Letter: Mero needs a clue

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  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 20, 2014 5:10 p.m.


    Congratulations on your desire to be involved citizen. Continue to work to make the changes that you see fit. I for one am a supporter of Count My Vote. My reasons for support are many. At the same time I will agree to disagree with those who attack the Count My Vote Movement by implying that you as youthful voter, or me as a public school teacher are not well informed or able to make a reasonable choice of candidates. I will however say that Mr. Mero and others have the right to say what they say, and in my humble opinion help make a stronger case for the need for Count My Vote. Keep the faith, keep learning and hopefully some day I will have an opportunity to cast a vote for you in a primary election.

  • JenicaJessen Riverton, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 7:10 p.m.

    Mike Richards-- Mike Lee may be one of the most popular examples used in the caucus system debate, but he is by no means the only Utah official whose process of getting elected involved the caucus system. The offices aren't "conferred" every time, but it still happens too often for complacency. In 2012, not a single member of Utah's congressional delegation faced a primary. Gary Herbert, Jason Chaffetz, Rob Bishop, and Chris Stewart all skipped the primary elections and faced non-competitive generals. (And Utah 1, three of those four were incumbents.) In effect, all of them had the seats handed to them in the caucus conventions. It disturbs me that our system allows that to happen at all-- regardless of their political affiliation or ideology, they still should have been held accountable to the people as a whole. They were not.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 12:21 a.m.

    I was there. I though several of Mr. Mero's comments were out of line.

    That said, LaVarr Webb, one of the big supporters of Count My Vote said this, prior to launching the poorly drafted proposed law:

    "Fair. A system that provides inherent advantages to those who are incumbent, wealthy or famous is not acceptable."

    They later dropped that principle and admitted that our current system has it.
    "The current caucus/convention nominating process has many excellent qualities that we wish to retain. The system allows candidates who lack fame, wealth, and incumbency to compete for a party’s nomination. We also appreciate the valuable grassroots nature of the process, with neighbors gathering to discuss political issues and candidates. "

    We have a system that does NOT favor the incumbent, wealthy or famous. This is a good thing. Keep Fair Elections in Utah, don't sign Count My Vote / Buy My Vote.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    The Sutherland Institute works tirelessly to attack those who might have views outside of their tiny little scope. The Sutherland Institute is nothing more than another arm for corporate America. They talk about promoting freedom. In reality, their actions only promote servitude and slavery for the middle and lower classes.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 18, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    JenicaJessen, in your 2:26 p.m. post on January 17 you seemed to imply that elected office is "conferred". That simply is not true. The results of the 1st round of voting in the nominating convention, Mike Lee: 982 votes, Tim Bridgewater: 917 votes and Robert Bennett: 885 votes from the delegates whom we selected to represent us in our caucus meetings. In the 2nd round, Tim Bridgewater: 1,274, Mike Lee: 1,225 and Robert Bennett was eliminated when he received 905 votes. In the 3rd round, Tim Bridgewater: 1,854 votes to Mike Lee's 1,383 votes. In the Primary election, Mike Lee received 98,512 votes to Tim Bridgewater's 93,905 votes.

    The process started at the caucus and continued until Mike Lee received 61% of the votes in the General Election.

    Republican citizens selected delegates who elected Tim Bridgewater and Mike Lee. Republican citizens elected Mike Lee in the Primary. Citizens from all parties elected Mike Lee in the General Election. Party leaders did not select the Republican candidates. Other parties did not select Republican candidates. Republican delegates elected by registered Republicans elected the Republican candidates.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    @Mike Richards and 2 bits. The problem with the republican caucuses is that you can not compete with the extremist. If you go to a republican caucus you vilified for even having moderate views. I know you guys would suggest I get more moderate republicans to attend but the truth is people get turned off by people who spread blatant lies and half truths.

    Also, when you have a conversation with these republican extremist they try to tell you are ill informed and that you are believing the "liberal media." I for one do not like being insulted like this and I am tired of it. I know many other people who feel this way.

    Is the count my vote initiative the answer? Maybe not but the caucus system could be a lot better.

  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Jan. 18, 2014 8:06 a.m.


