The no-win scenario for the caucus

Photo by Keith Bacongco

In the Star Trek universe, there’s a famous training exercise required of all starship captains called the Kobayashi Maru. It’s designed to be a no-win scenario to test the character of leadership, but never to be won. Captain James T. Kirk famously cheated to create a way to win, stating flatly that he didn’t believe in no-win scenarios. Right now, opponents of the signature path to the ballot find themselves in a no-win scenario. Unlike Captain Kirk, they can’t cheat their way to victory. The landscape for changing the status…

Understanding why Count My Vote divided the GOP

In late May, Lt Governor Spencer Cox announced that the petition submitted by Count my Vote did not qualify for the November ballot.  That means the issue remains politically contentious and expands the divide within the party beyond this election cycle. A recent Utah Policy poll[1] says that only 10% of Utah voters “strongly oppose” Count my Vote.  Why are 10% of voters so engaged and angry about this and why it caused such intense feelings and division in the Utah GOP? I strongly support the delegate system for nominating…

The caucus has an image problem. Can we fix it?

After the Republican state convention, it’s become fairly obvious why a lot of people think ill of the caucus system. It took five hours of arguing about rules and agendas before anyone could get to the primary purpose, nominating candidates. Not only does this alienate new participants (my father-in-law was a first time state delegate and less than impressed), it makes the caucus and convention process look like a complete clown show. On top of that, we’re doing little to build faith that the convention process actually sends the best…

If you want a better electoral system, ignore Count My Vote

I’ve long maintained that the Count My Vote proposal (and SB54 co-opting) are complete dumpster fires for the state’s electoral system. The entire fight is nothing more than using state law to try and determine who gets to be Utah’s kingmaker of the Republican Party label. CMV has done a pretty good marketing job to convince everyone that their king-making process, restricting ballot access to those with the deep pockets to collect signatures, is the superior way to do it. Unfortunately, the caucus system dropping their primary threshold down to…

The Mero Moment: Reclaiming enlightened civic participation – May 5, 2016

While I have long supported Utah’s caucus and convention system, I’ve made no secret about my concerns. As with freedom itself, our caucus and convention system requires enlightened people. When the people aren’t enlightened, the system breaks down. We need to be careful in our analysis of the caucus and convention system. We need to be discerning. The biggest mistake we can make is to confuse the honest voice of the people for the politics of marginalization just because we don’t like the winners and losers. Many people think the…

Neil Walter: Why we need party conventions

The State of Utah and more particularly the Republican Party have been in the throws of a knock-down, drag-out fight over the nomination process for candidates. Count My Vote initiated a movement to replace party conventions with primaries. The movement spawned Senate Bill 54 which allowed candidates to choose between collecting signatures with the option to bypass the party conventions and still appear on the primary ballot or securing enough votes at the party convention as a requirement to appear on the primary ballot. Count My Vote proponents want to…

Rep. Jeremy Peterson: CMV cracks the edifice of Utah’s caucus-convention system

After this year’s experience at the Weber County Republican Convention, I had some time to reflect on what happened and what it means for the future of politics in Northern Utah and the State at large. Three Republican candidates submitted their names to run for the County Commission seat up for grabs this election cycle.  Brad Dee, Caitlin Gouchner, and Jim Harvey threw their hats into the ring.  In a typical year, the three names would be winnowed down to one by delegates elected to attend the County Republican Convention.…

The Mero Moment: In Defense of Signature Gathering – January 28, 2016

As candidates for Utah public office begin to position themselves for this election year, nearly all of them face the dilemma of the fallout from a new state campaign law, most commonly referred to as SB 54 or the “Count My Vote” compromise. The new law allows a candidate access to a primary ballot, circumventing Utah’s traditional caucus/convention system, through a reasonably easy signature gathering process. This new process was primarily designed by its authors to allow more seemingly moderate candidates to get around more ideological voices inside the Republican…

The Utah Republican Party’s Nuremburg laws

Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans sent a letter to State Central Committee members today (reproduced below) saying that they have to review 600,000 voter records to see who is in compliance with the party’s Constitution and Bylaws. This sounds relatively innocuous until you understand what this actually means. If you are one of the a registered Republican, you now have to abide by the Constitution and Bylaws of the party. The vast majority (over 500,000) of registered Republicans haven’t ever attended a caucus or other party meeting, so you probably don’t…