position, and the minority votes got consolidated into one person.

There should have been 2 votes. One to find the top-2. Then another vote to decide between those... then the majority would have won. That's what's SUPPOSED to happen... right?

===

Then there's the question of... where to primary voters get their voting information (without a convention to hear the candidates speeches)... Just from TV and newsprint adds??

Out of words again...

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

So there's the issue of where we get information on the candidates without a convention (TV, Lawn signs, familiar family name, being the incumbent with lots of TV exposure, one who got the least mud thrown at him by the media, etc)... A newcomer doesn't stand a chance

#4. We already have a party primary

It's just between the top-2 candidates (which is a good thing - reference my caucus experience). If you have a wide field (instead of top-2) it's a mess.

====

OK. I think I got it all out there.

What I'm trying to say is... There's lots of problems with a broad primary too.
You only mentioned the problems with one side. I wanted to tell the other side.

Both have problems.

I don't care totally which one we choose... as long as the person with majority support actually wins and goes into the General Election with lots of momentum (not fighting to regain support of his own party after a bitter 20 person primary, when he should be focusing on his Democrat opponent).

We only get 10% turnout to party primaries. Something to think about.

The Hammer
lehi, utah

I like Hatch and I like Bennett and I love the caucus system. I have served in several positions too. I completely disagree with the count my vote group. Big lobby groups love primaries. They love them because they can out spend another on providing material and other items to twist the vote to how they like. Primaries also serves to bring out the low information voters.

Caucuses require people to be engaged and occasionally they suffer from low turnout. But Primaries and local elections usually suffer from low turnout just as often if not more so.

If we don't start expecting people to be involved in caucuses how do expect people to be engaged in primaries? The logic isn't there. Both systems aren't perfect but a primary is harder to control by big money lobbies. Lets stop allowing big money to control our politicians and force them to work through a caucus where we at least have some control over what they say to those who are involved.

Lew Scannon
Provo, UT

Gee, hard to argue with this. Sounds pretty accurate. A friend of mine who is very involved in the Republican party apparatus is appalled at the amount of corruption the "good old boy" network produces on a regular basis.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Yesterday Maverick said you can buy the election, in the Caucus-Convention-Primary system.

HOW would you do it??

First... you would need to hire people to go to every caucus meeting (to insure that your guys get elected as delegates to the convention)... hint, there are thousands of individual caucus meetings... you would have to cover them all.

Then... buy the Convention (I don't know who you would pay, but you said they could buy it so somebody has to get paid).

THEN... you still need to buy the Primary Election (that's where every registered voter gets to vote). So you would need to buy a LOT of people to buy that one.

THEN... hope your guy wins the General Election (even though he's not the person the people really want, but your person who BOUGHT the election).

===

It's not very easy. It would be much easier to BUY a primary (just hire advertising agency to buy tons and tons of advertising)

I really don't think it's feasible to BUY election in the caucus-convention-primary system. It's practically impossible.

But sow paranoia if you must. Whatever it takes.

ClarkHippo
Tooele, UT

So let me get this straight. The caucus system is corrupt, but an open primary or as people politely call it "Count My Vote" would not be?

Let me paint a scenario. Candidate A is an independently wealthy person who has never been elected to office once. Yet, he has anywhere from 15 to 20 million dollars of his own money to spend on his campaign. With that amount of resources, he wouldn't need to knock on a single door or make one phone call. Sure, I suppose he might send his well paid campaign staff out to knock on some doors here and there, but his entire campaign would be done via TV spots, radio ads and mailings which he could flood the airwaves and mail boxes with.

Now you have Candidates B and C. Both have served in a number of elected offices, but neither have the millions of dollars Candidate A has. Even if both of these two knocked on doors morning, noon and night, they wouldn't even come close to reaching the same number of voters as Candidate A.

This is fair?

This proposal isn't ":Count My Vote" but "Buy my Vote"

Sal
Provo, UT

Mike, the huge turnout last caucus was due to voters being upset at the Tea Party influencing delegates to vote against Senator Bennett. Utah voters overwhelmingly supported Bennett but never got the chance to vote for him due to right-wing delegates. We don't want that to happen again.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "Gerald Nebeker is a retired financial controller. He has been involved in the political process for many years as an elected official and a concerned citizen."

In other words, he's big-money, big-politics, big-party. Of course he's now supporting Buy My Vote.

It'll make controlling Utah so much easier for the big-money, big-party interests. He won't even have to go to neighborhood caucuses anymore and try to convince people he actually represents them, instead of the moneyed interests that sent him there.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

@Sal,

I disagree with you. There were many new people in my precinct. I asked many of them what they thought of various candidates. Most didn't even know that those people were running for office. They were there because they received letters or email from Hatch's campaign. They were there because they had been asked to vote for delegates who wanted to return Hatch to the Senate. They were there because they THOUGHT that the caucus is a primary and they were going to vote for Hatch.

Bennett tried to do that the year he lost out in the nominating convention. I've stored some of the emails that I received from his campaign people. Bennett tried to control the caucus system. Hatch tried to do the same thing. Unfortunately, Hatch succeeded. Now we have to put up with his version of ObamaCare. Instead of repealing ObamaCare, as he promised, he's just replacing it with HatchCare.

People do not need an incumbent to tell them how to vote, nor do they need "party leaders" to select the candidates for them.

Furry1993
Ogden, UT

To Gerald Nebeker -- good letter, and exactly right. When I cast a vote at every level, from the entry level selecting the candidates to run in the general election to the final ballot, I want it to count and be counted. Win or lose, I want my vote to COUNT. I want my vote to go for a candidate I support, not for a "delegate" who may or may not vote for my choice. A caucus system does not supply or support what I need; a preliminary election does. It's long past time to do away with the caucus system and let everyone's vote actually COUNT.

BTW -- I'm a Republican. I'm talking about my own party's candidate selection system.

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