Improve, don't replace, the caucus

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  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2013 5:23 p.m.

    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.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 15, 2013 5:18 p.m.

    FYI... tax payers don't pay for either party's convention. The State pays for and administers BOTH party's Primary Election (it's the law).

    I tend to agree it's silly for Republicans to only allow Republicans to vote in their primary. I think I see why they think it's needed, but I think it's silly. I have ZERO interest in voting in the Democrat Primary (even though I could). I'm always befuddled by people who are not Republican... but insist THEY should be able to pick the Republican party's candidates. That makes no sense to me.

    Maybe I'll vote in the Democrat primary next time just to see why people want to do it so bad.

    About the only candidate I could whole_heartedly vote FOR in the Demo_primary would be Jim Matheson. But he's run unopposed every time except once (good example of Party big_wigs picking your candidate for you... without a SINGLE popular vote). He not only got to the PRIMARY without you voting... He got to the GENERAL election unopposed (no vote needed)... hmmm.... but nobody cares.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    May 15, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    Get rid of the caucus system. It smacks of the liberal attitude that only a few 'in the know' have the right to control the ignorant masses. I shall vote against my state representatives currently in power until voters have the right to directly elect their own candidates.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 15, 2013 4:21 p.m.

    @2 bits

    Again, I probably didn't make my point well enough, and it in all fairness it was a bit off topic, and that probably is the root of the confusion.

    I don't care how the republicans or democrats select their candidates. I really don't.

    What I do care about though are the Primaries using State money and restricting it to party members. Unless things have changed, and they may well have, to vote in the Republican Primary one must be a registered republican. The democrats do it differently, I do not have to be a registered democrat, but I cannot belong to another party. I feel this is better, but the ideal solution would be if I'm paying for your party to select a candidate I should get a say.

    If either or both parties developed a system that had no primary, or a completely privately financed election, I would be fine with that. Just don't ask me to pay and not allow me to vote.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 15, 2013 2:25 p.m.

    You are aware that Democrats don't do this. No State I know of does this. No Party I know of does this.

    In every system I know of the first opportunity where EVERYBODY gets to vote is the Primary Election.

    Republicans and Democrats in Utah have a Primary Election (they are on the same day, in the same room, use the same voting machines, use the same staff, same facilities, etc). Why should just Republicans conduct ANOTHER Primary before the real Primary??? I don't get it!

    Do you want the Democrats to conduct a primary election before THEIR primary election? They do the same thing (their primary candidates are selected at their Convention). The only difference is that the Demorat convention is made up of DNC big-wigs... and the Republican Convention is made up of neighborhood delegates. Why is that so terrible?

    I can't understand why uninformed people keep saying "Republicans need a Primary where every vote counts". They already have a Primary where every vote counts just like the Democrats! These people are probably in the 80% that don't vote in the primary. How could they... They don't even know we have one!

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 15, 2013 12:40 p.m.


    That's not quite what I'm saying. The article was calling for a way in which more republicans could select their candidate.

    Whatever means they choose, I really don't care. However, if State funding is to be used, it should be open to all voters.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 15, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    Do you mean having a primary election to pick the primary election candidates? Kindof a pre-primary Primary??? A system no political party I know of anywhere in America uses?

    That may be a good idea IF the State (meaning you and me) would fund it (becasue the State doesnt' have ANY money not collected from you and me).

    So... you want ANOTHER primary... with polling locations staffed and opereated in every neighborhood in every city everywhere in the state to vote for who they want to see on the REAL primary in a few months (also funded by tax payers). And this EXTRA Primary will be for every position (from local school board to State Senator)? Imagine what the Pre_Primary turnout would be when we get ~15% to the REAL Primary. And nobody knows who the candidates are yet.

    This would change how campaigns are financed, requiring more candidates to raise money earlier to start advertising earlier so voters would know who the non-encumbant candidates are before the PRE_Primary election. Small campaigns would forced to spend huge $$$ (sometimes from their own pocket) and not even make the REAL Primary.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 15, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    If only there was some sort of system where every eligible voter could have a voice in picking candidates. If only there was some State funded mechanism that could be used to actually select a candidate. Something like a ... primary election.

    I have always been bothered that because I don't elect to register with the Republican Party I cannot vote in their primary, but they have no problem taking my tax dollars to support their election.

    Do whatever process you want within your party, but when it comes time for a taxpayer funded election, every voter should be able to cast a vote.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 15, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    Sounds like a good plan. Keeps the good part (common people making the decisions instead of political power brokers), but addresses some of the problems (how the caucuses operate). There are some problems, but it seems odd that the people most vocal about doing away with it entirely are Democrats, who would never be caught dead at a Neighborhood Caucus Meeting.

    I'm not going to tell Democrats how to do their business. I don't know why they think it's their responsibility to tell Republicans how to do theirs. But you would think if Democrats were so concerned about big-busineses, rich-people, and party-politicians controling the process... they would not just let their rich party insiders pick THEIR candidates. I'm just sayin... what they have isn't perfect either. So why insist that Republicans turn the primary candidate selection process over to THEIR rich party insiders???

    I like common working folks like me and my neighbors selecting who will represent the party in the primary, not party officials who can be bought off with quid-pro-quo offers more easily than a divers group of common people from each neighborhood in the state.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 15, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    How do you improve on a system that was faulty and corrupt from the beginning?

    A bad olive branch will be a bad olive branch no matter how many times you graft it. A pig is still a pig no matter how much lipstick and makeup you put on it.

  • all hands on deck Sandy, UT
    May 15, 2013 8:09 a.m.

    The arguments used to lower the threshold on primaries from 70% to 60% are as valid today as they were when they changed. Now, an argument that suggests more people will be involved in the process if we raise the threshold from 60% to 70% or to 66% has no solid basis whatsoever and is actually absurd. Raising the threshold will not include more people, it will just cost more money fighting primaries and hence, the person with the biggest war chest will win.

    So we will get rid of smaller pocket people running and only have big pocket politicians. Wrong direction!!!

  • Winglish Lehi, UT
    May 15, 2013 6:51 a.m.

    Governor Osmond, anyone? I'll cast the vote right now.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 15, 2013 12:11 a.m.

    The 60% threshold to avoid a primary works, allowing a shot of a challenger to eliminate an incumbent and yet requires a challenger to be a strong candidate.

    Based on the state gop released stats since 2000 for state wide or congressional races, at 60%, threshold to avoid a primary, 1/2 of contested races went to primary. If at 2/3, 67% of contested races go to a primary and at 70%, 70% of the races go to primary.

    70% would not have helped Sen. Bennett in 2010. 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.

    Sen. Hatch just barely missed eliminating Dan Liljenquist by hitting just under the 60%, and Jason Chaffetz just missed eliminating Chris Cannon by hitting just under 60%.

    The current system does not protect the incumbent, wealthy or famous. I think that is a good thing.