Caucus week: Push is on to bring more voices into the election process

Many hoping to get more Utahns involved in party caucuses this week

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  • Pat Sandy, UT
    March 13, 2012 3:25 p.m.

    Does anyone know if the Utah Republican Party in Salt Lake County has automatic delegates?

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    March 12, 2012 2:31 p.m.

    The voters in Utah, if they are dissatisfied with the caucus system are few. In 2010, when the Tea Party process was high, there still were only about 37 percent of Utah voters that turned out for the election, even though the numbers that attended caucuses that year was considerably higher that year. In 2008, with the general election brewing and a controversial election for President, there were only about 54 percent of the voters who turned out, one of the lowest percentages in the United States of America. This is in a state where the people should be voting each and every election. People in Utah should be involved in National, State and local politics. If they donÂt, we could be portrayed as hypocrites as some already thing we are. By not being involved, our children, brothers and sisters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews in other states are impacted by our inactivity to be involved. Our military defend our nation against foreign threats. We, as citizens are the ones to elect leaders who will defend us against domestic threats. Unfortunately, we canÂt just trust elected officials to do the right thing for the right reason. Go to your caucus meeting.

  • lket Bluffdale, UT
    March 12, 2012 12:56 p.m.

    they will keep this the way in utah so they keep power for rich

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    March 12, 2012 12:09 p.m.

    The caucus system works pretty well with the ability for good candidates to be selected. Mr. Karras is one of the sponsors and leaders of the education group that is affiliated with a national liberal and very progressive group that does not support public education. There are billboards all around the state promoting that. If you go to the website you donÂt really see what the group is all about, except by looking at names. You donÂt see the names of people that support public education. Instead of Bob Bennett this caucus, we are seeing education and Senator Hatch on the chopping block. After 20 years of going to caucus and being involved in that process, the last caucus meeting was about 8 times more people than normal. That would show that the caucus process for the Republican Part is increasing and not decreasing.

  • danaslc Kearns, UT
    March 12, 2012 8:22 a.m.

    I think that when all is said and done, nothing will change. Why the leaders in Utah think that those that are Delegates now, are not like their fellow citizens, is blind thinking. It is a prime example of self preservation over the needs of Utah's middle class. Wishful, blind thinking is the spot they want to keep the Delegates in. The problem with those that they claim are zealouts is that they are really politically savvy. They need to put those that are politically savvy back in the box. That is what this is all about and the citizens are not as dumb as they think.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 12, 2012 6:02 a.m.

    Re: On the other hand 1:34 a.m. March 11, 2012
    "@DN Subscriber, you're not following my logic"

    So what is your suggested solution to the problem you feel the GOP has?

  • Abe Sarvis Cedar City, UT
    March 11, 2012 11:51 p.m.

    Even if you were one of the 4000 delegates to the Republican convention selected at the caucuses,you'd still be part of a group that's outnumbered by the people who have automatic status as delegates. While the automatic delegates may team up with the elected delegates (a la the Bennett ouster) the fact is that if all the elected delegates voted one way and the automatic delegates voted another, the people elected at the caucuses would lose. I appreciate that some people by virtue of elected office (including party officials)might deserve automatic delegate status, but the fact that those people outnumber the elected delegates makes the process of being elected as delegate seem just a little bit futile.

  • PeanutGallery Salt Lake City, UT
    March 11, 2012 10:24 p.m.

    Wow, I used to have a pretty high opinion of Nolan Karras. But that respect just dropped a couple of notches after his demeaning insult of regular caucus attendees. Karras implies that after an earthquake, those who regularly want to be involved in the process would ignore the plight of their neighbors, and would instead go sit and wait for hours for the caucuses to start.

    What arrogance! Karras doesn't seem to like grassroots politics unless it's flooded by quiet, uninformed people who are easily swayed.

    Our caucus system is in good shape. Those who get elected as delegates are the type who care enough to make the effort to get informed. Truly informed people are the ones who will vote more wisely, rather than masses of people who vote based only on biased news sound bites or campaign slogans.

