In response to a blog post that has blown the controversy over CMV/SB54 out of proportion, I am compelled to ask for reasoned minds to continue to thoughtfully deliberate. This is the kind of discourse that the Utah Republican Party’s current leaders have been able to achieve over the past two years. That is now being disrupted by some who have not been engaged in the process, or who are simply not in alignment with the Republican Party, or who may simply be ill-informed.
I’m reminded of a Persian Proverb:
He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not is a fool – shun him.
He who knows not, and knows that he knows not is a child – teach him.
He who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep – wake him.
He who knows, and knows that he knows is wise – follow him.
I am the first to admit that I do not know everything about everything, an impossibility. But I do know much about a lot, and just enough to know that I need to keep seeking knowledge. When I blog, I realize the responsibility, and so it is my sincere desire to learn as much as I can and to avoid any misrepresentations. I always welcome your insights and when applicable, corrections.
These recent articles have taken hours, days, weeks to research. I hope they are useful. I am sometimes criticized for the length. Typically it’s necessary in order to go into the depth to make a case conclusively. At other times, it’s that I have only time for the rough draft which precludes making the entry shorter. I offer my apology in advance.
The Caucus Challenge: A National Progressive Assault on Conservative Ideals and Election Processes
First, the election challenge Utah faces is a national campaign to destroy the Republican Party and the conservative vote. The label “purging” is routinely used by radical progressives conducting this shrewd campaign, deceiving even Republicans. One of the foremost leftist organizations promoting this campaign to destroy the caucus election system is Project Vote. Before we quickly jump on board with Holly’s parallel rhetoric, let’s check out who’s who on that board. You can see for yourself. Google the board member’s name and then “political contribution” or “democrat” or “republican donations.” You will find that this board is extremely progressive. It includes the famous Frances Fox Piven, married to now deceased Richard Cloward, both self-proclaimed Marxists and members of the Democratic Socialists of America party.
Holding Elected Officials Accountable and Maintaining a Conservative Republican Identity in a Progressive War
It was just a little over a year ago that the State Central Committee listened to attorney Christ Troupis (no, I did not misspell his first name) deliver a brilliant analysis of the CMV ultimatum constructed by the DC lobbyist firm that works for the Democratic National Committee. That 26-page legal brief was clear: either adopt a dual track election system or cease to exist. It was presented as a legal threat, outlining how Utah’s caucus was “unconstitutional.” Troupis received a standing ovation.
Holly Richardson has not been involved in these discussions. She is not a member of the State Central Committee. She lost her legislative seat in the Utah State House of Representatives in part because of her overall lukewarm Republican positions (scorecard: 57%) and her progressive position supporting an amnesty bill that the Republican Party strongly opposed. It had so many flaws, among them to allow illegal aliens to continue to commit social security and identity fraud unchecked.
Another faux pas was her (and Senator Hatch’s) attempt to block a State GOP resolution opposing the federal take-over of education, commonly called “common core state standards” and the invasive testing and tracking of personally identifiable information. She and a handful of campaign staffers of Senator Hatch’s campaign united to give it an “unfavorable recommendation” to the convention floor. That was after the Republican National Committee had voted unanimously to oppose it. Fortunately, the delegates were wise and that resolution passed with the largest margin of support that day.
Another vociferous elected official vigorously supporting CMV/SB54, opposing the Party’s lawsuit and any membership requirements is State Senator Todd Weiler. His voting score cards are declining with every session he serves. This year he ranked the second to lowest scoring Republican in the Senate at a dismal 35%.
My interpretation of Holly’s diatribe is that she either has an ax to grind, or she is is concerned that Republican elected officials just might need to be held accountable to a Republican standard, or both. According to several score cards monitoring the votes, many of the members of the state legislature vote with the democrats nearly 50% of the time on matters that the Republican Party opposes, such as socialized medicine and the growing of ObamaCare in Utah. In fact, Utah’s governor stood alone as a Republican governor among the states that agreed to expand Medicaid during the beginning stages of its implementation, knowing that it is essential if ObamaCare is to succeed.