    Yes, the Virginia GOP did do precisely what you said in last year's state races, and they nominated a set of extremists who couldn't win in the general state election. There was a lot of pushback from the electorate because of that decision, and it backfired in November. I would hope that's an instructive lesson to those who favor the caucus approach because it nominates the "ideologically pure."

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    What he said was a huge generalization. Generalizations arent' 100% correct. But for some teenagers it fits (and some adults).

    You are probably on the far edge of the informed spectrum for teenagers, but there are teenagers who only know what they heard on AM radio, from the Sutherland Institute, or glossy advertising and propaganda funded by anonymous sources.

    I would agree with turning the party nomination process into a popularity contest IF we could get even 25% turn out at a Party Primary. But so often the candidates ridiculous.

    I think the caucus system has some problems, but a Primary does too. It's not neccessarily an improvement if the majority of those end up voting what the party recommended, or the name they recognise, or the candidate with the best profile picture, or the candidate had the best smear campaign such as John Swallow.

    The Primary is NOT an attempt to keep you out of politics. It's an attempt to get people with brains MORE involved in politics (by independently examining candidates and then picking the most qualified in the group without being stymied in their choice by activists at the Convention).

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 3:32 p.m.

    Owen -- that was a wonderful post. Thank you. You nailed it.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 3:25 p.m.

    I believe we need to move from a caucus to a primary system because too many people are pushed out of selecting the best candidate for the election. I think the argument about the risk of too many uninformed voters wind up making the decision in a primary is pretty disingenuous when we are also whining about a 2004 vote being overturned.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 3:21 p.m.

    "Utah is the only state in the nation where a candidate for public office can bypass a primary election entirely-- which happens regularly. "

    Not necessarily. For 2013 Republicans in Virginia nominated their Governor, Lt. Gov. and AG candidates via a convention (I think that might've been a change from the norm for them to do it that way). Democrats in Virginia nominated theirs via a primary.

  • JenicaJessen Riverton, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 2:26 p.m.

    2bits: With or without caucus meetings, I can (and am planning to) vote in all the primary and general elections. (I've only been able to vote in municipal elections so far because during the last primary and general election-- 2012-- I was 17.)

    But the caucuses and conventions are where all the real decisions are made. Utah is the only state in the nation where a candidate for public office can bypass a primary election entirely-- which happens regularly. And as has already been pointed out, in a general election the Republican usually wins by default. (Not with every candidate and not in every district, no, but quite often.) This means that the office can be conferred upon the party favorite without any input from the general voting public.

    So yes, you're right, I can and will vote in the primaries and generals-- but in some cases, it doesn't even matter. THAT is why I'm so focused on the caucus system.

  • Mike in Sandy Sandy, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 1:38 p.m.

    Mero is so far right, Mike Lee is to his left. Extremists should never be counted on for any policy/protocol/opinion that affects normal people.

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 1:29 p.m.

    "With or without caucus meetings... you get to vote in the party primary."

    Not True.... you can only vote in the primaries of the GOP is if you are a registered republicans. If you are independent, you can not "voice" an opinion of vote in the GOP caucuses.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 1:20 p.m.

    The Sutherland institure and many conservative organizations continuously try to narrow the voting blocs by coming up with weak excuses like "uniformed voters". They see the trends and the only way they hold on to power is to limit the vote. You stay involved, America needs more kids like you!!

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 12:05 p.m.

    Again... nobody's taking away your right to vote.

    With or without caucus meetings... you get to vote in the party primary.

    With or without caucus meetings... you get to vote in the general election.


    If we don't narrow the field for the party primary... there is no chance ANY candidate will come out of the Primary with a majority vote.

    Without a majority of his OWN party supporting him... his opponent will use that against him in the general election and point out that not even a majority of his OWN party supported him... so how can a majority of both parties support him?

    We must narrow it to the top-2 candidates for the primary. Otherwise if there are even 2 people on the ballot with similar positions... half vote for each... and the guy with outlier position actually wins... do you WANT that?

    The convention is just a way to find the top-2 candidates for the Party Primary.

    IF you're not in the top-2 (like Bennett) run as independent in the general election!

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 11:38 a.m.

    Here is the rub with the caucus system that I think Jennica is talking about..

    She went to BOTH party caucus meetings, which to my understanding is that she is independent.

