We're not in the habit of offering strategy for political parties. Nevertheless, we do marvel at the failure of Utah Democrats to take advantage when an issue is handed to them by the state Republicans. The latest example was the recent Democratic Party state convention, in which Democratic Party delegates rejected a proposal to end its caucus system in favor of a primary system.
Guess what folks? On an issue that promotes inclusiveness, diversity and greater participation by the voters, the Utah Democratic Party stands with the Republicans in preserving the caucus system, which keeps power in the hands of a well-connected few.
The caucus system is a dud. It ends up allowing the ideological fringes -- whether Tea Party or labor activists -- to dictate how the party operates. Candidates who hope to be nominated or make it to a two-candidate primary are forced to bow down to the fringes, the most intolerant to compromise, to get nominated. This rigid procedure alienates most Utahns and affects voter turnout.
OK, so we reaffirm what we did after state Republicans rejected reforms to its caucus system -- that the caucuses need to be replaced with more inclusive primaries, in which voters have a greater role in selecting candidates. However, the Democrats' refusal to shuck the caucus system is perhaps even worse, because it deprives the party of a reform agenda that Republicans handed to them on a plate. Party leaders, such as Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, have advocated for a change to primaries. The party chair, legislator Jim Dabakis, fills the air with rhetoric about the Republicans' "good-ol'-boy" system.
Yet, nevertheless, state Democrats decided to retain a system that protects its own "good-ol'-boys." And that's a shame. It both preserves an outdated, non-inclusive political process in Utah, and casts the Democrats as a party unwilling to embrace an issue that appeals to most Utahns.