Big Tent Republicans?

As the divide between parties widens, some voices in the Utah Republican Party are calling for Republicans to be less traditional and more “inclusive” of other ideas. They claim the Republican Party cannot survive holding onto our principles, that it will be overrun by Left leaning moderates and Democrats, that we will never get anyone elected unless we give some ground. Essentially, the call for “Unity at all costs!” is a call for Republicans to become Democrat-lite. A party of RINOs.

This tactic of constant appeasement and giving ground on important issues never works. While we may be able to elect politicians with an “R” next to their name, would it really matter? If they are voting for values that do not reflect the Republican Party Platform, who cares whether they have an “R” or a “D” next to their name when they vote? They would not represent us Republicans if they do not align with our platform on (at least) the majority of issues.

Appeasement has frustrated traditional Conservative voters so much we formed the Tea Party, and then elected the most unlikely man to the office of President for no other reason than to “drain the swamp.”

This raises a few questions: Do these calls of alarm have any merit? What or who are the driving forces behind them? Most importantly, should Republicans give up on Conservative principles and conform to Left leaning moderates and Democrats?

New research indicates that there is no merit behind the fears of the Republican Party being overshadowed by Democrats. A Pew Research Center survey indicates that Republican voters want the parties to be more Conservative, not less. 

Not only that, but a majority of Democrat voters also want their party to go further right, to be less Liberal and more moderate, as well.

Why is this? Likely because Americans recognize that Conservative principles work. They are more practical, more charitable, more humane, and more moral than Big Government ideas. As much as many Americans have disapproved of President Trump, limited government policies are being proven (again) to work, and to work very well.

Who is Behind It?

Who, then, is behind the call for the Republican Party to be less principled? The obvious answer is those who know they or their candidates cannot win elections as Conservative Republicans. They must, therefore, convince us that voters who support Republican principles are in the minority, rather than a majority, of the party and the population.

Does it Matter?

Let’s say the Pew survey is completely wrong, that everyone really is becoming less Conservative and more Liberal.

Does truth depend upon popularity? Will Big Government principles suddenly become effective just because people are misinformed? 

No, if Conservative voters were becoming more rare, that would only mean that we would need to redouble our efforts in sharing true principles. 

Truth resonates with the human heart. Many need only hear the truth to accept it and begin acting upon it.

How Exclusive Should We Be?

This, in no way, means we should be unkind as we share true principles. We may unknowingly offend or drive off allies in our contest for freedom and prosperity. Even the Founding Fathers did not always agree. Their debates were sometimes heated, but respectful disagreement helps us find the best way to reconcile differing opinions with true principles. 

If we share core principles, if our ultimate goal is to maximize liberty and preserve human rights, we can find common ground even if we do not agree 100% of the time.

Those whose core principles are not unified in the U.S. Constitution and Republican Party Platform will find they fit better with other parties. A careful study of the various party platforms will help citizens find the party that best align with their values.

Conclusion

What does this mean for the Republican Party?

It means our best strategy is to be true to ourselves. Be true to the Party Platform. Be true to the principles of liberty, prosperity, charity, and morality that makes us Republicans. We must seek unity, yes, but not at the cost of espousing Big Government/Liberal principles. Unity with bad principles is just as bad as, or worse than, being divided. 

Conservatives must unify with true principles. Elect people that understand and respect the United States Constitution, those that embody those principles, and then hold them accountable to those principles when they are in office. That is how we will win elections, and that is how we will make our county, state, and nation greater than ever before.

Our Official Utah Voter Guide

It is election season! Ballots are in the mail, meaning it is time we, as citizens of a free nation, make our educated voices heard at the ballot box!

But what if we haven’t read through these citizens initiatives? They can be quite lengthy and tedious to read (which is why we elect representatives to read and write legislation for us), so how do we make an informed decision? How can we tell what was written by special interest groups and corrupt corporations?

Well, as long as we have citizens initiatives, we all have to be informed. Then again, if you’re not sure, you could just vote “no” anyway. Frankly, it’s the safer choice if you are unsure what the bill means. You could also read the proposition’s name, and then assume it means the opposite of what it claims….

Prop 1: The 33% Gas Tax

The poorly named, “Our Schools Now” tax claims to be a tax to raise funds for schools. 

It is not.

Prop 1 is a gas tax increase, and according to the Utah Constitution, the State cannot tax citizens for one thing, then use it for another. 

Rather than just saying, “We are going to raise your taxes,” they do so under the guise of “Think of the children!” 

