I am a State Delegate for the Republican Party this year. I consider it an honor and also a great responsibility. I was elected by my peers in my caucus meeting. A caucus is a neighborhood geographical area comprised of a few hundred people. I want to explain how our party determines who will represent us in a general election.
There are essentially two ways that someone could become the nominee for the Republican Party to run against the opposition in a general election; one, they run in a “Primary” giving every voter in their district the opportunity to vote for them or two, they are elected by the “Delegates at the Republican County and State Conventions”
In Utah we use the convention method instead of the primary. Here is why I believe that election by Delegate in the convention is the best method. If we simply allowed each candidate to run in a primary election where all of the citizens were allowed to vote the candidate with the most money will buy the election almost every time.
“How does someone buy an election?” you ask. I’ll tell you. The more money a person has the more they can spend on advertising. They spend thousands of dollars on yard signs, full color two-sided or even “pop-up” brochures, yes I did say “pop-up” brochures. Some candidates even buy breakfast, lunch and dinner for prospective supporters.
These wealthy candidates also spend money on billboards, pamphlets attached to every door in their voting neighborhoods, automated phone messages, advertisements in the news papers and any other method to get their name out in front of Jane and John Doe voter.
“But why is this problem?” you ask. I’ll tell you. Because most voters in this type of election never get to actually meet the candidate, talk to the candidate or ask the candidate questions face-to-face to determine if that candidate is the person whom they would want to represent them in political office.
Since the voters never actually meet the candidate they simply rely on catchy advertising, a few bullet points on a flyer, an automated phone call or two or three and name recognition due to the inundation of campaign propaganda!
Most voters simply vote for the name that has been in front of their face during the course of the election. This is called impression marketing; the more you can make an impression on someone the more likely they will buy your product, i.e., candidate!
So, the bottom line is “He or she who has the most money wins!” Are we to assume that the most qualified person to represent you is the wealthiest? Of course not! But look around and you will discover that there are not many “average” everyday Joe’s and Jane’s representing you in government, most are either wealthy or come from a family with name recognition.
I believe that there are many wonderful people who never consider running for political office in primary or general elections because they have neither money nor name recognition. But with the Convention method the playing field is a little more fair and those who are voting, the delegates who represent hundreds of their friends and neighbors actually meet and grill each candidate face-to-face and often on numerous occasions.
This means that the candidates CANNOT win the nomination based on how much money they have to spend but based on their ideas, character and personal political platform. The delegates learn all that they can about the candidates and then they choose the person whom they believe will best represent the needs, beliefs and values of their friends and neighbors.
Election by Delegation is a basic principle of our Constitution and Republic form of government. A group of neighbors “delegate” a person to represent them; hence they choose a Delegate and send that person to the Convention.
If you are a Delegate it is your responsibility to learn ALL you can about the candidates, report to members of your caucus from time to time and then vote for the candidate whom you discover meets the criteria of your delegation.
If you think it is your responsibility to “muddy the water” and vote for your second choice to force a primary you don’t understand your fiduciary responsibility as a delegate and you never should have accepted the nomination in the first place!
I believe that nomination by the Delegate process is essential in helping to find the most qualified person for public office and the best insurance to discourage someone from buying an election.
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