Caucus and assembly system serve parties, not the people

By J.A. Hunsinger

The Colorado Republican Assembly in Loveland, May 21–22, was both inspiring in scope and troubling in intent.

This assembly represents my first experience, during a long life, to become engaged in the political process from local caucus to final appointment as a delegate in both the Republican 3 Congressional District Assembly and the GOP State Assembly.

It is important for the reader to realize that more than one-third of the delegates at the state assembly were there for the first time. I think this fact speaks volumes about the angst felt for our republic at this point in history.

With the primary election just over a month away, it might be of interest to the electorate to know how our candidates got on the ballot. Taken as a whole, the process is laughable, at best, and a travesty of democracy at the least.

From caucus to assembly, it is the will of the party that holds sway. The people have no voice whatsoever. Nor does most of the electorate have knowledge of what is ostensibly occurring on their behalf.

Candidates are chosen by the parties, not by the vote of the electorate. Many of the chosen candidates regard their candidacy as their due — “It is my turn!” — and nearly all are either former or sitting politicians.

However, that program did not work this year because only one of the party-anointed candidates garnered a majority of the delegate votes, and it was actually a defeat, given that a candidate without name recognition, little money, but a strong, sensible message racked up 45.5 percent of the ballots.

All the other party-insider candidates finished behind unknown newcomers. Even so, we seldom get the best candidates for political office because, after this charade plays out, we are left with those with the most money, best name recognition and longest nose.

Every candidate from dog-catcher to president should be selected at the ballot box by the electorate, not by national party-insider political shenanigans such as I observed at the Republican State Assembly. The caucus/assembly process should be scrapped in favor of a system allowing candidates to exclusively petition onto the ballot. This is the only way the voice of the people can play a part in political-candidate selection.

My support and votes at the two assemblies went only for candidates who had never before been a part of politics, yet were eminently qualified for the position.

My observations of the political machine in action left no doubt that its effort to elect candidates who would further the party line stopped at nothing. Any delegate displaying buttons or stickers outside the fold were shunned by party insiders and the supporters of the chosen few to the point of open hostility in some cases.

This process is overseen and ruled by self-serving party officials and party insiders with little integrity, honor or any sympathy with the will of the electorate. It is all about them and their anointed candidates. It is little wonder that our flawed political process is rife with corruption at all levels of government, for it begins at this grassroots level.

The first-time delegates accomplished this momentous victory for “we the people,” and I believe this will continue into the Aug. 10, Republican primary elections and the November national elections. This is our time. Make your voices heard, winnow out the chaff in the morass of corruption known as Washington, D.C., by voting out all the self-serving incumbents.

J.A. Hunsinger is a writer living in Grand Junction. Formerly a technical writer for the aviation industry, he recently released the second novel in his “Axe of Iron” series about Vikings of 1,000 years ago.


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