You will hear that a lot this year, by the way.

Video courtesy of Phill Wright

The way this bill claims to work is as follows: 

  1. Raise the price of every gallon of gas for everyone in Utah.
  2. Use that money to fix the roads and build new ones. That’s all a gas tax can legally be used for.
  3. If there is anything left over, then it can go into a general fund. They promise us that there will be a surplus. Cross their hearts, hope to die. They are super serious about this, and we can trust the government not to waste funds.
  4. If the general fund is not over budget, then the surplus from the gas tax can go to education. They promise us that there will be a surplus. Cross their hearts, hope to die. Again, super serious about keeping this promise. The funds will get to the teachers and students…. eventually.

Prop 2: The Marijuana Bill

This proposition has been the most divisive to Utahns in the Republican Party. Nothing said or written at this point will convince most people one way or the other, however, the primary reason Delegate Digest opposes this proposition is this:

Prop 2 is not small government friendly. It specifically does not allow local governments the ability to determine where marijuana can be grown and sold, meaning it can be grown and sold in the middle of any neighborhood, near any school, or near any park. 

Specifically: It can be grown in any home if there is no dispensary within 100 miles (and there will be none within 100 miles at first, meaning anyone can grow if they start right away); and it can be dispensed in any commercial or industrial zone, regardless of its proximity to areas that citizens would rightly oppose.

Video courtesy of The Libertas Institute

If Republicans support any form of government, we ought to support small government. The closer citizens are to the government, the more easily we find consensus among our community. Of equal importance, the closer government is to the people, the easier we can act as watchdogs to protect our families, our communities, and our rights.

There are many other issues with this bill, most (if not all) of them having been resolved with the compromise between the Libertarian organization, The Libertas Institute, and the Utah legislature. 

If Prop 2 is passed, Delegate Digest sincerely hopes that the compromise will be honored. 

Prop 3: The Obamacare Bill

This is an expansion of socialized medicine. If we want healthcare costs to go down, we need to stop subsidizing them

Seriously, stop it.

Let the markets find new ways to offer healthcare at lower rates, rather than taxing our citizens to death. 

And on top of that, any time we subsidize a market, guess who is writing those laws. 

Video courtesy of The Libertas Institute

Prop 4: The Gerrymandering Bill

Why is this a bad proposition? In short, unelected bureaucrats deciding our voting districts is not right.

The long answer is that the people behind this prop say they want to draw the lines to be “more fair.” More fair to who? 

Republicans have the majority of the vote in this state, and we have a majority of the representation for the House and Senate. Republicans generally win over 75% or more of the seats in the State legislature. Do we really want to hand 50% of the power to people who claim to represent their party, instead of the electorate? Because the way districts are drawn now by elected officials who (at least generally) represent the values of the voters. The way it is supposed to be.

Allowing unelected bureaucrats to draw haphazard districts around Salt Lake City, with the intention of taking a federal House of Representatives slot from Republicans and give that Congressional seat to Democrats is not “fair.” It is deceitful. 

Democrats are in the minority, which is why our state runs so much better than California.  That should be reflected in our representation on the Federal level, not gerrymandered away under a false claim to “fairness.”

Giving Teeth to the 10th Amendment

How the Framers Originally Empowered the People and States to Keep the Federal Government in Check

This is Part 1 of a multi-part series.

The Problem

When our founders met in Philadelphia in 1787 to frame a new constitution, they were faced with a problem neatly expressed by James Madison in Federalist 51:

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

The 10th amendment to the Constitution is actually the key to understanding their solution to this problem. But in order to understand how the 10th amendment is the key, we must review a few details.

Background

It’s important to note that the founders delegated some rights, powers, and privileges to the national government, and left others with the state governments and/or the people. American citizens were thus to be governed by dual republics—that of the federal government and those of the states. By splitting power between those 2 respective bodies, the peoples’ rights were afforded multiple layers of republican protection. Furthermore, the state governments were to counterbalance federal power and stand between the federal government and the people—who are the source of all rights, powers and privileges in the first place. This structure is alluded to, and encapsulated by, the 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

However, our founders were savvy enough to recognize that merely making statements and edicts would be insufficient on their own to protect the rights of the people, so they conceived a government of 3 branches—executive, legislative, and judicial—split or distribute power between them in critical ways. Today, we know these splits and distributions as “separations of power,” and “checks and balances.” For example, the executive branch could appoint judges, but the Senate had to confirm them, and then those same judges could preside over impeachment trials of the Executive. Another example is that the legislative branch was to make the laws, the executive was to sign and enforce the laws, and the judiciary would interpret the laws.