  • sjgf South Jordan, UT
    March 11, 2012 8:26 p.m.

    I keep hearing that the caucuses have been hijacked by radicals.

    I have been attending my caucus meetings for 20 years, and I have a hard time swallowing this idea. In all the meetings I have attended, it has simply been a group of well-informed neighbors getting together to vote for friends to go through the grueling process of vetting candidates.

    It wasn't until Bennett failed in the last election that I started hearing such negative comments about the caucus system. I have to wonder whether "the establishment" is now concerned that the caucus system won't guarantee reelection of members of the "good old boy" network.

    Do we really want to eliminate this wonderful caucus system because it might be a danger to the "good old boy" network?

  • Constitutionalist South Jordan, UT
    March 11, 2012 8:17 p.m.


    Mobile students may have a problem running as delegates. The caucuses are held once every two years. The delegates have duties in both years. So when you accept a nomination as a delegate, you need to be willing to fill your post for 2 years. Realistically this means about 14 months, as your first year's duties will be fulfilled at the "nominating" convention to be held next month, but then in a year from then, there will be a second "party business" convention at which you need to also represent those who put their trust in you at your precinct caucus.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    March 11, 2012 6:29 p.m.

    "BU52" There's a better than 80% chance that Guv. Herbert will ALSO be voted out at the statewide caucus.

    You just may not have heard much about that because there isn't near as much money being put into the race at this point.

    Guv. Herbert hasn't offered much in the way of true leadership. He mostly just tries to "get by".
    Why NOT choose someone different for Guv.??

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    March 11, 2012 5:57 p.m.

    @DN Subscriber: America is ruby those with the biggest pocketbooks. To even get your name on the ballot you to be vetted and approved by the big business, special interest puppetmasters pulling the strings.

  • BU52 Provo, ut
    March 11, 2012 3:41 p.m.

    While it might be laudable for more people to be involved in the process, its pretty obvious that the Dnews has bought into the Hatch campaign because that's really the only race that will be effected by having a teaparty dominated caucus. And while I appreciate how Hatch has rediscovered his constituency since the Bennett slamdown he still just comes across as a career politician blown by whatever wind will ensure his retaining his seat in the Senate. Term limits are only necessary when the people are too stupid to impose them on their own, just like a balance budget amendment is only necessary when the people we send back to D.C. admit that they can't control their own impulses.

  • Heime Provo, UT
    March 11, 2012 3:20 p.m.

    It's great that down here at BYU, the Church has ensured that nothing gets in the way of students attending caucuses. However, for those of us who are fairly new to the political process, some sort of guide may be helpful. I've heard of a push to get to the caucus, and I know where my caucus meets but I know little else. It took me a while to find out which congressional district I was in, and I still don't know who my state representatives are in Provo. Further, students like me have challenges that haven't been addressed, such as a mobile lifestyle. I have no idea if I can be a delegate if I will move this summer (I'm planning to vote in Utah by absentee ballot), or even if I change precincts between March and November. Party leaders, please put some sort of guide up on the Internet so that the rising generation has access to your goals and candidates.

  • Winglish Lehi, UT
    March 11, 2012 2:11 p.m.

    There once was a man who lived in land called Oz. This man thought his opinion should matter more than that of the good people of Oz. He positioned himself as an all-knowing, all-wise wizard. The man convinced others that if someone did not rule Oz, the land would be ruled by a mob mentality. Being that he was so all-knowing, he would take control of Oz. While the vast majority disagreed with some of the Wizard of Oz's decisions, particularly when their children were getting diseases, the wizard scared the people into obedience through his use of big words and by aligning himself with a local newspaper. The media would do the wizard's bidding. Only members of the most exclusive club, The Wizard's Club, were allowed any input into how Oz should be run.

    The day came when Oz was exposed for the fraud that he was. That was the day when the people of Oz finally realized that they had been scammed for generations.

  • goatesnotes Kamas, UT
    March 11, 2012 1:03 p.m.