    In the GOP caucuses they have "closed" elections (Democratic are open), so the only way for an independent who may or may not lean right has no way of voting for someone in the primaries without "joining" the party.

    Count my Vote makes it so that independents can vote in primaries, thus the new system would work for those of us who refuse to join a party.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 17, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    My first vote at age 18 was precious to me. I felt a new sense of citizenship. I informed myself carefully. I remember long, deep conversations with people. I think I may have cared more then than I do now. Mr. Mero's arrogant dismissal of the young voter is breathtaking. And people give this man money?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    You are not marginalised. You get to vote twice in every election. Once in the Party Primary, and a again in the General Election.

    Have you been taking advantage of THOSE opportunities (voting in every Party Primary). If not... what can I say?

    You seem to be only focused on ONE thing...getting rid of caucus meetings. They don't do away with your right to vote. Both parties (Democrat and Republican) already have a Party Primary Election (a few months ahead of the General Election). Have you been voting in them consistently? If you have... you are one of the less than 15% that turned out to vote in the party primaries last August. If not... you are marginalising yourself (which at least 85% of the population is currently doing).


    Caucuses don't prevent you from voting. We marginalise ourselvs when we don't show up to the party primary!

    YOU get to vote (in your party primary).

    YOU get to vote again (in the general election).

    85% of us are marginalising ourselvs by not showing up to the existing Party Primary elections!

    Why would that % change by just doing away with caucus meetings??

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 10:59 a.m.

    You are theoretically correct, when you reach the legal age as defined by law you are capable of making intelligent decisions. In reality, uninformed or irresponsible voters have been a continuing concern from the early days of our republic. Hence some political offices initially were not by direct election. Let's hope that your level of involvement and information will extend to young and old voters alike. An informed electorate is the goal and we have far to travel.

  • JenicaJessen Riverton, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 10:54 a.m.

    2bits, I know neither system is perfect. A perfect system isn't possible. But I definitely prefer a direct primary, because while it won't eliminate the problems of poorly informed and low-participating voters, it at least gives them a chance to improve.
    Noodlekaboodle: Along with what 2bits said, I'd like to point out changing the system would allow more party diversity. Direct primaries would let parties endorse candidates, but not keep them off the ballot. With a little work, anyone could get on the ballot regardless of ideology or party.
    MikeRichards, I thought it would be difficult to be more condescendingly prejudiced than Meros, but I guess I was wrong. I do not support Count My Vote because I’m inexperienced and want someone to explain my rights to me. I do NOT support Count My Vote because I want a "father figure" to "worship." I am not desperately seeking the approval of anyone older than me. I-- and my peers-- are seeking the approval of people we respect, and we're seeking respect from others in Utah's political community regardless of our age. Clearly we're not going to get it from you.

  • JenicaJessen Riverton, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 10:45 a.m.

    I have in fact noticed my level of involvement is something of an aberration. But it would be among older adults, too. Not everyone is well-informed, and that's true regardless of age. Young people are not less involved than older people; my generation has one of the highest levels of community involvement and volunteerism in history. The reason that Millenials' participation in politics is low is because they don't want to waste their time on a system they feel they can't affect and doesn't represent them. To me, that sounds like a problem with the system, not the youth.
    About uninformed people: Churchill said "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." He also said "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried." Yes, I'll admit there are poorly-informed people-- but that doesn't mean they should be marginalized. The price of a free democracy is that stupid and intelligent people alike are given the same rights, and if we can't handle that fact we should switch to an oligarchy.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 10:18 a.m.

    Mero wears the narrowest of blinders, to the point that he can only focus on one tiny dot, then he believes the entire world should only look at the tiny dot he's focused on.
    If anyone is clueless, it's Mero and his ilk.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 10:02 a.m.

    The problem with the caucus is that if you aren't available at one specific time on one specific day you're out of luck. Working that evening? Too bad. Night classes? Too bad. A primary at least gives the flexibility of voting before or after work.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 17, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    Whiners always tell us that the "system" is at fault, when the problem is that the "system" works, but doesn't work the way that the whiners wanted it to work. Case in point: Mike Lee. Utah has two major political parties. Both parties are free to establish rules for the selection of candidates. Neither party can dictate rules to the other party. Some people find that offensive. They would level the playing field by requiring that all candidates accept their own party's platform. The Republicans decided to allow members of the Republican party vote for delegates to talk with each candidate and determine which candidate most closely represented their precinct. That infuriated Bob Bennett's supporters who wanted to crown Bob Bennett without an election. That infuriated those who didn't bother to go to their caucus meeting. That infuriated those who went but who couldn't sway the vote.