Interestingly, the separations of power and checks and balances that most people are familiar with are internal controls only. That is, they are found within the 3 branches of the federal government. But we must remember that we were meant to be governed by dual republics. The people and states were to have their own powers and checks and balances on the federal government. These were referred to as external controls.

These internal and external controls baked into our government made it less efficient than other forms of government, but our founders were not concerned with making an efficient government as much as they were concerned with making one that would 1) protect the rights of the people and 2) prevent tyranny from arising. With these views in mind, we can now fully appreciate James Madison’s solution to the problem he expressed in Federalist 51:

“Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”

Unfortunately, most people are largely unaware of these external controls anymore. Perform an internet search of “checks and balances,” or “separation of powers,” and you’ll be hard pressed to find a result referring to or detailing the controls external to the federal government (probably because they are mostly gone or severely eroded. “Out of sight, out of mind,” as they say). Therefore, the purpose of this article will be to enumerate and explain the structural and formal checks and balances that the people and states themselves were supposed to have on the federal government. These controls were meant to protect the rights of the people and prevent a runaway federal government. Or, in other words, this article will demonstrate how our founders “gave teeth” to the 10th Amendment.

Solutions: External Check and Balance Mechanisms on Federal Power

There were 6 principle mechanisms whereby the people and the states had power and/or influence to keep the federal government in check. In no particular order, they were:

(Click item to view)

By giving the state legislatures direct influence over one-half of the national legislature, states could advance their interests through particular legislation, or stop legislation that was counter to their interests. In this way, the states had a seat at the federal government table that they had themselves created. They had a measure of control over who would be appointed to the federal bench and how federal monies would be spent. The states could even help decide the kinds of international treaties entered into, etc. Senators had to be careful how they voted and governed, or they could be voted out by their legislatures. If a power was rightly reserved to the states—or to the people the states represented—the states had direct recourse to prevent federal abuses. They could even influence whether the President was removed from office. It was as if the states themselves had a direct hand holding some of the levers of power in Washington.

Article 1 section 9 directed that “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.” A “capitation tax” is a head tax, or a tax levied directly on individuals.

“Because of this prohibition, the taxes originally levied by the federal government were collected from the state governments (based upon their respective populations), and NOT from the citizens directly.”

In other words, the states were the agents of the citizens and acted as intermediaries between their residents and the federal government. As Daniel Webster noted, “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy.” Hence, the federal government was restricted in its ability to directly abuse and destroy its citizens, their rights, and their property.

Anyone who lives in a state where the caucus system is still employed will quickly understand how the elector system was supposed to work. According to both Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, each congressional district was to vote for an elector—a person to represent the mass of voters. Article 2 section 1 of the Constitution laid out the qualifications and restrictions for an elector, “…no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.” They were to be independent of the federal government so that there would be no conflict of interest or easily constructed conspiracy of insiders. Hamilton, in Federalist 68 explained, “Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption…They (the Constitution’s framers) have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes.”

Once chosen, the electors would continue vetting the candidates and then, at the appointed time and place, vote for the President and Vice President. The idea was to empower those with higher capacities of knowledge, wisdom, understanding and ability to do the “heavy lifting” of research and selection of the president so that it wouldn’t devolve into rule by the mob—or, as we’d say today—the “low information voter.” Again, Hamilton in Federalist 68 clarified, “It was equally desirable, that the immediate election (of the president) should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.”

The “electoral college” system was a mechanism that was supposed to be controlled by the state legislatures and filtered through legislative districts. In a letter to George Hay in 1823, James Madison explained, “The district mode (of voting for electors in each district) was mostly, if not exclusively, in view when the Constitution was framed & adopted.”

In other words, the presidential election was supposed to be a massive, nation-wide caucus meeting. And by providing a mechanism of electors to vet the candidates, the rights of the people were to be better protected and their powers could be more focused in choosing the chief executive.

This check on federal power is a little difficult to see at first. One might ask, “If the representatives chosen by the people are part of the federal government, then how is it that the representatives can be checks on federal power?” That is a fair question. The key is to focus on the number or proportion of representatives—not the representatives themselves. Too few representatives, and the House becomes a quasi-oligarchy rather than an assembly of the people, as it’s meant to be. At the Constitutional Convention, the delegates originally adopted 1 in 40,000 after much debate. However, on the last day of the convention, George Washington, the elected president of the convention, arose and spoke up for the only time on record at the convention and gave his support for 30,000. Madison recounted, “No opposition was made to the proposition…and it was agreed to unanimously.”

