We are aware of a push to kill Utah’s neighborhood caucus system and are confident of who the actors behind the push are. But why should anyone care? Why not do as they wish and move to a primary election only?
Simply put: a primary-only system rips power from you and your neighbors and places it squarely in the hands of elite interest groups with oodles of cash.
Right now, by attending a caucus meeting, you virtually shut out the big money interest groups. You know your neighbors, their principles, and their character. A big money group isn’t going to gain traction endorsing someone in such a meeting; nor can they when you realize that hundreds of these meetings are occurring at the same time. These meeting are the greatest means of empowering the unconnected ‘little guy’ and true grass-roots action.
Next, after the meeting, you and/or your neighbor has been elected to represent the neighborhood at the party’s convention to whittle down candidates who will either go on to a primary election or straight to the general election (depending on the percent of votes they garnered). The convention is also very effective at interdicting big money and outside influences. At the convention candidates court a manageable number of typically highly motivated, issues-oriented voters and they have a list of who they are and how to contact them. The result is that candidates can comfortably run shoe string campaigns and literally individually meet with each voter. Another benefit is that, in this phase, campaigns tend to focus on issues and specifics rather than fluff like expensive baby kissing ads. That means candidates who aren’t politically or fiscally well-connected have a fighting chance to be considered and nominated for the office they seek. It opens candidacy up to John Doe rather being so cost prohibitive that you need connections to big donors or independently wealthy.
The caucus and convention system grates elites as well as in-state and out-of-state political money pushers because it simply sucks so much power out of their hands. Once we hit primary and general elections, the elites can begin to peddle their influence as campaign costs skyrocket in an effort to contact potential voters with the fluffy mailers and ads lacking any substance (sadly, yes that wins elections and it’s the voters fault). However, these special interest groups only gained any significant power after you and your neighbors had their say and chose the candidates they could fund. The political elites and big donors want this constraint knocked off and want to become the king-makers without distractions.
I urge you to attend your neighborhood caucus and contact your neighborhood’s delegates. The neighborhood caucus is the great equalizer – use it! If you are not sure who they are, someone in your neighborhood does or you can contact your party offices and they should be able to tell you. I also ask that you contact the Governor and your state Representative and Senator and ask them to oppose any and all efforts to kill the caucus system….unless you are particularly fond of big money influence in politics and a deluge of vacuous political ads lasting for months…
UPDATE (5/24): Be aware, that caucus opponents Plan B is to require a small percentage (20%) of convention votes to force a primary. If that works, virtually all significant offices would go to a primary which is exactly what the insiders want.