It’s easy to argue that the system is open to all comers; therefore, people who are under-represented have only themselves to blame. Not only is that insultingly patronizing, it ignores the power of rules. The current system is too easily manipulated to exclude people. The narrower the process, the easier exclusion becomes.

Deseret News Editorial Opinion, May 2, 2010 (emphasis added)

It has been my experience that when your primary objection to any point is based in name calling, then you have conceded that you do not have a valid point to argue.  Also, the Deseret News wants you to just accept that certain groups or people are underrepresented in the caucus system.

The rule that the Deseret News editorial staff finds so objectionable is the current hurdle for candidates in the Utah Republican Party.  A candidate must file by a certain deadline to run for office.  Once they have filed, they must go through the convention process and see if they can garner enough support from the party faithful (delegates to the convention) to avoid a primary election.

The Utah Republican Party used to require that a candidate get at least 70% support at the convention to avoid a primary and in the last ten years or so changed that requirement to only 60%.  The justification was that campaigns are already expensive enough and primaries can cause bad feelings fracturing the party, so if we can lower the barrier to avoid a primary it would allow lesser funded candidates to be able to participate more effectively while sparing any bad feelings from infighting.  It saves time and money.  The party decided to change the rules.

You would think that with the purported corrupting influence of money on politicians that this kind of rule change might be welcomed by newspapers who are always calling for more accountability and ethics in politics.  Apparently the Deseret News wants to keep the status quo and keep the large entrenched moneyed interests in power.  At the primary and general election level, money buys elections time and time again.

The Deseret News editorial board also is upset that the delegate system seems to not be representative of the population as a whole. Apparently if you are a woman, you are not represented if a man happens to be a delegate for you.  Also it is quite shocking in a state where you must be at least 18 years old to vote and many people who move here like to stay here, that 70-80% of the delegates from both parties have lived in the state for 20 years or longer.  What percentage of people have lived in Utah for 20 years or longer?

This is a fallacy that an elective body must be comprised of the demographic make up of the population in order for it to be representative.  It is like a quota system of sorts.  Is the Deseret News supporting affirmative action for the delegate selection process?

This year has had much better involvement than in years past.  The neighborhood caucuses were much better attended this year than in years past.  Public participation is the key.

If you want to have any particular party better reflect your views, get involved and build a like minded consensus around your ideas.  If you think neither party will do the job adequately, then either work from the inside to change them or help found a new party.

The party system is very advantageous for elective politics which is why so many people running for office seek to align with a party for the benefits and money that comes with it.

The rule change the Deseret News would like is to move the barrier up to an 80% vote of support at the convention to avoid a primary.  The way to change this rule would be to get involved in the party system, introduce a proposed rule change, and then win a vote on the rule change at a convention.

Get involved.  The only thing you have to do to participate in the caucus/delegate system is to register as a member of a party and then get to the meetings.

Also it might be important to note that Joe Cannon is the editor in chief of the Deseret News.  He was the President of the Utah Republican Party and lost to Bob Bennett in a primary election in 1990 (after spending around $5 million of his own money) when the seat became vacant with Jake Garn’s retirement from the Senate.  Not exactly an impartial observer of party politics.

Comments Welcome

Advertisements