Federalist 52 explains, “…it is essential to liberty that the government in general should have a common interest with the people, so it is particularly essential that the branch of it under consideration (the House of Representatives) should have an immediate dependence on, and an intimate sympathy with, the people.” Too large a proportion—or, too few representatives—would mean that they wouldn’t have an “immediate dependence” on, or an “intimate sympathy” with, the people they represent. Federalist 55 laid out the reasons for their particular ratio even more explicitly (italics added for clarification):

first, that so small a number of representatives will be an unsafe depository of the public interests (power would be too concentrated if the ratio were too small and it would be too easy for corruption to arise); secondly, that they will not possess a proper knowledge of the local circumstances of their numerous constituents (if the ratio were too small they wouldn’t be close enough to those they represent and hence not be able to provide adequate representation); thirdly, that they will be taken from that class of citizens (what we’d call the “1%,” “elite insiders,” “power brokers,” or “oligarch opportunists”) which will sympathize least with the feelings of the mass of the people, and be most likely to aim at a permanent elevation of the few on the depression of the many (become beholden to insiders and/or special interests at the expense of the majority); fourthly, that defective as the number will be in the first instance, it will be more and more disproportionate, by the increase of the people, and the obstacles which will prevent a correspondent increase of the representatives (in other words, having too high a proportion is also a problem, especially as the population grows).”

If the people are adequately represented they are empowered with the recourse and ability to practically and more fully impress their will upon the federal government. Again, Madison’s letter to Hay is instructive, “The agency of the H. of Reps. was thought safer also than that of the Senate, on account of the greater number of its members…the Representations of most of the States being numerous, the House would present greater obstacles to corruption, than the Senate with its paucity of Members.”

The particular ratio of representation was critical and had to hit a certain “sweet spot.” Madison summed it up this way in Federalist 55, “The truth is, that in all cases a certain number at least seems to be necessary to secure the benefits of free consultation and discussion, and to guard against too easy a combination for improper purposes; as, on the other hand, the number ought at most to be kept within a certain limit, in order to avoid the confusion and intemperance of a multitude.” And the “certain number” the founders settled on was 1 in 30,000.

The founders realized that the Constitution wasn’t perfect, and that changing circumstances may require modification of the document (and thus the foundations and rules of the government). They created a remedy for such situations by devising a process whereby congress could propose amendments for the states to consider and ratify if they so chose. Near the end of the convention, it was realized that congress might fail to act, or even refuse to act in this manner when required or desired, so the delegates created a second method for amending the Constitution that would circumvent the need for congressional initiation. This method incorporated a mechanism which the delegates were extremely familiar with: a convention of states. The sovereign states themselves could gather and propose amendments that would then be submitted to the ratification process.

Here are the precise words of the text of Article V of the Constitution:

“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof…”

In Federalist 85, Hamilton explained how it is that Article V empowered states:

“…the national rulers…will have no option upon the subject. By the fifth article of the plan, the Congress will be obliged “on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the States (which at present amount to nine), to call a convention for proposing amendments, which shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the States, or by conventions in three fourths thereof.” The words of this article are peremptory. The Congress “shall call a convention.” Nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body. And of consequence, all the declamation about the disinclination to a change vanishes in air. Nor however difficult it may be supposed to unite two thirds or three fourths of the State legislatures, in amendments which may affect local interests, can there be any room to apprehend any such difficulty in a union on points which are merely relative to the general liberty or security of the people. We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.”

Article V is a full-fledged mechanism for the sovereign states to themselves challenge and counterbalance federal authority.

Even though this right and power is not expressly a Constitutional mechanism or government framework per se, a generally-armed populace is a powerful check on government tyranny and therefore merits inclusion in this list. It was the armed colonists, fighting first with their own weapons, that had just won their independence from a tyrannical government. One need only review the blood-bathed history of the 20th century to understand how disarmed peoples fare when their governments turn against them. The Bolsheviks, the Nazis, the Khmer Rouge, the Communist Chinese, etc., all committed massive atrocities on scales unheard of in human history. Perhaps over 100 million people were exterminated by their own governments after their arms were taken away. That is a powerful lesson that had already been learned by our founders. Indeed, many have said it’s the 2nd amendment rights that protect “all the others.”

