The Caucus ain’t broke, so don’t fix it

Kevin Hotaling   |   Apr 11, 2016

Apparently everyone is up in arms because Ted Cruz swept the entire 34 member GOP delegation, despite the possibility that Trump may or may not have done better in a different system. In a world of soundbite sensationalism and mindless “equality” drivel, how dare our state GOP emphasize organization, persistence, and knowledge when selecting national delegates? Isn’t it awesome that the democrats and the Trumps supporters wholeheartedly agree on this one?

Uh, you’re at a Republican Caucus, sir

I ran 29 precincts for the Boulder County GOP this year. We had a good turnout consisting of many lively, engaged voters who cared about the election enough to peel themselves away from their TV on a Tuesday evening (a caucus is inherently superior for this reason alone). There was also a large portion of the caucus goers who were newbies and had respectful questions.

A few Trump supporters, however, framed their questions as loud, obnoxious complaints (foreshadowing Trump’s own pathetic behavior of past few days). My favorite was the man who couldn’t understand why we weren’t “voting on a ballot” like the other states?!?!?!????

Well, sir, you’re at a Republican Caucus, not a Democrat Primary, and those words have meaning. The very name of the party announces its commitment to representative government (aka republicanism). By definition, a caucus is about elevating representatives to higher levels, to conduct party business (including the selection of a presidential nominee). When you put the words “Republican” and “Caucus” next to each other, the resulting event shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

A republic madam, if you can keep it

We dare do this, in part, because it’s the American way. The founders were very clear about their attempt to establish a republic (aka representative government), for fear of tyranny of the majority. This system of government was explicitly designed to diminish the influence of the average voter because the average voter doesn’t have the time or expertise necessary to evaluate arcane political issues (perfectly proven by the outrage over our caucus).

A caucus, however, does not entirely silence the masses, as is presently being claimed. Every registered voter has the opportunity to attend and to elevate delegates who will serve as their representatives. Indeed, anyone can run as a delegate if they so choose … though the Trump nitwit who erroneously yells about how we “definitely had a binding straw poll in 2012” is admittedly less likely to advance.

No, the caucus doesn’t benefit the “establishment”

One fun allegation from a Trump supporter was that I was “the establishment” and had rigged the rules against him. Of course, the only reason I was there — working for free on his behalf — was that I am one of many Ron Paul supporters who have taken GOP leadership positions with the primary purpose of ensuring that all proceedings are administered in an orderly and impartial manner. I guess you could call that “taking responsibility for our mutual civic well-being.” He, on the other hand, has never been seen before nor since.

The real establishment is scared shitless of the caucus because they can’t control it. It can’t be easily bought via a flashy 30 second ads and a few million in media buys. The 4000+ delegates who make it to State to select our final delegation aren’t rubes: they’re sophisticated political experts, and they’re predominantly grassroots.

Want proof? Just look at that 2012 results and tell me how many primaries Ron Paul won (zero) versus the number of caucuses he won (5-7, depending upon who’s counting). Kasich is the current establishment choice for 2016 and didn’t get a single delegate. Trump is the media darling and didn’t get a single delegate. Anyone who argues that Ted Cruz was not the leading choice of the Colorado grassroots is trying to pull a fast one.

Can’t grasp this basic logic? Well, maybe you’re one of the people who would be better off if represented by a delegate? This is pretty simple stuff here, people.

Speaking of basic logic, you fail

We’ve established that representative government is not only a long held American convention, but also a valuable counterbalance to money and power. Now we ought expose the absurdity of those who claim direct elections are the only “fair” form of governance:

Great, let’s accept that and embrace the primary system, right? Nope, that’s not direct democracy, it’s still an arcane, delegate-based nomination process, with a wide variety of allocation procedures leading up to a national convention.

Cool, let’s hold all state primaries on a single day and use government force to require that these independent, private organizations known as political parties nominate whoever gets the most votes, right? Nope, that would still leave the electoral college.

Okay, let’s kill the electoral college and elect our president base on a straight, plurality-rule vote. We’ve done it, right?!??! Nope, you just elected another representative … you idiot. The fact that someone running to be a representative, Donald Trump, is himself arguing that representative systems aren’t “fair” is especially “rich.”

Those who argue for direct democracy based upon this purported “fairness” would need to advocate the complete abolition of American government in order to actually uphold the principle. Given that this would be a much more interesting debate, it’s kinda disappointing that none of the complainers have the intellectual consistency to embrace it.

Dancing With the Stars is on at 8p tonight!

Until you can intelligently address the issues above, I’ll kindly ask you to calm down, return to your TV, and leave the inner workings of the Colorado GOP to — say, perhaps — members of the Colorado GOP? Thanks for playing.