For years, I was the guy who walked into the voter’s booth, looked for the Republicans and pulled the lever. Of course, I only voted in national and state elections.
I never voted in any local election prior to becoming the county finance director in May 2011. Why not? It’s because local politics held little interest for me. I do remember watching the broadcast of the Lebanon City Council meetings on television for entertainment purposes from time to time. I still remember some great one-liners from some of those meetings. However, my interest was in the national issues, and on those I am conservative. When those issues bleed down to the state level, I have been an active voter for the Republican cause.
At some point, many people realize that little changes, regardless of which party is in power. Washington is designed for gridlock. The Founding Fathers of this country designed it that way. No one gets all the power. No one gets to be the king.
And the issues are complex as much as we like to simplify them. Social Security and Medicare are both going bankrupt. When’s the last time either party proposed a solution to that one. What is the best way to get an out-of-control escalation in health care costs under control? To quote Donald Trump, “Who knew health insurance was such a complicated issue?”
There’s the matter of the national debt that everyone likes to ignore as long as his or her legislation is passed. See the Affordable Care Act, which is imploding by any definition with or without Republican action, and the current tax bill, which cuts taxes while raising the deficit. But, both parties claim to have all of the answers to all of our problems if we will just elect and follow them. And at the national level, because I understand all of things that are at stake, it makes sense to split into parties and fight for power.
But, do we really need to do that at the local level. The Republican Party – my party – has decided that the citizens of this county are not doing a good enough job of thinking for themselves. So, they want to do the thinking for us by calling a caucus and hand selecting the candidates who will do their bidding. If you seek the endorsement of the Republican caucus and win, you get to put an “R” by your name which would be a competitive advantage for that candidate because many people, like I did, vote along party lines.
If you attempt to win the Republican caucus and aren’t selected by the caucus, you cannot run in the upcoming election at all. So, unlike a primary, a handful of power brokers will decide who gets the nomination.
Is it legal? Yes. But it isn’t representative of the people, is it? You don’t get to choose. But don’t worry. The Republican caucus will do all of your thinking for you. Never mind you know the people who are representing you now personally. They are your friends and neighbors, and they are accessible to talk with you about any issue you have. Many of these people won’t seek the “R” because they aren’t going to take a chance on not getting the blessing of the caucus and the inability to run for office.