Informed Citizens Prefer Caucus System

As you know the current Oklahoma Republican Party system of selecting a presidential candidate resulted in the selection of a candidate that the majority of Oklahomans had a very hard time supporting. Prior to 1988, the Oklahoma Republican Party used a caucus system to select a presidential candidate.

That system resulted in choosing Ronald Reagan in 1976, 1980 and 1984. Virtually all of us would agree that was a much better selection than what was made in 2008. By taking action now, we can have a system in place by 2012 that has the capability to make a much better choice.

As a result, we are kicking off a state-wide effort to convert the Oklahoma Republican Party back to a caucus system instead of the current presidential preference primary system used for selecting a presidential candidate. This fits in well with the bill that State Representative Charles Key has submitted in the Oklahoma House that requires the political parties to pay their own election expenses.

Some of the more significant reasons for this change are listed below. Three versions of the Precinct Meeting Motion are also listed below. Please select one of them and present it for discussion at your precinct meeting to ensure that the motion will be passed on to your County Convention.

At the County Conventions we will have a Resolution to present to the County Convention  that details the change back to a caucus system. Once this resolution is approved by the County Conventions, it will then be considered at the State Convention. Once approved at the State Convention, the change to a caucus system for choosing a Presidential candidate would occur for the 2012 election.

Reasons for changing to a caucus system:

1. Informed voters attend the caucus meeting and are energized and engaged in the presidential selection process.
2. National media is no longer the driving force for a candidate to get votes in a primary.
3. Caucus system encourages grassroots activists to get involved in campaigns and helps recruit volunteers and donors.
4.   State and local party organizations can raise money through the caucus system:
Candidates appears at an event, party raises money through tickets, etc.
State party can charge a fee for the candidates to be on caucus ballot.
5.   Caucus system increases participation in local and state party; helps to organize precincts and train volunteers for local, county and statewide campaigns.
6. Presidential candidates would come to the state for events and to personally meet Oklahoma Republicans in order to gain our vote at the caucus.
7.   Number of donors and donations increase to the state and local party.
8.   Money is no longer siphoned from our state to go toward candidate expenditures in other caucus states by the campaigns.   It stays in our state to benefit our party.
9.   Volunteers are no longer taken from our state to work in other caucus states.
10. Presidential candidates would send volunteers, campaign staff, and money into the state.
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Here are three versions of the Precinct/County Meeting Motion (adapt them and make them your own and present one at your precinct meeting):

To increase involvement in the Oklahoma Republican Party and to re-energize our base, I make a motion that Oklahoma Republicans return to the precinct caucus system to select National Convention Delegates which was used prior to 1988 and chose Ronald Reagan in 1976, 1980 and 1984.    Furthermore, I move that this resolution be approved by the ________PCT _______________ County as a change to the Rules of the Oklahoma Republican Party.

Prior to 1988, the Oklahoma Republican Party used a precinct caucus system to select Delegates to the National Convention.   In 1976, 1980 and 1984, Ronald Reagan was Oklahoma Republicans choice for President.   Therefore, I make a motion that Oklahoma Republicans return to this precinct caucus system to select National Convention Delegates.    Furthermore, I move that this resolution be approved by the _________PCT __________________ County as a change to the Rules of the Oklahoma Republican Party.

In 1976, 1980 and 1984, Ronald Reagan was Oklahoma Republicans choice for President as a result of the precinct caucus system to select Delegates to the National Convention.    In order to re-energize the base of our party and to get more people involved in their local precinct, I make a motion that Oklahoma Republicans return to this precinct caucus system to select National Convention Delegates.    Furthermore, I move that this resolution be approved by the _______PCT _______________ County as a change to the Rules of the Oklahoma Republican Party.

For more information see the box link and download the piece by Richard Engle on the Case for Caucuses.

Information about the Caucus System above was provided by Thomas Kiene with input from Richard Engle and Cheryl Williams and many others too numerous to mention but all very much appreciated! We welcome your comments below.

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4 thoughts on “Informed Citizens Prefer Caucus System

  1. For one thing, there was no Ronald Reagan candidate in 2008, so even if Oklahoma had a caucus system, we wouldn’t have ended up with Ronal Reagan 2.0.

    Just a few points:

    2. National media would still play a key role in the election process. A caucus system does not necessarily mean a more informed electorate.
    6. Presidential candidates would still not come to the state for events. Until Oklahoma makes huge gains in population, we will not play a significant role in the selection of the Republican nominee.
    7. How does a caucus system grow the contributors to the state and local party? The same activists now would be contributing. I see no evidence that a caucus equals more donors/donations.
    8. See no. 6. They wouldn’t spend money here any more than they do now.
    9. See no. 6. Volunteers would still go to more important, crucial states.
    10. See no. 6. A caucus would not ensure any more campaign targeting of Oklahoma than the current system.

  2. MuskogeePolitico,

    I have a real aversion to debating anonymous posts, so posted here for all to see this one, but letting you know that in order to post again, you will need to give a name and county so that we can check to see if you are a registered republican. This is a GOP matter and for the good of the Republican party and the growth of same.

    Sandra Crosnoe
    Republican Pct Chair 28
    Washington County

  3. I would like to see the points brought up by “Muskogee Politico” addressed. They are some of the very questions I have about the caucus system. Will it be worth the extra paperwork and man hours required to make it work? Did any other conservative caucus states choose a less-than-conservative Republican nominee for the ’08 election?

  4. I’ll try to take this one on…

    2. While a caucus system cannot guarantee a more informed electorate, it greatly encourages one. The level of commitment it takes to mark a ballot on your way home from work is so low that many people do it who have not spent more than a couple of minutes thinking about which candidate they really want, but vote anyway because they feel it is their “duty”. As a result, they tend to make decisions based almost entirely on what little they’ve seen in the media. Those who are willing to either fill out an absentee ballot, or to attend a meeting are far more likely to have spent time actually thinking and investigating their candidate.

    6. Candidates visiting states is not merely a function of population. Consider Iowa (which has a caucus) or some of the other smaller states which receive visits from candidates.

    7. This can occur in two main ways: A) Some of those who marked ballots in the primary but never attended a meeting will want to continue to be involved in the nomination process and will therefore begin attending precinct meetings to be involved in the nomination process. This brings them into more involvement into the Party. After going to a meeting, talking with their Republican neighbors, etc, they’ll be far more likely to come to other meetings. After all, they’ll be on a list that will now get called or e-mailed with invitations to Party functions. This increases the volunteer base as well as the donor base.

    B) The State currently assesses filing fees to candidates participating in the Primary. With a caucus, the Party will receive the filing fee instead, and it can be whatever amount the State Party decides. In addition, since the delegate binding will be through convention, candidates will want to campaign to convention-goers, meaning they’ll purchase delegate mailing lists and other candidate services from the State Party. There are many such fundraising avenues that emerge with a caucus system.

    10. It may not guarantee more campaign targeting, but the current system virtually guarantees that we will not be targeted. By being one of the smaller states to participate in the one-day event known as Super Tuesday, we virtually guarantee that both media and candidates will go elsewhere.

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