Save Your Caucus, Save the Republic

[Please feel free to print and share this PDF document at your caucus meeting:]

This Tuesday there is one question every neighborhood caucus attendee ought to be prepared to ask of anyone who would become a delegate…

“Do you unequivocally stand for our Neighborhood Caucus system?”

Here’s why.

In Rome, the res publica, or the Republic, was very literally the ‘people’s affair.’ In America, the Republic was to be the same; of, by, and for the people.

To set up and maintain a government of and by the people, great minds such as John Adams, Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson instituted and organized according to a neighborhood caucus system. Jefferson particularly took to calling this system of local organization the Ward system. Earlier Founders referred to such local organizations as Committees of Correspondence and Committees of Safety.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The elementary republics of the wards, the county republics, the States republics, and the republic of the Union, would form a gradation of authorities, standing each on the basis of law, holding every one its delegated share of powers, and constituting truly a system of fundamental balances and checks for the government. Where every man is a sharer in the direction of his ward-republic, or of some of the higher ones, and feels that he is a participator in the government of affairs, not merely at an election one day in the year, but every day; when there shall not be a man in the State who will not be a member of some one of its councils, great or small, he will let the heart be torn out of his body sooner than his power be wrested from him by a Caesar or a Bonaparte.”

John Henry Smith

Not coincidentally, and very on point for Utah, this is how early Mormons also organized religiously and politically, both in Nauvoo and in their place of retreat; the Rocky Mountain West. John Henry Smith, founding father of Utah’s Republican Party (President of the Council of Fifty, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Utah’s Territorial Legislature, and Chairman of Utah’s Constitutional Convention) also organized Utah into a neighborhood caucus system or political ward system.

Mormons did not invent the system, they borrowed it from the men who they believed had been “raised up” for the purpose of establishing the Constitution of the United States. The system though goes even farther back, at least as far back as Moses — “Father of many nations.”

Benjamin Franklin — U.S. Seal Design

Mormons, just as many of the Founders did, just as Moses did, believed that this method of organizing was God’s revealed method for the proper organizing of society by family units for the maintenance of Liberty.

One might therefore ask, “why would anyone want to change that system?”

The answer is simple and it is as old as life itself; for power and gain.

Government as we know it today is a lobbyist’s affair, a bureaucrat’s affair, and today it’s the affair of Dark Money throughout our nation and unfortunately here in Utah.

What is Dark Money? Dark Money is the money that is placed by a small group of political influencers into an assortment of special interest organizations to avoid revealing their machinations and their motives. They will typically do this by insuring that the organizations they fund adopt the mantra of a “grassroots organization” or claim that they have populist support.

Take for example “Count My Vote,” the very organization attempting to destroy the Utah Caucus system. Turns out most of the donors are very wealthy, politically arbitrary and ambiguous (i.e. the compromise anything crowd); they are politically influential — although not in the caucus system ironically, receive special benefits from our government, and they are pretty ticked off that Mike Lee beat Bob Bennett in 2010.

The last thing that the Dark Money crowd wants is for people to organize in their neighborhoods; to get informed; to talk politics and come to a resolve as to who THEY will support as a local community.

Neighborhood caucuses are a problem for Dark Money lobbyists and king-makers. Your average Utahn is unlikely to get together with his neighbors and decide that they need to make sure and send a representative of some special interest to the hill. Your average caucus attendee is highly unlikely to relinquish their sovereign political power — they are too educated, too involved and know that power is checked best when it is exercised closest to home.

The Dark Money crowd prefers quantity to quality, they thrive on an uneducated electorate (it’s why they are also behind Common Core in Utah), and they prefer less information to more. They thrive on soundbites and meaningless jargon. Noah Webster complained that the British were full of the same. Dark money thrives in our state on political inactivity, on mis-information, on lack of family and community based organizing and cooperation. The less organized we are by neighborhoods and communities the more power and gain there is to be had by those who would take it from the People.

This Tuesday our Neighborhood Caucuses will be under attack and most people won’t even know it. You have the power to save our Neighborhood Caucus System — your own mini-Republic so to speak. Go to your caucus and be prepared with one question for anyone who wants to run as a delegate on Tuesday night.

“Do you unequivocally stand for our Neighborhood Caucus system?”

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