    In my view, our system in Utah comes closest to the fulfillment of representative republic envisioned by the founders than any other I've seen. We elected representatives to vote on our behalf, rather than a direct democracy where a simple majority rules. The whole idea is captured by Thomas Jefferson in The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, No. 1685, p. 193, where he wrote, ÂThe Constitution was meant to be republican, and we believe it to be republican according to every candid interpretation.Â

    Clarification: That's not Republican with a capital "R" -- it's "republican" as in "representative republic" with a small "r." Never forget the difference.

    The average Utah/U.S. citizen typically does not take the time to study issues and candidates as thoroughly as one who puts himself/herself up for consideration as a delegate to the nominating conventions. It is presumed delegates will make informed choices based upon their best judgments and that trust is imposed by their friends and neighbors at the caucus meetings at the lowest level of government imaginable. Even those who feel disenfranchised because they cannot attend are encouraged to speak to their friends and neighbors about their preferences. It's our form of government in America.

  • arod Ogden, UT
    March 11, 2012 12:31 p.m.

    There is difference between a state convention that is united in seeking to place the two best candidates before the statewide Republican electorate, and a convention in which one candidate's supporters are actively and avowedly trying to keep their strongest competitor off the primary ballot. If the goal of the convention is anything short of placing the strongest candidates before the statewide Republican voters, then the convention delegates are wresting control of the Republican primary process away from the statewide Republican voters. I attended the caucus meeting in my precinct. I voted for a delegate who was "leaning" towards the candidate I supported. But I don't know how he voted at the convention. Caucuses in my experience are far different that actual primary ballots. When I vote in a primary I am 100% sure who I am voting for! In a caucus delegate selection process, the delegates are often not bound to vote for my preferred candidate, and my participation in the process may or may not count for anything. What unbiased observer will say that Sen. Bennett was not among the top two candidates in 2010 in the eyes of the statewide Republican electorate? We never got to find out!

  • On the other hand Spanish Fork, UT
    March 11, 2012 1:34 a.m.

    @DN Subscriber, you're not following my logic; instead you're offering up a false analogy. 100% of the registered voters who show up at the polls for the general election will have a direct influence on the outcome of the election. In contrast, if 100,000 eligible participants show up to the Republican caucuses, only 4% of them will have a direct influence on the outcome of the state convention. The other 96% get the consolation prize of having helped select a handful of their neighbors whose opinions (whatever they may be or however they may change) will actually count in this process.

    I fully understand why the 4,000 delegates are interested in this process. I don't understand the incentive for the remaining 96,000 (if the GOP gets that many voters out to the caucuses) to play the game. There's nothing in it for them.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 10, 2012 7:48 p.m.

    OTOH- Using that logic, why should we allow the 60% of people who bother to vote in general elections have the power over 100% of the people?

    Remember, caucuses select a "Party's"candidates, and a party is made up of like-minded (more or less) people who are pushing or selling their beliefs. If they conflict with your beliefs, round up all your like-minded thinkers and maybe that party can in a majority of voters in the general election.

    Or, we could just sit back and let the media tell us who should be elected. How'd that work out our our country in 2008?

  • On the other hand Spanish Fork, UT
    March 10, 2012 5:51 p.m.

    The GOP wants 100,000 people to show up to caucuses and select the 4,000 people (minus automatic delegates) who will have a say in who gets on the ballot. Why does the GOP think that 96,000 people want someone else to think and vote on their behalf? Why should 4% of the people have 100% of the power in this process?

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 10, 2012 5:14 p.m.

    The world is run by those who show up.

    Some people make things happen, others watch what happens and some only wonder what happened.

    The caucus system is superb because is gives power to people who are actually interested, paying attention and willing to turn off their TV long enough to get out and go to a meeting once every two years.

    Simple primaries instead of caucuses place the power back in the hands of the "elite" media pundits, and politicians with the most money to spend on advertising. Candidates with good positions are easily pushed out of the way by that system.

    Frankly, too many voters are simply so poorly informed about candidates and issues that they should not even be allowed to vote!

    Get informed, and go to your caucus and use your voice to help nominate good candidates!