Senator Brian Shiozawa, who I know and appreciate on a personal level, managed to rank the lowest Senator of all, Democrats included, with a whopping 17%! (This is a strongly Republican survey developed by the Reagan Wing of the Party). Shiozawa is an emergency room doctor and former President of the Utah Medical Association (the trade association that endorsed ObamaCare) who sponsored the Medicaid Expansion bill. (Cottonwood Heights, are you paying attention?)
For these reasons, as members of the Republican Party, it is critical that we hold our elected officials accountable to the standard they signed when they registered as a candidate. We must be able to vet them ongoing when they present themselves to run for re-election. Delegates must keep a watchful eye on these scorecards.
Who are we? What do we believe? Do we believe in limited government – or big government? How is your representative voting?
I can honestly say that the State Central Committee and Executive Committee have never been more united in presenting creative ideas for improvement and then vetting them in a rational way. Of course there are differences, and especially regarding how to communicate the message and when. In spite of human error, at the end of the day we have agreed that the CMV/SB54 model which was forced on the Utah Republican Party as a private corporation, has damaged and weakened its imprimatur, brand and platform and will continue to do so unless delegates stand up and with an informed vote, elect people of integrity.
CMV/SB54 puts the Republican Party at risk of being irrelevant in the nominating process and becoming a meaningless platform. It removes the party from being the accountability to our elected officials. It is being promoted by those that want it so. The democrats would like nothing more than to see that destructive outcome.
The Legitimacy of Defining Membership Qualifications and Holding Representatives Accountable
Judge Nuffer gave us the route to remedy these concerns, and it is embodied in what Chairman James Evans and our committee are working through right now. Holly’s, and Senator Weiler’s representations are shamefully misleading.
Those that take this discussion to media and grossly distort it, as Holly has done here, do so because they intend to do damage. They do not support the caucus system, and they prefer Count My Vote’s-SB 54’s dual track.
Either they feel they’ve been burned by it (there are winners and losers in any election system – I too lost in this system, but I support it) or they do not understand the nature of a representative republic and the U.S. Constitution’s protection of freedom of private and public assembly.
Those elected (or former) officials that favor CMV/SB54, or that mock the phrase “RINO” (Republican In Name Only) do so because they do not want to be held accountable. Their scorecards as conservatives are proof that they themselves are Republicans in name only. These scores typically range from 38% to 68%. When I went to school, a 68% was a D, next to failing. The standard in our home growing up was 80% or higher. Anything below that was the danger zone.
Explosive phrases such as “Beehive McCarthyism,” “GOP Politburo” do not come from Republicans. Holly’s labels “Purity Panels,” “Purging” and “Pay-to-Play” are not simply hyperbole, they are a gross distortion. Methinks she doth protest too much.
The roots of these labels come from the the ideology of the Cloward and Pivens’ activists, at the top of the totem pole in this national assault. They are experts in name-calling, routinely using “racist,” “bigot” etc. When we suggest something so logical as to ask a voter for an ID, these progressives will jump in and attack it as a “racist poll tax.”
Frankly, they insult the intelligence of those who understand this strategy. This national progressive trend seeks to eradicate any advantage – or equal access for that matter – to candidates who espouse the principles of the free market, limited government and principled leadership.
Now let’s examine Holly’s blog post. Her text is in italics.
The survey – more than a day late and a dollar short …
The preliminary injunction was held April 10. The Party works in an orderly fashion. Executive Committee had to schedule its meeting. We counsel with each other in as timely a fashion as possible. A special session is set for May 30.
As one who has contributed a sizable amount of money to assist the legal case, how much have these critics contributed to our party’s lawsuit? They would rather end the funding and quit now. When you hear, “the Party should stop funding law suits and start funding candidates,” that should be a concern. Many devoted people have stepped up to the plate to preserve our representative republic. To stop now would be disrespectful of that sacrifice.
Outside counsel is advising us that in his state’s similar case, the injunction was also lost, but they stayed the course and they won.
Qualified Political Party or Registered Political Party?
The short answer is: Qualified, if you care about preserving the integrity of the Republican Party Platform and holding candidates accountable. The Party just needs to communicate better about which candidates are voting Republican and which are not.
