We can’t do this, however, because this would imply our endorsement of his position, especially this close to the Nov. 2 elections.
But he did touch on a topic I wanted to address, so I’ll weave in some of his thoughts with mine.
He warns that Republicans shouldn’t trivialize the impact of the Tea Party, which he defines as “a loose federation of organizations that have also often been underestimated.”
I agree we should not trivialize the Tea Party. In fact, I am quite alarmed at the Tea Party’s impact.
I saw it coming a few years ago when I attended a local Republican precinct meeting.
I first noticed that those attending did not seem typical of the people I ran into in Davis County every day. As I chatted with them, I realized that many seemed a notch or two more conservative than the general population.
It was a credit to our group that we actually asked those seeking to become delegates to the county GOP convention to make brief statements as to what they stood for — resisting the temptation to just vote in anyone and go home.
When the final vote was tallied, it became clear that the person selected was probably the most conservative one in the room.
If other precincts did the same, what we had that year — and probably in succeeding years — was a party convention filled with people who were the most conservative from an already highly conservative group.
As much as people might not want to hear this, these individuals did not represent the average Republican in Davis County.
While those who participated in the process will rightfully say the system worked as it should, they ignore one key factor: mainstream apathy. Essentially, the average registered voter was a no-show.
When we have the more extreme in each precinct select their most extreme to vote in the county convention, these delegates will tend to pick even more extreme candidates.
As I’ve noted, his isn’t a fault of the process; it’s a fault of our own apathy. Those who represent the majority haven’t been actively involved and are therefore neither heard nor represented. We have only ourselves to blame.
This is going on nationally in both parties, often resulting in the most extreme Republicans pitted against the most extreme Democrats. We get a clear choice, but not always one that reflects the electorate.
As I’ve mentioned in an earlier column, Utahns would have re-elected Sen. Bob Bennett, but the Republicans wouldn’t give voters the choice they wanted.
Nielson’s statement, meanwhile, essentially notes that he has received neither endorsements nor funding from Tea Party groups, but predicts they will be a formidable force this year, and probably for some time to come.
“As I understand it,” Nielson says, “ the principal tenet of these patriots is that governments at all levels are overgrown and must develop the discipline to live within their means. They also aver that the distribution of political power between citizens, and community, state, and federal governments (and between the branches of those governments) must be realigned to match the initial intent of our founding documents.”
I personally agree with most of these concepts. The only things I have a quarrel with are that (1) government may not be as broken as Tea Party faithful would have us believe and (2) the “my way or the highway” brand of conservatism they appear to preach.
That’s why we are seeing defections toward Democratic candidates by some Republican legislators and public officials in Davis County.
Yes, the Tea Party has some commendable ideals. And it has become a powerful force — but only because mainstream Republicans remain apathetic.
If we don’t like what’s happening, we have only the person in the mirror to blame. It’s time to take back both parties so that the majority of Republicans and Democrats can be heard.
If the Tea Party represented the mainstream Davis County voter, I would have fewer reservations — but I don’t believe it does.
And that should give all of us cause for concern.