However, since the use of arms is violent with a certain sense of finality, it is unsuited to correcting “civilized” abuses of power for which there are more peaceful recourses and remedies. While the phrase “nuclear option” has gained traction in modern vernacular referring to dissolving the filibuster in the Senate, it is actually more descriptive of the people of the United States using arms to put a stop to government tyranny. With a few notable exceptions (the Civil War being the most obvious), 2nd Amendment rights tend to be the proverbial “ounce of prevention,” because the “pound of cure” tends to come with the also-proverbial “pound of flesh.” Even so, it is a valid power, even if it is the power of last resort. As Thomas Jefferson observed, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Wrapping Up

The founders were concerned with protecting our natural, unalienable rights. They knew that a government would be necessary to do that and sought the best form of government that could prevent the rise of tyranny and abuse of those rights, yet still be strong enough to carry out its duties. However, as Madison observed, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” The point being that men aren’t angels, and the founders knew the branches of government would not follow the law simply because it was written down on a piece of paper; that was contrary to human nature. Instead, the federal government would follow the Constitution because it would be compelled to do so by competing forces of power—the states and the people—empowered by special mechanisms and distributions of rights, powers and privileges.

Madison elegantly explained how the founders accomplished this (italics added by author), “In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments (the state and the national), and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments (separation of powers). Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other (external controls), at the same time that each will be controlled by itself (internal controls).” 

That is why they could, with confidence and straight faces, subsequently assert that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

End of Part 1.

Part 2 of this series will investigate what has become of these powers and mechanisms that enabled the states and people to enforce the 10th Amendment, protect our rights, and prevent the federal government from going beyond its Constitutionally authorized scope.

Congressional Approval is at an All Time Low, But Reelection rates sit at 90%. What Can Be Done?

Democracy Rules!
Right?

Keep My Caucus

A Grassroot Effort to Save the Caucus

For the past 3 weeks, dozens of caucus loving volunteers, and a few passionate paid staff from Keep My Voice, have been on a reverse signature gathering mission.

Their goal: To disqualify what they see as a dangerous and poorly written petition.

The Direct Primary Election Act (Count My Vote), is under heavy criticism by many citizens of Utah, both Republican and Democrats alike, but perhaps no one is more critical of the petition than those that signed it. Volunteers reported an average of 70% success, or more, in getting signatures removed after explaining what was in the petition.

“It gets rid of the caucus?” citizens asked, door after door. “They told me it would help more people get on the ballot, they never said it would get rid of the caucus!” 

It was no easy task to go to a stranger’s door, tell them they had been misled, and convince them to give up personal information for a cause, and yet the volunteers found success in being open and honest.

While many citizens reported never signing the petition, leading to concerns of identity theft and fraud, the majority of signers of the petition seem to have simply not had all the facts. 

Using the public database to find only those that signed, a common approach went like this:

“Hi, is your name ________? My name is _______, do you remember some paid signature gatherers coming by a few months ago? Well in that stack of signatures there was one that was really concerning to me. It’s called the “Direct Primary Elections Act,” and the concerns I have with it are that it would essentially void the caucus system, and allow unlimited candidates to get on the ballot.

“My primary concern is that I believe in the caucus system. It can be improved upon, of course, but I really like that neighbors can elect each other to properly vet the candidates, and I really value that vetting process. I’ve seen how effective it can be.

“Now, we’ve found that a lot of people didn’t realize what it was they were signing, so I’m just going around and letting people know so they can make an informed decision on whether they want to keep their signature on the petition or not.

“If you intended to sign a petition that would do away with the effectiveness of the caucus system, that’s fine, we’re just letting people know. If you did not mean to do that, the State of Utah has provided these forms so you can remove your signature from the petition.

“Do you have any questions over what I have shared with you today?”

Green – Signature removal form complete
Blue – Not home
Red – Contacted but refused

A blank signature removal request form.

Misinformation

While it is true that Count My Vote version 2.1 does make it significantly easier than previous versions to get on the ballot, that may not be a good thing:

“To get on the statewide ballot in the 2003 California recall, you only had to submit 65 signatures of registered voters and pay a $3,500 fee. No partisan primaries to slog through and less than 11 weeks of campaigning…

“So ultimately 135 Californians qualified to run for governor, a mix of legitimate political contenders, publicity-seekers and some who just thought it would be fun to see their names on the ballot. “

Daily News, 2013

Not only would the Direct Primary Election Act lower the threshold to just 1% of the voting population of the party in the county or state, California’s example shows that it allows an unlimited number of candidates to get on the ballot. With 135 candidates on the ballot, a candidate could win and election and begin making laws for the county or state with less than 1% support from the community.

