In our opinion: The Utah GOP should end its opposition to SB54

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  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 10:42 a.m.

    Rick for Truth - Provo, UT
    It isn't just who won that is at stake. It is the Bill of Rights.
    For hundreds of years, the right of association has been part of the 1st amendment.
    I realize Pres. Obama picked the head of General Motors, but we typically don't let Government pick leaders or candidates or tell them how they have to do it. The SCOTUS has already ruled on that.

  • M Rhy Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 13, 2017 11:45 a.m.

    A caucus only system of nominating candidates has failed to garner the support of the majority of republicans in the state of Utah, thus the opinion poll demonstrating that 70% of registered republicans support the current system of nomination in both the caucus and through a signature process. I think it is self serving of those that suggest that if you don't choose to participate in the caucus process you shouldn't have a voice in the selection of candidates. I ask why not? Who gets to make that decision, those that support the caucus system? There are many voters like me that disagree with the caucus process and we have a right to petition for a change the nominating process so that there is (in our opinion) greater participation and engagement by voters in general. Your participation in the caucus process is not more honorable then my participation in the initiative process they are both democratic processes and serve to ensure there are checks and balances on power in government. Voters have always had the right (collectively) to change the processes they feel are unfair within the framework of our political system the CMV and SB54 are examples of just that.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    Sept. 13, 2017 9:45 a.m.

    Because of this bill, a liberal and Democrat was able to grab the Rebublican nomination from the third district. This came about by having more than two candidates on the primary ballot. The system needs to be refined by requiring the winner to have 50%+1 to gain the nomination. I do not believe Curtis would have won on a run off of two candidates. We will never know. The law makers need to correct this flaw before the 2018 election.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 3:17 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    You claim that by allowing primaries and not allowing delegates to directly nominate a parties candidate is a subversion of democracy(to paraphrase your comment.) As far as i'm aware of, Utah is the only state that even has a modified cacus system for electing candidates. So are you suggesting that no state in the Union, besides the state of Utah, is nominating candidates democratically?

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 2:39 p.m.

    Mike Richards:

    You presuppose both that delegates are perfectly representative of the party rank and file and that they are impervious to the influence of money. Both assumptions are balderdash.

    Delegates' values are completely out of step with the Republican party as a whole, as can be seen from the UtahPolicy polls early this year as well as the party's lopsided rejection of Jonathan Johnson and Chris Herrod. You claim that I'm an outlier, but it's clear the majority of delegates are outliers. The way to weigh all opinions is by allowing all to cast a vote, not by giving power to an unrepresentative few.

    Delegates' votes are easier to buy than the votes of the rank and file party members. This was evident enough as I watched my fellow delegates' reactions to receiving not only literature and ads but also food and knickknacks from different candidates. It's quite solidly proven by how the million dollars of PAC money in favor of Chris Herrod failed to sway voters. If you want an example of representative government winning out over moneyed interests, it's harder to find a better one than Curtis winning out over the huge out of state spending for Herrod and Ainge.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 2:01 p.m.

    @mike richards.

    The caucus system isn't any purer or more honest than getting signatures.

    Caucus delegates act like elitist and think they know more than the average voter which is untrue.

    Also competition is good right? If the caucus system is truly better, then all of the elected candidates will come from convention versus the signature route.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 12, 2017 12:06 p.m.


    Your assertions are false, unless you really believe that our Representatives in Congress are inept or invalid unless they only represent YOU. In a Democratic Republic YOUR opinion must be weighed against all opinions. YOUR opinion may prove to be the outlier. By letting money rule, as is the case with SB54, the voice of the citizens are overruled by the voices paid for by rich candidates. You seem to want that. I do not.

    In a caucus system EVERY candidate has equal advantage. In your system, the high and mighty have an unequal advantage.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 12, 2017 11:51 a.m.


