Rep. Jim Matheson favors getting rid of Utah political caucus system

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  • UtahMomPolitics WVC, UT
    June 6, 2012 12:29 a.m.

    Upon further reflection on this article, I can't help but wonder if this is more of the "hope and change" that the democrats are wanting to force on this nation.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    June 2, 2012 8:16 p.m.

    This year quite a number of Utahns realized our system means that their only meaningful opportunity to have any say in their government is to show up at the Republican caucuses, and so they showed up in droves. At my caucus, which was slated to be held in a schoolroom with capacity for at most 30 people, we had at least 250 people show up. The caucus took over three hours (every position required several rounds of balloting). It was quite an ordeal for everybody involved.

    Those who say the caucuses are better than direct primaries are extremists banking on the hope that the inconvenience of caucuses will scare enough of their neighbors into staying home and being disenfranchised that the extremists can wield a disproportionate share of power. This has been brought home to me by numerous conversations with supporters of the caucus system, who usually only take a couple minutes to start discussing how ignorant and stupid they think their neighbors are and how only the informed elite like them and their chosen delegates deserve a voice in government. These people are afraid of primaries because they know their neighbors will show up at the polling booth.

  • UtahMomPolitics WVC, UT
    June 1, 2012 1:38 p.m.

    The caucus system is just fine in my book. As a concerned voter, I have been able to get to know the candidates and am happy that there is a system out there for me to find someone who will uphold my values.

    Mia Love has certainly gotten my vote. I am very impressed with her ability to lead out in Saratoga Springs and turn the city away from bankruptcy is impressive. I really like how she helped the people of Saratoga Springs put in their library. There was $10,000 to start it and the people raised the rest of the money to have it built. With Mia's enthusiasm and charisma businesses and people came out of the woodwork to donate to getting an incredible library up and running. I LOVE how it is run completely on a volunteer basis, not a penny of it run on tax dollars. Now that is leadership! Go Mia!

  • KnitWitt Salt Lake City, UT
    May 31, 2012 6:01 a.m.

    I am a Republican, but congressman Matheson will get my vote. In my opinion he will be a strong advocate in Washington for the people of Utah.

  • crodier LAYTON, UT
    May 30, 2012 9:01 p.m.

    Matheson doesn't understand that Utah political character is different from other states. The caucus system encourages volunteerism, and plenty of moderate candidates have thrived in the caucus system. This just goes to show how out of step he really is.

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    May 30, 2012 4:25 p.m.

    Over the last 35 years I have been a delegate many times to both State and County conventions. From my experience, I agree with Congressman Matheson, the caucus system Utah has does not necessarily put forward the candidates most qualified, and most preferred by the public. In the caucus system, those choosing the candidates are more to the right or left than main stream voters in Utah and we end up with candidates that are not necessarily in line with Utah voters. But they are what we are given and so we hold our noses and vote for them. The caucus system needs to go.

    A second benefit of eliminating the caucus system is that a State-wide primary could be held earlier, and in a presidential election year (like this one) our voice and our votes would actually mean something. As it is now, we are the last state to hold a primary, and no one outside of Utah listens. What a shame.

  • On the other hand Spanish Fork, UT
    May 30, 2012 8:56 a.m.

    It's one thing to have a republican form of government, where our collective interests are represented by a representative we choose. It's another thing entirely to have a republican form of candidate selection, where a handful of people pretend to represent the collective interests of millions as they pick the candidate who supports their pet political positions. If we want our representatives to be truly representative, it follows that as many people as possible should have a direct say in who the candidates are.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    May 30, 2012 8:31 a.m.

    Cherilyn, your twisting of the meaning of the words democratic and republic, are simply wrong. The caucus system rewards the extremists, like yourself, who have learned to use and abuse a system that disenfranchises most voters. Like the Citizens United decision, Utah's caucus system -- at least as practiced by the Republican party -- is a danger to America. By no stretch of the imagination can anyone honestly claim it to be what the Founding Fathers intended.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 29, 2012 10:16 p.m.

    Strange. Most incumbents seem to object to the caucus system. But, only after they have been in office a while and voters get tired of them not living up to their promises.

    But, by that time, incumbents usually have anough money raised that they can squash challengers unable to buy big TV andprint ads to get name recognition.

    Keep the caucus system!

  • Cherilyn Eagar Holladay, UT
    May 29, 2012 10:15 p.m.

    The Constitution guarantees every state a republican form of government (via representatives), not a democratic form of government, the direct vote of the people. The only branch of government that the Framers designated for that direct vote was the House of Representatives – but again, to elect representatives.

    Those who want to get rid of that form of government naturally dislike the caucus system, because it's a republican form of government at the grassroots level.

    How the caucus was organized this year made it impossible for the delegates in the 2nd congressional district to meet with every candidate in only 29 working days. Several candidates compared notes afterward and learned that the majority of the delegates who were contacted multiple times during those 29 days either never answered their phones or gave the party business numbers or fax machines that could never be reached.

    Just as we expect accountability from our elected officials in Washington, so also must we expect accountability from the delegates we elect. Obviously some improvements can be made, but a representative form of government is still the best and that's what the caucus gives us.

    Cherilyn Eagar
    American Leadership Fund

  • The Professor Provo, UT
    May 29, 2012 9:30 p.m.

    I don't agree with Jim Matheson very often but I do on this point. The caucus system does allow "normal" citizens to attend in their neighborhood and chose those they want to represent them.
    However, I don't need to rely on someone else to represent me and my vote. I want to do that for myself, by myself. I am in favor of an open primary where we as citizens can do our homework and decide for ourselves who we want to represent us.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    May 29, 2012 9:09 p.m.

    Does Matheson only want to get rid of the caucus system because it doesn't favor individuals with large amounts of money?

    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.

    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.

    There were about 60,000 republicans in Utah that went to the neighborhood caucus elections in 2010 to elect the 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. This year those numbers doubled. Claims have been made that that made the delegates more moderate. The same delegates that almost gave Hatch the nominee voted for Mia Love by over 70%. Matheson should be scared. It was his "base" that picked Mia Love.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    May 29, 2012 8:20 p.m.

    Matheson is not the only person in Utah who would like to see the caucus system evaporate. Sensible, moderate voters do, too.

  • webworking Springville, UT
    May 29, 2012 6:45 p.m.

    Sounds like Matheson is getting worried.

    Gotta love Mia Love's comment about "Good luck getting that to work" in response to Matheson's attempts to paint her as an extremist.

    Professional politicians are in trouble going up against someone with a genuinely American success story - and Mia Love's story especially resonates with most Utahans.

  • Freshness9 Davis, UT
    May 29, 2012 6:11 p.m.

    Matheson shorter: if the caucus system were to support people like me, then I'd support it, but now that I'll lose this go around, I hate the Caucus system. This guy is a clown.