“I don’t want to be like California,” volunteers explained. “Utah has been ranked among the best run states in the nation for years. I think that’s because the caucus system makes the candidates more accountable.”

“The delegates represent the people,” another volunteer shared. “We aren’t bad guys, we’re your neighbors. If you don’t like the way the system is running, come to caucus night! Let’s fix it! Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

More Concerns

Concerns with the Direct Primary Election Act run deeper still.

“I actually called Count My Vote headquarters, I asked them to add in a runoff between the top two candidates, so the primary winner has majority support. Sure it would be more expensive, but why should they suddenly care about expenses all the sudden? Primaries are always more expensive than conventions, at least a runoff make the primaries less divisive.”  

(Volunteer requested to remain unnamed)

This same volunteer received a signature removal form from a registered Democrat because of her concern that a “radical” Republican could split the moderate vote and win the election.

Another concern for Utah Republicans is that four of the five sponsors of the bill are either registered Democrats, or appear to by more sympathetic to Liberal principles than Conservative ones. This is not to say that they are bad people, only that their views do not reflect Republican/Conservative principles, which are most commonly held by the majority of Utahns.

  1. Ben McAdams (D) mayor of Salt Lake County, and registered Democrat.
  2. Norma W. Matheson (D), wife of Scott Matheson (last Utah governor to be a registered Democrat) and leader in the Utah Democratic Party.
  3. Rich McKeown (D), author and registered democrat.
  4. Kem Gardner (D) wealthy businessman, former Democratic Utah Governor candidate, and Hillary Clinton supporter.
  5. Mike Levitt (R) former governor of Utah, his businesses, such as Leavitt Partners, tend to be proponents of liberal programs such as Obamacare.

Criticisms

Criticism 1:

The most common criticism of the pro-caucus movement, ironically, is that it is funded by a wealthy Conservative. 

BallotPedia reports the Direct Primary Election Act received $838,371 in donations in the last 2 years, and over $3 million since 2013. In contrast, Keep My Voice, the pro-caucus movement, is reported to have received $52,850 in donations.

Once a direct primary system is in place, the biggest spender wins 91% of the time, because they require candidates reach as many voters as possible. Caucus/convention races only have to reach a small number of elected neighborhood delegates. This allows candidates more time per voter, making it far cheaper and easier for a principled “underdog” to run a successful campaign against an entrenched incumbent. 

Criticism 2:

Another criticism is that the Direct Primary Election Act does not technically “void” the neighborhood caucus system. 

This is technically true, but practically false. What the petition would do is makes the caucus ineffective. It does so by pushing the dates between caucus night and the convention to only a few days apart. That is simply not enough time for delegates to vet candidates, or candidates to earn the trust of the elected neighborhood delegates. Many delegates take their role seriously, and want to make an informed decision before voting. With so many candidates running in so many races, a few days is not nearly enough time for the convention system to be any more effective than direct primaries.

Criticism 3:

“But what about democracy! Don’t you respect the will of the people?” 

The debate between pure democracy (mob rule) and a republic (representative government) is an ongoing one. Democrats typically choose to favor democracy, while Republicans tend to favor a republic. To find out why, check out our article, “Representative Republic vs Pure Democracy” 

Hope for Success

After weeks of hard work in the sun, and receiving hundreds of signature removal requests (estimates exceed 600 in Washington County alone, roughly 20% of qualified signatures submitted in that county), the pro-caucus effort hopes to have successfully beaten the “Establishment” move to undercut the grassroot voices of Utah.

The greater victory is not only in having disqualified so many signatures, but in thwarting the direct primary election efforts year after year. Perhaps those trying to kill the grassroots voices of the caucus system, those afraid of the vetting process of neighborhood delegates, will waste their money elsewhere. The caucus is here to stay.

Now it’s time to make it better.

The Caucus Is Awesome

We Can Make it Better

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About Us

Delegate Digest is dedicated the mission of protecting and rejuvenating the Neighborhood Caucus/Convention System.

We believe the best way to protect the caucus system is to rejuvenate it. Simply implementing it’s inherit organizational structure, unique at the grassroots level, will show people how genius small government representation truly is, and how vastly superior it is to pure democracy.

Rather than protecting the status quo, we need to implement modern technology to help get people to their caucus meeting, and keep them involved and informed in the time between.

Our hope is that upon seeing the caucus system fully implemented and representing their views, the citizens of Utah will laugh at attempts to subvert or destroy the caucus system.