    I am all for the republicans and democrats taking control of their party. So when you have a primary, you pay for it, not me the taxpayer. Same thing for any party. When your republican candidate goes on the ballot we list all those who qualified for the ballot alphabetically with no party affiliation. You agree to that and I would support you 100%.

    The problem is the republicans want the taxpayer to bear the election cost of their "private" organization. I would think that a person such as yourself and your desire to strictly adhere to the constitution would not want tax dollars needlessly spent on primary elections for private organizations.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 11:45 a.m.

    @Danish American "In my opinion, the Courts have no business telling a political party how they can nominate their candidates."

    I would agree if and only if we had a variety of viable political parties. But we have only one. So how that party - the Utah Republican Party - sets up shop controls the entire elective process. So the courts have something to say.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 10:48 a.m.

    The Buy My Ballot Spot system isn't the answer. Remember that Gary Herbert would never have been governor if it hadn't been for the Neighborhood election and caucus/convention system. He has stated that many times.

    Almost ALL of our current batch of moderates won though the Neighborhood election and caucus/convention system. Again, it increases the likelihood of someone that isn't an incumbent, rich or famous to win. We call that Fair Elections.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 10:45 a.m.

    It is pretty obvious the writers of this "opinion" only got info from one side.

    Count My Vote and SB54 has one goal. Protect the advantage that incumbents, rich and famous candidates have. That is why the majority of the money backing CMV was from just a few very rich people. They get very frustrated when they spend millions to get someone elected and that person loses.

    The advantage of the Neighborhood election and caucus/convention system has, it allows individuals that are not incumbents, rich or famous a chance to win.

    The Buy My Ballot Spot system isn't the answer. Remember that Gary Herbert would never have been governor if it hadn't been for the Neighborhood election and caucus/convention system. He has stated that many times. Almost none of our current batch of moderates won though the Neighborhood election and caucus/convention system. Again, it increases the likelihood of someone that isn't an incumbent, rich or famous to win. We call that Fair Elections.

    There were hundreds of thousands that attended the 2016 neighborhood caucus meetings and elected tens of thousands of delegates and precinct officers. They represent the active voters.

  • Danish American Payson, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 10:24 a.m.

    In my opinion, the Courts have no business telling a political party how they can nominate their candidates. The Caucus system allows candidates with fewer resources to be nominated. The Elites are still smarting over Bob Bennett's defeat.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 10:13 a.m.

    Mike R:

    "a Democratic Republic where we elect representatives" is what we have with primary elections and SB54.

    A system where a few unrepresentative and unaccountable insiders choose who will have governing power, which is what the caucus system devolved into after the threshold was lowered in 2000, is not called a "democratic republic." It's called an oligarchy.

    If you really believe in representative government, you should be glad that rank and file party members can choose the candidates who represent them.

    The convention has utterly failed at performing its supposed function of vetting candidates. It repeatedly endorses people like John Swallow, Greg Graves, and other charlatans who throw delegates "red meat." It rejects people like Olene Walker or John Curtis who are heavily favored by party membership but refuse to ape those charlatans' insincere and not-actually-conservative "ultraconservatism." It is not representative of the party.

    I've been at conventions and been sickened by the irrationality and arrogance of fellow delegates. The system needed reform. It's time for the party to accept that reform and guide the conventions toward fulfilling their proper roles.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 9:59 a.m.

    News media opinion on the merits of a nominating process is like is like advice on bank security from bank robbers.

    The primary system depends on paid signature gathering and publicity/paid advertising. That is why the news media likes it, plus they can sway public opinion by endorsements.

    Folks opposed to allowing parties to nominate any way they like mostly have no experience with the caucus/convention process. If you don't care enough to show up at a neighborhood caucus or cannot get enough support at that level to be elected a delegate then your opinion should not count for much. Delegates get the opportunity for personal meetings with candidates (in small groups) and can get to know them and their positions in detail and gauge their intellect and honesty. That is far different than a couple of 30 second TV ads, and a mail box full of slick (and often misleading) ads or a newspaper endorsement.

