The Deseret News seems to be on a mission to make sure Bob Bennett makes it back to the U.S. Senate, or at least to punish the Utah Republican Party if they are such a bunch of dunderheads to not at least let him into a primary election this year where he could lose fair and square.

For the last two weeks or more there has been a string of articles almost every day complaining about the political party delegate system and how the candidates are selected.  The Deseret News has published:

  • polls about how the delegates to both party conventions are more liberal/conservative than the regular voters of the parties (and therefore out of touch with the populace)
  • polls about Bob Bennett’s popularity statewide vs. among delegates (and how unfair it would be for him to be eliminated at the state convention when the rest of the state like him).
  • articles about whether the delegate system is fair or not (the D-news wants you to think it is not).
  • articles about how women cannot be adequately represented by men (because not enough women are delegates this year).
  • polls and articles about how delegates to the Republican convention are more aligned with the tea party movement ideals than the population of Utah (and therefore out of touch).
  • Editorials calling for a change of the party rules to make it easier for Bob Bennett to make it to a primary.
  • A changed headline from a national opinion column to show more favor to Bob Bennett.  Kathleen Parker headline: The Tea Party’s allegiance to no one.  D-News headline: Tea partier’s attempt to oust Bennett, others may hurt their cause.
  • Two articles on the day before the state conventions calling for mandatory primaries and a poll showing the delegates are more conservative than the rest of the Utah population.

Oh, and the Editor in Chief of the Deseret News is Joe Cannon, Former President of the Utah Republican Party and loser to Bob Bennett in a primary race for the U.S. Senate in 1990.  Maybe Mr. Cannon is holding to the belief that if he couldn’t beat Bennett then Bennett should be in office until he voluntarily retires.  Or something.

These opinion pieces have not been in the opinion section and have done little to give equal time to any other points of view.  Much of the complaining has been about the delegate system and how few women are delegates to the state party conventions.

So, what is a delegate?  A person is voted to be a delegate by members of the party who meet in neighborhood based groups.  The idea is that the people in the political party would like to have a voice in how the party is run from year to year and so they meet every two years to elect people to represent them at the party meetings including the party conventions where candidates for office are voted on to become the party nominee in the general election in November.

The delegates vote on rule changes to the party by-laws and constitution, they vote on new leaders for the county and state party organizations, they vote on resolutions about certain issues and public policy stances, they vote on or make proposals to change the party platform.  The delegates are the voice of the people of the party to conduct the party business.

The delegate system is a delicate balance between giving all of the people of a party a voice in every single party matter, or having a more manageable group of a few thousand meeting to vote on party matters.

The delegate system is more representative the the House of Representatives.  The delegates are often switched up every two years, are more accessible to the people, and they represent a much smaller population than any of the members of Congress.  The members of the House of Representatives have more than a 90% re-election rate and often represent more than 500,000 people in a district.

Let the delegates do their jobs.  They can be replaced much easier than our elected officials can and have much less of an effect on our day to day lives.

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