Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A'Caucusing We Will Go

by Robison Wells

I wrote a big introduction to this blog that was essentially my attempt to explain my political views, but then I realized that it wasn't that interesting, and definitely not entertaining, and you don't care. So, let's just ignore that. Suffice it to say that I probably disagree with you (unless you're a reasonable, intelligent person). (Zing!)

Tonight was the caucus night in Utah, and I decided that it was time that I go. I've never gone before, but I needed to. If I'm going to mock local politics then I probably ought to actually attend some meetings (to give me more fodder for mocking).

I actually went to two caucuses. (Cauci? That can't be right.) First, I went to the Democrat caucus, because it started first and I figured I could get a taste of it and still have time to get to the Republican one.

Here is the basic comparison between the two, and I promise that these observations are not at all biased in any way (seriously). The Democrat caucus had more people, was far better organized, and had far fewer weirdos. (I know! I was surprised, too!) In fact, the attendee demographics at the Republican caucus seemed to be: 60% older than 70, 30% unkempt and oddly dressed, and 10% unkempt and oddly dressed people who are older than 70. (Which explains why McCain got the nomination last year.)

So, we sat in uncomfortable chairs while the district chairperson led the meeting, and I was never quite sure if he was pausing for dramatic effect or falling asleep in between announcements. Suffice it to say that he was boring.

And then we all split up and met with our precincts, and my precinct only had five people, including me. And, worse, all the votes were two-and-two, which left me as the deciding vote. And I had absolutely nothing to base my vote on. So, I told them that I was a moderate independent, and that I really shouldn't be voting anyway, since I'm not registered in either party and I was there mostly as an oberver. (Which is foruntate, because the candidate choices were: the fanatic or the conspiracy theorist.)

Here's what surprised me the most: no one, at either caucus, was talking about issues. Even when I was faced with Sophie's Choice (the nut or the wacko) and I asked them what their political philosophies were, all I got from the fanatic was "I like to keep my options open", and then the conspiracy theorist told me how "[So-and-so] is corrupt. The news won't tell you, but I can read between the lines."

And that was it. Other than the boring chairperson reading the Republican platform, that was the only discussion of issues the entire night. I must admit that, as a moderate independent, I was expecting both caucuses to yell at me and tell me why I was needed to more fully convert to their extremist ideas. But, no. No one was recruiting today, or, it seemed, even thinking about politics. Caucus Day is apparently Paperwork Day.

Part of the reason I was going to both caucuses tonight was to see if either party seemed at all attractive. I'm in the middle, which means that I don't like either side, but if I'm going to vote I need to pick someone, right?

Well, my goal was not realized. At the end of the night I picked up a voter registration form (I haven't changed my address since moving from Provo), and I filled it out and handed it in. And, when it asked for my party, I drew a giant checkmark next to 'Unaffiliated'.

But, on the plus side, someone gave me a candy bar.


At 3/24/2010 2:32 AM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

Seriously, the candy bar makes it totally worth it.

At 3/24/2010 8:45 AM, Blogger Allison Hill said...

I think that would have to depend on what kind of candy bar it was.

At 3/24/2010 9:57 AM, Blogger Krista said...

Ugh. Makes me want to go to a caucus. Not. What kind of candy bar was it?

At 3/24/2010 10:29 AM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Our caucus meeting was very interesting. Tons of people, rhetoric being shouted, everyone wanting to be a delegate, it was quite entertaining. You should move here, Rob, there would be tons more fodder for you. ;)

At 3/24/2010 11:32 AM, Blogger Jennie said...

Our caucus was basically boring too and our precinct ran late because the legislative chairman was doubling as precinct chairman. I've attended a lot of caucus meetings and this was the worst. A huge mob of people crowded into the highschool caffeteria, long, long tables for precinct divisions. Moderates were outnumbered by the right wing extremists, leaving the voting stacked in their favor. No one cared about issues or discussion; they just wanted to make certain a certain candidate didn't get elected. I think it's time to drop the caucus thing and go straight to the primary even if we have to have longer ballots. Caucuses don't present a realistic cross section of voters, but appeal mainly to fanatics and the candidates who arrive with their entourage of buddies.