    The delegates talked to the candidates and Mike Lee was one candidate selected. In the Primary, Mike Lee won 51.2% of the votes. Whiners tell us that the system failed. The system worked for everyone except the whiners.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    Your whining is well taken. But I don't know if it's as justified as you think. If any Republican always wins... How do you explain Jim Matheson's success?

    I explain it by him not being a radical Democrat, and knowing what Utahns want. (Something Democrats may want to consider when replacing him in the future).

    Run more candidates that are more in tune with what Utahns want... and they will get elected.

    But keep running radicals, pro-abortion activists, prople who support anything the DNC wants them to do candidates... and I predict most Utahns will continue to not want them. And they have a right to not want them.

    Utahns have a right to vote for who we want to vote for. It's not our fault if Democrats keep running canidates who's positions are offensive to most Utahns. Hint... that's NOT how you win elections.

    IF more Democrats would vocally seperate from some of the DNC's central planks (like Matheson did)... and focus on what UTAHNS want... I think they would win more elections in Utah.

    It's not our fault Democrats keep running people who disagree with most Utahns!

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    Well, I don't really care either way. It seems to me unless I lie and pretend i'm a republican my vote doesn't really county anyways. By the time the republicans have decided their candidates the election is already over in all but a couple races. So what difference does it make to non registered republicans how the ruling party chooses their candidates?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    What he said was a huge generalization. Generalizations arent' 100% correct. But for some teenagers it fits (and some adults).

    You are probably on the far edge of the informed spectrum for teenagers, but there are teenagers who only know what they heard on TV, FaceBook or Twitter (glossy advertising and propaganda).

    I would agree with turning the party nomination process into a popularity contest IF we could get even 25% turn out at a Party Primary. Not even close. And that includes all ages.

    I think the caucus system has some problems, but a Primary does too. It's not neccessarily an improvement if... only 6-10% turn out... the majority of those end up voting what the news paper or TV recommended, or the name they recognise, or the candidate with the best profile picture, or the candidate had the best smear campaign.

    The Caucus is not an attempt to keep you out of politics. It's an attempt to get people MORE involved in politics (by meeting and discussing politics and candidates with their neighbors and picking the most informed in the group to represent their group at the Convention).

    It's not perfect... but it's not all bad either.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    Mero discussing Count My Vote on the radio: "Whether x percent participate in a primary, or x percent participate in a general, it doesn’t bother me. What bothers me are ignorant people. That’s what bothers me. Ignorant people making decisions on my behalf.”

    This is exactly the frustration that birthed the initiative Mero is fighting -- conventions and elections controlled by ignorant people -- consumers of one shallow media puddle, low-information talk-radio audiences. By definition, ignorant people have made decisions on behalf of the rest of us. We got Mike Lee as a result. And it bothers us.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 7:06 a.m.

    Be careful Jenica. This is Utah and you could be jailed for being a woman and having your own thoughts rather than letting the men do all your thinking for you.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 17, 2014 6:06 a.m.

    What does the writer mean by "fair election"? Does he mean that the candidates will be chosen by the party elite, behind closed doors, or does he mean by the voice of the delegates elected by the citizens in their caucuses where the citizens decide the issues that are important for that precinct and then assign "electors" from among themselves to "vet" the candidates. Which example follows the principles set forth in a Democratic Republic and which principles smack of royalty where the "king" tells us what we need and provides "candidates" that meet HIS qualifications?

    Youth are easily swayed, not because they are "stupid" but because they don't have a lot of experience in knowing that every "father figure" shouldn't be worshipped. Look at what the "Count My Vote" people did; they signed on every "father figure" that they could find. Was it just happenstance that those "father figures" were also the party elite? Just like any elite, they want our votes, they want our tax dollars, but they know that if given a choice, we won't vote for "their" candidate - so they'll choose for us.