When Compromise Becomes A Deal Breaker

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On November 30, 2013 the Salt Lake Tribune satirist Paul Rolly commented on Utah State Senator Curt Bramble’s “compromise” bill on how to “Fix” the caucus system. Former Representative Fred Cox wrote a swift rebuttal which has merit and I encourage you to read it here.

Senator Bramble is complicating a situation that was already yielding a solution that the majority agreed upon in a bi-partisan way. His proposal, if Rolly explained it correctly, is putting a wrench in the works and we hope he will drop the bill.

The four changes Senator Bramble advocates are:
1. Allow absentee and remote voting in the neighborhood caucuses and allow more time for people to vote on line or by mail for their delegates.

Cherilyn Eagar’s Comment: This single recommendation will kill the purpose and the very existence of the neighborhood caucus. Does Senator Bramble believe in a neighborhood election or “caucus,” which means people from your street and neighborhood gather together face to face once every two years to discuss important issues together and to elect a neighborhood representative, rather than to substitute it with sitting at home and watching American Idol while casting a vote?

Human nature typically takes the path of least resistance and if this provision ever passes, it won’t be long before people figure out that it’s much easier to sit at home and cast a vote online than to get dressed and show up at a public meeting.

Perhaps ecclesiastical leaders should adopt a similar procedure and allow adherents to sit at home and take a virtual sacrament or participate online from within the four walls of their homes. There are times when face to face human interaction is imperative, and this is one of those times.

2. Allow absentee and remote voting by delegates in the convention.

Cherilyn Eagar’s Comment: Ditto #1

3. Allow unaffiliated voters to vote in party primaries.

The current system guards against cross-over voting, but this would not. Welcome to Chicago politics. Senator Bramble was born and raised there. We don’t need Chicago in Utah.

4. Change the threshold for a candidate to win the party’s nomination outright at the convention, from 60 percent of the delegate vote to 65 percent.

The Count My Vote Bob Bennett supporters are still licking their wounds from their 2010 loss. 65% is an incumbent protection plan. Placing the bar that much higher only helps incumbents. Once an incumbent gets into a primary, it’s likely that incumbent will win by name recognition plus the war chest built by D.C. lobbyists who have rallied to protect their advantage of the career politician.

Each of these proposals was deliberated by the SCC members. Six resolutions passed that take care of the concerns. Why then would Senator Bramble leap forward with this bill without first consulting us? The Senator doesn’t typically show his face at a State Central Committee meeting. However, it was unusual when he was credentialed last May to vote proxy for the Senate President who was unable to attend. That has never happened before, and it is not provided for in the rules. Nevertheless, there he was casting strategic votes on these thresholds.

Furthermore, Senator Bramble did not approach any of us who have been working hard outside of committee meetings to find compromises and improvements. We think that was the wrong way to approach this matter.

Senator Bramble never runs a bill he doesn’t intend to pass, typically at all costs. He is a behind-closed-doors deal maker. So we take this compromise seriously, though unwanted. But this unwanted compromise may be just the compromise that breaks the deal for him and for both parties. After all the hard work, the hours and many meetings of dedicated SCC members and bi-partisan gatherings and coalition building, that’s what Fred Cox means when he says, “The last thing we need is to go backwards.”