The first question asks if the party should chose QPP or RPP or not sure. The Chairman didn’t ask about the 3rd option: do nothing. It is a legitimate option and the longer the party delays in making a decision, the more likely that option becomes. You can read more about QPP and RPP here…
Holly then provides biased links of blog posts by those that support CMV-SB54 and by so doing, wish to weaken the platform and avoid accountability.
The Party isn’t delaying. The lawsuit is in the Court system and is subject to its time line.
Should the Lawsuit Continue?
Short Answer: Absolutely. We are on the winning side of this issue. It’s the CMV/SB54 advocates that want an open primary that want us to stop.
The 2nd question is about the legal challenge. The party states that they were not party to the SB 54 compromise. They do neglect to mention that they were on the Hill during SB 54 negotiations and that the chair was asked to participate but he declined. They do note that the case is not scheduled to be heard until Jan 2016, but that the “prudent course” is to get legal clarification. Back to the question: should the lawsuit continue?
Again, Holly and other opponents of the constitutional caucus system would like the lawsuit to end before it has begun.
The lawsuit is not between the Party Chairman and the Governor. It’s between the Republican Party and the Governor. Her comment makes no sense. Because the Party Chairman was on the Hill to observe and to decline participation in the negotiations does not mean the Party was “party to the compromise.” Legal counsel advised the Chairman not to negotiate with SB54, because it would compromise the legal case. That is an ethical attorney-client matter. The Chairman did the right thing to leave SB54 as is.
As a member of elected representatives on the State Central Committee, we deliberated for over a year, working hard to make improvements and find solutions. One of the greatest obstacles is ignorance about the role of government and what a constitutional republican form of government is, guaranteed in Article IV to every state. As Judge Nuffer said, this is a constitutional issue, and so we are focused on preserving that constitutional right. He charted the course for us to define membership qualifications.
Questions 3-5 are about party membership.
Question 3: Should candidates be prohibited from being officers in another party?
Short (and only) answer: YES! This is a no-brainer.
Question 4 states that for many years the GOP has required a disclosure document and now wants to know if the party should require a disclosure document and subsequently remove party membership from those who refuse to sign.
Short answer: Use logic. Businesses do this when an employee violates nondisclosure or noncompete.
Question 5 states that at least one county party has an interview process already, then asks if the GOP should require that process for all candidates. The county in question seems to be Utah county where a previous chair would ask candidates if they had what they needed and if they understood the process. Even that mild visit (not an “interview”) is no more and hasn’t been for a number of years.
Short answer: Leave it blank. This is probably a county decision anyway. The quick and easy solution is simply to require that disclosure statement on the platform and then to monitor the candidate’s voting record. In my view, if an elected representative is not voting at least 75-80% with the values of the party he or she represents, that should be made known and some sort of censure from the Party. Otherwise a platform is toothless.
As a former candidate, Holly should know that the Republican Party has had a long-standing candidate disclosure policy. In another context, a private corporation or organization has every right interview and to ask for disclosure to that corporation’s leadership. Noncompete and non-disclosure clauses and even prohibitions on moonlighting are drafted and signed without batting an eyelash to protect the corporation from conflict of interest – the highest form of corporate membership qualification. The baseline question being, “Do you pledge to be loyal to this corporation, its goals, interests and belief systems?” If so, you are hired. If not, you are fired.
The dominant religion in Utah – the LDS Church – has a set of 13 “Articles of Faith” and a brief line of questioning that must be answered in the affirmative before a prospective member is baptized. This is such standard procedure, it’s troubling that a disclosure of some kind for a political platform would even be in question.
In context of the Party, the intent is to qualify candidates as REPUBLICANS who support the Republican Platform, especially in a dual track system that results in little accountability and the irrelevance of a platform. If a Republican candidate does not agree with parts of the platform, then as a delegate I want to know that and I want to know which planks that candidate opposes.
