As I watched the deception about CMV (Count My Vote) unravel a couple of years ago and the legislature finally cave to the proponent’s threats I was fascinated by the shallowness of the reasoning. The Utah State Legislature ultimately came up with a ludicrous compromise known as SB-54.
Now, the CMV folks, despite their assurances to cease the initiative effort have reneged and are pursuing an even worse version of Count My Vote (Yes, it can get much much worse, and they are intending to make it so) initiative.
In short CMV accomplishes one thing, despite their tales of public appeal. Count My Vote seeks to open a pathway for wealthy candidates to buy access to the ballot rather than going through a legitimate evaluation process currently working with Utah’s political parties.
CMV, in more detail, is purported to allow candidates to simply declare what party they affiliate with and then buy access to a ballot position without being vetted by those who actually participate in the nominating process.
As in most cases with initiatives in Utah, once a group has established that they wish to change state law through a signature route, the State Legislature will step in and create some convoluted version of compromise.
It is important to recognize that the State Legislature long ago established a law that in essence says “Which way did the public go…so we can get in front of them and lead them.” In less caustic terms that means the State Legislature has reserved to right to override and prevent initiatives in Utah from taking effect simply by passing a related law.
Therefore my question come to this, how far will the CMV advocates and State Legislators go to take control of private organizations? I raise the question because political parties in Utah are private organizations and should be allowed to establish their own operating procedures.
Consider this scenario. If the State Legislature or CMV continues down this road of needless regulation how far will they go? Conceivably and realistically they could also mandate how party officials are selected. What???? Are you Crazy, Bill?
Under the current Caucus/Convention system delegates select candidates for office or a primary during a legitimately held and open convention. SB-54 has undermined that process.
Now, let’s look just a bit further down the road. The party leadership, presidential electors, national committee members, et al are selected by the convention delegates elected in the neighborhood caucuses. With the direction that the CMV folks and State Legislature is moving it is conceivable and reasonable to believe that a consequence of this effort to appease wealthy candidates would leave party leadership in the hands of just a few well placed “I bought your Vote” incumbents. If delegates are too unwise to properly select candidates for office these same people would advocate that party leadership should also be removed from the hands of delegates.
Here is my concern with that scenario. In the 2016 presidential election Hillary Clinton had full control of the Democrat Party leadership. Consequently, other viable candidates were systematically ousted or prevented from fair participation in their primary process. The tales of the deceit are now legendary.
Another example was the Mitt Romney campaign when he ran against President Obama. His campaign and PACS systematically coordinated and used their influence and monetary resources to undermine Rick Santorum in New Hampshire and Newt Gingrich in S. Carolina/Florida.
As we look to the future in Utah these kinds of insider controls of private partisan organizations must be guarded against by preserving the best means of protection through the Caucus/Convention system. In 2018 it is purported that one of the main supporters of backroom and public manipulation will be seeking the Republican nomination for the US Senate. If the Caucus/Convention system is undermined further Utah will lose its ability to field well-informed and honorable candidates.
That Is How I See It