Wright defends caucus system at UWF meeting


By Becky GINOS bginos@davisclipper.com BOUNTIFUL—There has been a great deal of controversy and even infighting in the Republican Party over retaining the caucus system as opposed to signature gathering, or Count My Vote. Former vice chairman of the Utah Republican Party Phill Wright was passionate about the issue as he spoke to the United Woman’s Forum last week. “Freedom is always worth fighting for,” he said. “When I look at how the Constitution of our country came to be, less than one third of the population wanted to stand up against England. It took two and a half months in a hot, sweaty room. They fought, argued and screamed to create the Constitution but these men came together. That was an absolute miracle.” If you ask people today they will say we live in a democracy, he said. “But you won’t find that word anywhere because we’re a republic. A republic protects the rights of the individual. Democracy is like a wolf and a sheep having dinner. Who’s for dinner? It becomes mob rule. The Utah Republican Party has organized itself like a republic. We elect representatives (delegates). We’re not an arm of the government we’re a private organization.” Wright said the advantage of the caucus system is that it levels the playing field. “It gives everyone an opportunity,” he said. “It allows the party to vet its candidates and protects the integrity of our organization. We’re not against a primary, we’re against someone going around the party. We’re not looking for candidates who want to be a republican, we’re looking for republicans who want to be candidates.” Those who fight against the caucus system are those whose beliefs are not in line with our platform, he said. “They’re buying their way onto the ballot through signature gathering companies.” He said Utah is the best-managed state with a high graduation rate. “Why don’t other states have the same accolades as we do?” said Wright. “Overall, we’ve vetted the people we put into office. California is dying to have what we’re about to lose. That makes me sick. We don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone.” Wright said those who don’t want the caucus system are either ignorant (don’t understand it) or are willfully deceiving the public. “SB54 is worse than Count My Vote,” he said. “The worst thing it did was open up our primaries. It allows an alternate path to go around delegates. The average voter spends three hours to vet a candidate. Are the masses more prepared or the delegates? Everybody in this room could be a delegate.” The caucus system applies to everyone no matter the party, according to Wright. “When you allow people to go to the masses to vote, that’s pure democracy – that’s what’s dangerous.” Wright said fringe candidates are counting on the general public not to do research or corroborate information on them. “Count My Vote is a deceptive campaign,” he said. “The reality is you lose that right. It turns us from a republic into pure democracy. Why on earth would we want this to happen in Utah?” Utah has the oldest continuous caucus system in the nation, he said. “That’s why we’ve got to fight. SB54 has taken your voice away. We won the first lawsuit and I believe we will win in the 10th Circuit because what we’re doing is right,” said Wright. “We have our liberty because hundreds of thousands of women and men have given their lives for it.” Wright said he will not give up. “People ask how long I will fight this battle,” he said. “I’ll never stop fighting for freedom. The caucus system represents liberty, freedom and fairness. As for me and my family we will continue to fight for freedom.”

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