It would be a reasonable standard if a candidate supports at least 80% of the platform. But it is our right as delegates and voters to know. This has become an issue because those of us that are at the legislature are astonished at how many Republicans vote for democratic ideals during the session. If a candidate refuses to sign on to the party platform or to disclosure points of disagreement, is that not a private organization’s right to remove that person from running for office or to refuse membership? Every legitimate corporate constitution routinely includes this sort of clause. Roberts Rules of Order also recommends it. If a candidate doesn’t agree with the party platform or the majority of it, should they not find another party with which they do agree?
Questions 6-11 ask which candidates are pure enough to receive party support: email lists, data and volunteers. Although most candidates and current elected officials have stopped relying on the party for support and know they have to get their own volunteers and hire their own data peeps (or do it themselves). Also – should the party endorse candidates pre-primary and if so, who?
Short answer: Only those that are participating in the party caucus-convention should have access to party assets and its endorsement.
“Pure enough,” again, is a distortion of a legitimate principle. Why should a candidate that chooses to go outside the caucus-convention to avoid the delegates’ scrutiny, instead opting to petition onto the ballot as a candidate not endorsed by the delegates receive their help?
In another context, some people criticize organized religion, ignoring the advantage of the networking and the value of a group of people that can, from time to time, come together to help each other, especially in crisis.
The party provides those essential events and networking opportunities from which candidates can readily pick up supporters and volunteers for their campaigns. Party volunteers enlist their time to enter the data for the candidates. This is a no-brainer: the candidates that work through the party should have exclusive access to the resources the party provides.
Part of the problem the party currently has is that people have been more willing to give to an individual candidate than the party for precisely the reason it is seeking to define membership: not all Republican candidates are created equal. In states with an overwhelmingly dominant party, such as Utah, candidates from the minority party are known to run under the banner of the prevailing party. This accounts for the more progressive legislature. We need to find ways of going about better due diligence.
Most private associations have an annual dues requirement. There are 5,000 state delegates. In Salt Lake County a little over 2,300 county delegates. What if … now don’t hyperventilate … what if each delegate, as a requirement to run for that office, pitched in $5 annually. That would be $25,000 at the state level per year. In Salt Lake County, that would be $11.500! Carried further: What if, in order to be a member of the Republican Party, there were an annual membership dues of $5.00 in order to stay on the rolls and to vote in a Republican Primary?
Question 12 and 13 ask if the threshold for getting on the ballot should be lowered for getting on the primary ballot, to as low as 20%, thus ensuring multiple primary candidates. This proposal is a new one and I suspect will generate a good amount of
Short answer: If you think this nation was built on majority rule, then forget the 20% threshold. If you want plurality elections, 20% will achieve that goal.
After we received the Caplin and Drysdale legal brief describing CMV’s goal – a dual track – LaVarr Webb explained that there were some CMV supporters that wanted the 20% for reasons Holly stated. This is not a new proposal. All options have been discussed thoroughly. The question is: does our form of government support election by majority or by plurality? Which approach results in the most civil, peaceful outcome? Hands down, majority has always been the standard, and it is the correct constitutional principle. Anything else eventually becomes anarchy, which we can see in so many other nations.
Question 14 asks whether the legislature should pass new legislation to address the plurality issue, where candidates could get on the ballot without a majority (not a Constitutional issue – multiple other states have people who have won via plurality). Of course, the chair could have thought to ask that before the 2015 session, but that would have made sense….
First, simply because a Court has ruled that plurality is constitutional does not necessarily make it so.
Short Answer: I’m not sure I trust the legislature to make a wise decision on this given its support of CMV/SB54 in the first place. But plurality vote is a danger to the rule by majority. Plus, it makes mending the fences difficult when the winner of the Primary got only 34% of the vote – how are you going to pull the majority together to support your candidate in the general election? It does create havoc.
The author must be unaware that this very question has been at the core of our committee’s concern and it has been discussed thoroughly. Many of us would have liked to have address issues much sooner and to have filed the lawsuit sooner. With CMV/SB54 in place, the lawsuit has a targeted “opponent” in writing – in the law That concern is more one of communication, and as a member of the committee, I have been discussing using technology to engage the delegates more. Being the party chairman takes an enormous amount of time and it often a thankless position. By working together we have been able to cross many roadblocks. Sideline quarterbacking does not help. If you have a concern, get involved. Be part of the solution.