At 3/24/2010 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did the Republican thing. Never been before. It turned out to be a very detailed discussion on politics and policy. All my neighbors on both sides of the street were there. Doctors. Laywers. Teachers. Moms. A few retired people. A lot of thirty somethings in business, construction and a lot of students which was a suprise since we don't live anywhere near a university environment. The closest is U of U which is what? Sixty miles away?

I think there were likely two reasons for the huge turn out. The first presidency letter read in church last Sunday encouraging members to attend AND the currnet political environment that has motivated a lot of every-day NON-weirdos to actually show up, do their civic duty. I think that's good. Maybe the democratic and republican parties will refelct more of what the country desires rather than letting the loons in both parties direct things.

We filled up an entire gym and had to put people into the hallways. They said they'd never had even close to this kind of interest. When we broke up into neighborhood groups (do they call those precints? This was my first time ever going to a caucus.) we filled the classroom, and the hallway outside the classroom. They wanted to move us outside but it was too cold. And too dark.

Everyone wanted to talk about term limits, health care repeal, cap and trade, the economy and stuff like that. It seemed that the majority of questions were about if the nominees would or would not support Bill Bennett. We elected one nominee who was totally FOR Bennett and lives three doors down. He asked us to support him, but I didn't vote for him. Don't tell him. I think Bennett has had his turn and its time to get someone else. And yes, serving too long as a senator is a huge issue. They always tell me that they KNOW how things work is Washington. I don't want someone who knows how things work. I want someone to get out of the process and focus on restoring the country to its founding principles and return federal government to its limited form outlined in the constitution.

We also elected someone who was totally against re-electing Bennett as a senator.

We also elected four county nominess who would make important decisions for Sheriff, and the county board of governors.

I thought it was a really cool evening. I've never been before. I asked some questions. We started some very detailed disucssions.

Where do you live Rob? Panguitch?

At 3/24/2010 11:57 AM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...


This is totally off track, but what can I say, my mind just works that way. Where do you live? I'm trying to picture a location in Utah where the U is the closest University but it is still sixty miles away.

Can't be south of Salt Lake or you'd hit the Y and UVU. Can't be north or you'd hit Weber and Utah State. Sixty miles east is nearly to Wyoming. And sixty miles west is in the middle of the Desert. And neither of the last two locations sound populated enough to fill a HS with doctors and lawyers.

You have me intrigued.

At 3/24/2010 12:12 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Allison and Krista, it was a Snickers. So, decent, but not spectacular.

Anon, I live in Sugarhouse, which is very Democrat. (At the Republican caucus they said that there was somewhere along the lines of 2000+ registered Republicans and 4000+ registered Democrats.) So, that explains the smaller turnout, I guess, but it's still a relatively affluent district; where were the fat cat Republican businessmen and lawyers? Instead, all we got were the awkward weirdos still wearing 1980s fashions.

At 3/24/2010 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I did the google map thing. From my front door to the University of Utah, which is the closest institution of higher learning if you don't count U of Phoenix or home office, I am 47.1 miles from campus.

Lots of surface streets I guess. Heck, I have to drive from my house, through farworld, around waterkeep for which I have no driving permit, and then take I-15 to the nearest Kai exit. Its a long drive, but you're right, its not 60 miles. Didn't I write that it was something like 60 miles? And 47.1 certainly falls within the "something like" perimeter of 60 miles, doesn't it?

So hammer me for the 60 miles comment. That's okay. I'm a big girl. Attack my veracity and ignore the substantive stuff. I still think you're a wonderful author. And a hardworking son of a gun. Keep up the great work! And be sure to send me your address so I can be stay outside the 60 mile permieter of your presence at all times.


