The no-win scenario for the caucus

Photo by Keith Bacongco
By Jesse Harris

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 quo doesn’t look very good. Governor Gary Herbert has been fairly clear that he would not support overturning the law. Senate leadership isn’t eager to take up the issue either. Our most likely next governor, Spencer Cox, doesn’t seem like he wants to bite that one off. With a majority of voters and plurality of Republicans supporting the signature path, it’s not hard to see why any of them would be reluctant to upset that apple cart. This puts repeal at the earliest back out to 2025, maybe longer.

So what happens in the scenario that the legislature passes a repeal of the signature path AND there’s a governor willing to sign it? The very next day, Count My Vote gathers enough signatures to avoid any possible attempt to remove it from the ballot and passes with a supermajority of the vote. In the process, they would likely greatly impair or remove the caucus/convention system as a route to the ballot. With the 10th Circuit decision upheld as the Supreme Court opted to not hear the case, there’s no legal avenue to pursue to try and overturn it. A continued attempt to kill SB54 is signing the execution papers for the caucus/convention system.

The only winning move is to take the loss and accept that the dual track system is here to stay. I have my doubts that the most ardent caucus supporters, who have proven their willingness to die on this hill, have the tactical awareness to do so.

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