Question 15 asks if the party should open its primaries to unaffiliated voters.
Short answer: NO!!! Not unless you want the Republican Party to be a conglomeration of political philosophy that renders a platform meaningless. And not unless you want to allow an opposing party to strategically intervene to skew the results of your party’s election to their benefit, by calculating the demise of the candidate most likely to defeat their candidate.
The Truth About CMV as the Solution to the Unaffiliated
CMV/SB54 does allow the unaffiliated to vote in a Republican Primary, as well as same-day registrations.
Let’s use the Connecticut example, since that is the example that Caplin and Drysdale used as its model in its original legal brief threatening the Party. Right now, Utah has 588,063 active Republican voters, 112,414 Democrats, and 508,642 unaffiliated. Connecticut has 430,564 active Republicans, 815,713 Democrats, and a massive 872,839 unaffiliated!
Wait. Connecticut is the model for Utah. Given the CMV/SB54 rhetoric, you will find this article more than slightly humorous. Former Governor Lowell Weicker, who bolted from the GOP and became governor is now suggesting that the growing unaffiliated must now be allowed to enter the Republican primary so that they can grow their numbers. In Utah, the Democrats already do that. The rhetoric is almost identical to what we are hearing from CMV/SB54 in Utah.
I also learned that after only three years of enactment, Connecticut (as well as other states) has had a spike in fraud for the same-day registration law it passed in 2012 that the Democratic Party championed and cheered. What irony. In Utah, it’s the Republican Party cheering this “innovative” change (while the Democrats sit back and chuckle with delight.)
Utah Data Points, run by a BYU political science professor, is simply on another planet suggesting that CMV/SB54 will remedy any of the “low voter turnout” concerns. Rather than trying to change the system itself,Colorado increased its voter turnout in 2012 by advertising how to register and the election on radio, TV and in other news outlets. What a concept.
Further examination and comparison of CMV/SB54 and Connecticut: In Connecticut, for those already registered in a political party, the state requires a 3-month (90-day) change of party affiliation prior to Primary Election Day. In Utah, CMV/SB54 = 30 days.
Connecticut requires Republican candidates to gather signatures 5% of Republicans that voted in the last election to qualify for the Primary ballot.
The Connecticut Office of the Secretary of the State told me recently that in a given municipal election, 20 towns of 169, may yield approximately 40 candidates that PETITION onto the Primary ballot. The number of signatures a candidate must gather to petition onto the ballot is 5% of 430,564 = 21,528. A primary petition provides 20 signatures per page. That means that each candidate will be delivering a minimum of 1,076 pages, but probably at least 30% more to cover any invalidated signatures. Each signature must be verified against the registration rolls. I have watched this process. It is time-consuming and costly.
In Utah, CMV/SB54 stipulates only 2% = 11,761 signatures, 589 petition pages per candidate.
Senator Bramble’s bill SB54 shows a fiscal note that says, “undetermined.” Just how much will this undetermined amount cost each county?
Question 16 asks if the Republican party should “charge its candidate a fee” to “defray costs”. Sigh. And here I thought pay-to-play was illegal….
Short Response: Leave it blank. The state requires a filing fee and has for as long as I can remember. Is that also “illegal?” Again, do private organizations commit an illegal act by requiring membership dues and annual fees?
This needs further review. If CMV/SB54 is creating further financial burden on the party, then what are the options for meeting those obligations?
Question 17 asks about stripping party membership from impure Republicans who gather signatures through the petition route only.
Welkomen to the big tent. Don’t let the Politburo phase you. I hear the Gulag is nice this time of year.
Again. Take the survey. Just click here.
Short answer: What irony that the very political operatives manning this campaign from the top are the very progressive minds that would have felt quite welcome in the Third Reich or the Soviet Union to which Holly insultingly compares this controversy. Perhaps she really is one of them and she just doesn’t know it.
“He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not is a fool – shun him.”
Let us all work together to find the best solutions to make the caucus better than ever. The solutions are simple. Go here to get that check list.