Great letter. I agree. Our caucus system helps to counteract the
overwhelming power of incumbency, and helps motivate our politicians to keep
their word. The caucus system gives a voice to those who are willing to make
the sacrifice and effort to participate in the process. Keep the caucus system
The letter presupposes that parties ought to have the power to put people's
names on the general election ballot, with the party names next to the
party's candidates. Party people keep talking about how political parties
are private entities and caucuses are how they conduct their own private
business. I say let them be private entities, and don't let them put
candidates' names, or their own party name, anywhere on the ballot.PeanutGallery says our caucus system "helps motivate our politicians
to keep their word." I disagree. The caucus system helps motivate
politicians to appease the extreme elements within their political party.
Witness the drastic rightward shift of Orrin Hatch. I much preferred the guy
when he would actually work with people and solve problems. Now he's just
playing the grandstanding game with his new obstructionist colleague, Mike Lee.
The caucus system serves the interests of extremists and strips the majority of
participants of a real voice in the process. If that's what it's
supposed to do, then it certainly does "work."
Question, what is the difference of radical right hijackings and hijackings by
the keep him in till he dies element? I still believe the election process
should be open to all your party members and quit intimidating the timid in a
large group setting. Next thing we know participants will exercise Utah's
"stand your ground law" just to be heard. Just another reason people are
The caucus system has a few elements worthy of retention, however, exclusion is
not one of them. Even as registered Republicans, only delegates
get to vote for party candidates. The rest of us merely have the opportunity to
vote for those few delegates - who have no direct power to impact laws. At the
very most, we have may have up to 90 minutes to interview and make choices as to
who those delegates should be. More often than not, we only have a few minutes
to hear from those wishing to become delegates. It's not a system that
fosters informed decision making. The most common roadblock is that more often
than not, even those wishing to become delegates don't have much of an idea
who they will vote for in convention except for maybe the most high profile
candidates. Fear of incumbency, monied candidates, special
interests, etc. are not constitutionally protected concerns trumping the
interests of registered voters. Any system that removes the vast majority of
individual party voters from the initial process of selecting their elected
office holders, is a severely flawed system.
@VST, thanks, I've read it. I don't think the current law serves the
best interest of Utah's citizens. However, as long as political parties
have quasi-official status around here, they are not "private" groups
conducting "private" business, and the caucus system is nothing less
than mass disenfranchisement.
To those who keep complaining that caucuses about the party, not the people as a
whole, I'm willing to cede that point. However, you aren't even
representing the active, voting membership of your parties in caucuses. I have
to move a lot due to my student status; I can't be a delegate. As a result,
this Republican's voice cannot possibly be heard in Utah. I went to the
caucus informed, but I couldn't (1)speak about issues or candidates due to
time (in fact, Robert's rules of order shut down effectively ALL discussion
in my precinct), (2) run as a delegate, (3) get anything out of most of the
delegates beyond a 30-second speech, or (4) figure out any other way in which
ANYONE who was not a delegate was present. This system isn't democratic or
republican. It's mobocratic, unless a minority make it oligarchic. The
caucus system, with its TOTAL lack of accountability to the party membership,
has permanently failed.
The people and the country are important, political parties are not important.
The caucus system does not work. The best way to fix the problem with the
caucuses is to eliminate them. At least, with a primary election vote, a voter
can be sure his/her vote goes where s/he wants it to go. that's absolutely
not true with a caucus.