    Every voter gets a voice in the general election. If a party wants a primary only process let them do so. Vote for them, or a Republican caucus/convention nominee.

    Get the state out of the nominations, that is party business.

  • conservative scientist Lindon, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 8:58 a.m.

    I agree with the tenor of the editorial. However, I believe the ideologues on the central committee of the state GOP have their collective heads in the sand and are unlikely to back down.

    Interestingly, I am now thinking I may be in favor of them not abandoning the lawsuit despite years of thinking and expressing they should. The reason for this is straightforward: If the party continues their shenanigans and this lawsuit, count my vote will certainly come back, and it has been shown to be supported by a majority of the state. Count my vote will pass and the current caucus system will then be shut down permanently, which would be the best thing for both the Republican party - so that moderates can again have a voice and the party is not controlled by the extreme right - and also for the state as a whole.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 12, 2017 8:28 a.m.

    As long as Utah is part of a Democratic Republic where we elect representatives to stand as our proxies in government, we must continue to fight against any Royalty who think that they can make an endrun around the very foundation of a Democratic Republic.

    At a Caucus, we elect people from our precinct to nominate and vote for those in the Republican Party who will represent Republicans in the Primary Election. There is no end run.

    Those who support SB54 think that they can bypass the Caucus. They think that they can use their influence and money to be put on the ballot. They think that the can force their rules onto the Republican Party. It is NOT their party. They cannot make the rules. If they want to run as Republicans, they can go through the proper process established by US Republicans.

    I will not vote for anyone who collects signatures to get on the ballot. If they care so little for our Democratic Republics, then I care little for them.]

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 8:15 a.m.

    @Impartial7 "Tear it down and start all over with a true democratic process."

    And how pray, does that work? Culturally and religiously Utah is a one party state.

  • liberty or ...? Ogden, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 8:14 a.m.

    Reminded of the old rigged grade school method of picking teams to play a sport at recess and how one sided those games always turned out with the really good players who played it best being on the same team and when you complained about the fairness the retort was always well you got to pick too didn't you. nevermind the selection had been rigged usually by number, players refusing to play if they didn't get on someones team etc. That is the CMV deal in a nut shell/ Yes the populace now get to choose directly who gets on the ballot but the dirty little secret is those who know the game/rules best have stacked it in their favor where you get to select only from the players they pick. Bob Bennett in an op ed to this paper expressed it best. If CMV had been there in 2010 he could have bypassed it all to still get on the ballott and bank on his campaign war chest and media soundbite campaign to see him through.Nevermind his record showed him to be anything but what he claimed to represent and didn't make it out of the first runoff. I know I was there. CMV is political hijacking at its best. say what you need to get elected. govern how you want w/ no accountability

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 8:13 a.m.

    The Utah GOP has proven its ineptitude many times over. They can't manage a budget and they shun the voice of the people. Tear it down and start all over with a true democratic process.

  • C J Alpine, UT
    Sept. 12, 2017 7:59 a.m.

    SB 54 made one possible one thing: An unqualified candidate with a huge amount of money can get on the ballot. It isn't a grassroots type of thing. No candidates typically pay $80,000 to have a company go out and gather signatures from people who have never heard of the candidate. And people sign the petition to get the obnoxious hireling to go away.

    All the while the voter is the loser having never met the candidate and never having heard their positions.

    The caucus system is clearly superior because the delegate meets the candidate one on one, hears their positions, and asks questions. Money is not required since the delegates meets the candidates face to face.

    But there have been candidates who use the signature gathering process who do refuse to meet with delegates, who refuse to hold campaign events, who refuse to meet with voters, and who simply wage a campaign using money. And with that money they buy up reams and reams of slanderous advertising. The recent campaign for the GOP 3rd district nomination is a prime example of this.

    I also feel that the sky is falling attitude that the caucus will be eliminated is false.