2010 Caucus Convention Debate
GOP Faces Off with Hinckley Institute Challenge to Caucus-Convention
Republican Party of Utah Party Chair Faces Off With Hinckley Institute on Caucus System
On Thursday, October 7, 2010, the Professional Republican Women, a Salt Lake City-based organization, comprised of progressive, moderate and conservative and a few confused Republican women seeking answers, sponsored a debate on the question of whether or not Utah should keep its unique caucus-convention system or move to a general Primary system. As someone strongly in favor of the system, having published opinion in the Salt Lake Tribune on May 30, 2010, the caucus-convention system is truly a system created with, “…of the people, by the people and for the people…” in mind.
Utah Republican Party Chairman Dave Hansen thoughtfully defended the caucus system describing it as an effective grassroots Republican system of neighborhood caucuses that allows the people to elect representatives (or delegates) whose core responsibility it is to become informed on the candidates and their stances on the issues. The delegates then represent their neighborhood to cast their votes at county and state conventions.
Defending the direct-democratic system of electing officials was political science professor Dave Irvine from the Hinckley Institute for Politics at the University of Utah. Using the politics of race and gender, the language of Democrats, Professor Irvine suggested that the caucus-convention system keeps women from winning. He parroted in a divisive manner, “And look at the mostly white delegates! Only 25% are women!” This direct use of race baiting, gender baiting and pandering to the victimization card clearly perpetuates Irvine’s socialistic ideals, the same ideals being rejected today by Americans nationwide.
Having recently run as the first Republican woman for U.S. Senate in Utah, I know a little something about the caucus-convention system. As a newcomer, I know that I wouldn’t have stood a chance or achieved the percentage I did, had I been forced to run in a general Primary election system. The caucus system is the only hope for people such as you and I, the ordinary folks who work hard and pay the rent, to run for state or national office. The irony of Irvine’s position is that the general primary system generally limits the field to candidates who are the very class they profess to despise: the rich and famous.
Three cheers to Georgia Peterson, the fiery red-head known for having been the first woman to walk through the doors of the all-men’s Alta Club years ago – a Republican. She stood courageously and explained that it was because of the caucus system that she was able to connect with people in every precinct, ask them to run for delegate , persuade their neighbors to elect them, and then vote for her at convention. It took a lot of hard work but Peterson was elected by a landslide — as a woman and, way back in the 1980s, nonetheless.
I also communicated my strong belief that the caucus-convention system is the best system in the entire country. It’s not about electing women, it’s about electing people with the best ideas – those that the Founders also embraced, no matter the race, no matter the gender. Is it a perfect system? No, but it is a system that allows the average citizen to take part in the political process, and this is critical to the future and freedom of our country.
Irvine, professing to be Republican, supported a democratic form of government, and said, “I agree with James Madison and the Founders’ support of one-man / one-vote.” My first thought to this blatantly erroneous statement was: Had he read the Constitution recently, or ever? It was amusing to listen to this respected college professor refer to James Madison’s original intent of the electoral process and the “Father of the Constitution’s” supposed support of democracy in the same breath. I then asked, and I ask again now, “Have any college political science professors ever read what the Founders said about ‘one man / one vote?'” (or democracy) If they had, they would know the Founders wrote profusely about it and that they were decisively against this democratic form of government. They instead formed a Republican form of government. .
If you are 97 years old or younger, you most likely were not taught what the Founders really thought or wrote, especially if you were educated in a public school or a liberal private “college-prep” school from 1913 forward. That’s when the most dramatic changes to the Constitution occurred. It’s a miracle that I emerged a common sense, constitutional conservative, despite the fact I was raised and educated in Los Angeles and attended a private girls’ college prep school, now run by radical feminists with strong same-gender attraction.
I credit my parents, who taught me the truth because never once in all 18 years of my education did a single professor pull out a Constitution, reference its contents or give any assignments to read it and interpret its meaning according to original intent. Instead, the discussions centered on the structure of the three branches of government, a balance of powers and vague assertions that the U.S. is a democracy because we believe in (there it is again) “one-man / one-vote.”
Recently I was researching the new national common core standards for education and discovered that Utah’s Common Core Curriculum for Social Studies, along with a Mount Vernon Historical Society lesson plan on George Washington, and the Alpine School District’s Mission Statement (in the most conservative county in the United States) each had a common thread: The purpose is to teach students that the United States is a republic. I felt encouraged.
Then within a few sentences, the core curriculum mission was blown to smithereens claiming the goal is to teach that it is a democracy. In a matter of words, they accomplish what it took the United States over 200 years to do – evolve from a republic to a democracy. So pray tell: which is it?
In the early 1990s, I came across a mission statement in the Utah Education Code stating that the purpose of Utah education was to educate students to become “citizens of the world in a participatory democracy.” I was stunned.
First, we are not citizens of the world. If we were, we would have no borders and we would have one world government to which we paid taxes and for which we elected our representatives. The last time I checked, we were still citizens of the United States, to which we pay taxes under a sovereign law – the U.S. Constitution.
Second, our government was meant to function as a Republic, not a participatory democracy and in the very words of those who created it – the Founders.
Democracy has never succeeded in large geographical areas or with large populations. Its history is volatile. It short-circuits quickly and becomes mob-rule tyranny, typically ending in some kind of civil conflict. The Founders knew this history, and they constructed a brilliant blueprint to prevent mob-rule.
After the Professional Republican Women meeting concluded, I reviewed the handouts from the Hinckley Institute titled “Utah’s Electoral Process: Is There Hope?” The document referenced the “Governor’s Commission on Strengthening Utah’s Democracy,” Established under the Huntsman administration. Good grief, all I can say is: “Utah’s Uninformed Electorate: Is There Hope?”
What’s of greater concern, emerging from this “undemocratically,” unelected commission to “Strengthen Utah’s Democracy” is the support of ideas that favor voter fraud especially among the illegal alien demographic. Nowhere do the recommendations state that a person registering to vote must show proof of citizenship. Moreover, state campaign finance policy recommendations coincide with the now infamous McCain-Feingold law that makes it harder for you and me – the “unwashed masses” – to run for office. McCain was smart. He married a beer heiress with a foundation, and then he passed a law to favor those like himself, who can self-fund their elections, at the same time limiting the amount of contributions that could have otherwise helped those who aren’t billionaires. It doesn’t make sense, but the Democrats who have been circulating those petitions for “ethics” are either not thinking, or they prefer to promote oligarchy, or rule by the rich and elite.
As John Adams once sang (I’ll bet you didn’t know he could do that, too) in the Broadway musical 1776: “Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see?”
If college, high school, middle school and elementary school teachers would read the blueprint of American government, the U.S. Constitution, they would learn as much as a Sunday School teacher who teaches doctrine by opening up the Bible itself.
You might be thinking, “Why haven’t we taught this in our schools?” One could say it’s a conspiracy, but no doubt the answer lies in a mandate to develop one-size-fits-all “national standards” being demanded by today’s powerful teacher unions and supported by teachers nationwide.
The United States, along with its current two-party system and an educational system badly in need of repair, is experiencing an identity crisis. Which are we? Democracy or Republic? And, what is the difference? One need not go farther than reading the U.S. Constitution and the writings of those who crafted it to understand clearly what America was meant to be: A constitutional, representative Republic. With this in mind, we must begin now to set the course straight with this future generation. Our Republic and our freedom depend on it.