I've never thought of people wearing 1980's fashions as weirdos. Just another brother or sister out of work and doing the DI thing. Which may be a fashion statement about making ends meet. You know, that personal responsibility thing we all talk about, but would never be caught dead wearing as clothing.

At 3/24/2010 2:15 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...


It wasn't the 1980's fashions that defined them as weirdos. They were weirdos who also happened to wear 1980s fashions.

I'm well acquainted with poverty, with shopping at the DI, and with not being able to afford nice clothes. These people would be weirdos even if they had been dressed in Armani suits.

At 3/24/2010 3:05 PM, Anonymous Jordan said...

We had a large number of young people at ours (percentage-wise), which was interesting. Last year, my husband said there were like 5 people there; this year we had like 20.

And I wrestled with two children the whole time so I could vote for my husband as a delegate, but he changed his mind (that's okay; he did the delegate thing last year and I'm all for fewer meetings!).

I deserve a candy bar and a medal. I was ready to volunteer as an election enforcer if I got a badge (close enough to a medal, right?), but no go.

At 3/24/2010 3:45 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

I say the candy bar makes the whole night. ;)

At 3/24/2010 4:00 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...


You totally misread me. I'm not doubting you. I'm just interested in where you live. Sorry, that's the way my mind works. Silly over substance everytime. When I sat in US history class, I couldn't care less about what date what battle was fought on. But I spent hours pondering what I would do if I was fighting a war in snow with no shoes. How do you fight a battle without losing your toes.

I will confess that reading Rob's blog and your comments, I'm far less interested in cap and trade, and term limits than I am in the conspiracy theorist and whether he might try to kill everyone at the meeting.

So when I ask where you live, it's not to throw off your credibility. It's because I honestly want to know where you live.

At 3/25/2010 1:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your mind works like the crow flies. Traffic patterns are another thing. And in Utah you usually drive around mountains, not through them.

At 3/25/2010 10:55 AM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Pretty sure after visiting over 300 schools that I know more about utah traffic than just about anyone. But no worries.

At 3/25/2010 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I told everyone that I was having an online traffic discussion with the famous Jeff Savage of Landkeep Fame. Amazing.

At 3/25/2010 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

....So if you wouldn't remidn responding to this one more time I can keep the illusion alive that we are actually communicating.

At 3/25/2010 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...And another thing. Did you notice that your picture appears to have a white earing on your left ear. Its a reflection of light, but it look like an earing. Do you pierce or clip? Just wondering.

At 3/25/2010 2:54 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

How do you know it's a relction of light? Maybe it's a daimond stud purchased with the massive wealth of such a "famous" author?

At 3/26/2010 2:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah. I could see it. Espeically with that pose. Left shoulder forward, looking directly into the camera, diamond stud on the earlobe. Yup. That's what it is. A diamond stud. But I doubt the massive wealth part. Maybe cut glass?

At 3/26/2010 6:52 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

You have caucuses? You can spell caucus? And you GO?! Robison Wells, you are amazing.

I can only assume Arizona has the things as well. (Goodness knows we have way more than our share of conspiracy theorists...I think they were dropped off by the Phoenix Lights a decade ago.) Being a registered Independent myself, I tend to think they (caucuses AND weirdos) don't apply to me. Thanks for the enlightenment.

I just have to add that I live about 15 miles from Yavapai College. Woohoo! I just Map Quested it (if that's a verb) to avoid dispute and discovered that I actually live 14.65 miles from the junior college. Am I good, or what? :)

At 3/26/2010 1:08 PM, Blogger Heather Justesen said...

Our Democratic caucus was much smaller than the Republican one, and devoid of any conspiracy theorists. Oh, and I understand we got out an hour and half earlier, even though they started at the same time... If I were going to choose a party affiliation, that sounds like a great reason all by itself, doesn't it?


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