Monday, January 7, 2008

On party systems

Important enough that I'm forwarding this to the blog:


The caucuses are the last remnants of the old system. When I was District Captain (later, House District Leader) out in Colorado, Colorado was a caucus state. We held precinct meetings (which I had to make sure were held - one year I had three precincts meeting in my house. One bunch showed up because the committeeman who had promised to host it had locked his door and turned off all his lights. They got my address from the County officers.) Each precinct would select delegates to the County Assembly and to the District Convention. (There was a technical distinction between assemblies and conventions having to do with the offices involved.) They were elected in proportion to the original caucus vote for the highest contested election - presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial depending on the year. At the County Assembly, delegates were elected to the State Assembly; at the District Convention, delegates were elected to the State Convention. The State Assembly and Convention were held together. There, we elected delegates to the National Convention.

Most of the delegates had some personal contact with and knowledge of the County and State candidates and were prepared to make more informed judgments. Less often, we had a chance to shmooze with national candidates. I didn't worry whether the caucuses were "democratic." Any registered Party member could attend and vote. We called, we offered transport. It was their choice to stay home. Their purpose was to pick the Party's candidates, and that's the Party's business, not the general public's.

But the Parties were collapsing even then. I often had trouble enlisting campaign workers because I would call on people and they would say they had already volunteered for so-and-so's Campaign. If there were congressional, senatorial, and gubernatorial elections on, that was three "personal parties" sucking the volunteer pool dry and creating three parallel pseudo-party organizations working the same territory. Problem was, they were only interested in leafleting for their Candidate, so local offices, like sheriff, got stiffed. So the next go round, I rounded up all my precinct people and we volunteered for each of the Campaigns and went around leafleting for the entire Party slate.

Used to be the Parties served as buffers between the Candidates and the Interest Groups. They could broker deals, balance interests, and so on. Now with the Personal Parties/Campaigns, the Interest Groups go directly to the Candidates who, being smaller fish, are less well-equipped to broker them. (It's a physical mass thing: Parties are larger than Interest Groups, but Interest Groups are larger than Candidates. Work out the physics...)

Michael Flynn

[end quote]

"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

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