A few years ago, there was a push in Utah to move from caucus-oriented politics to primary-oriented politics.
I can’t speak for everyone, but the people and arguments behind this grass roots (or more likely, astroturf) push seemed awfully doe-eyed and innocent.
Unlike most Americans, I’ve lived in both primary-oriented and caucus-oriented states. The government is better, and politicians are less aloof in the latter.
The petitions were signed though, and it went up to Salt Lake, where the legislators … hmmm … I think the technical term is “shit-canned it”.
However, they did make some moves to adopt the worst of both systems as some sort of improvement.
Flash forward to yesterday afternoon …
- I am in my driveway unloading groceries.
- There is a black and white police squad car parked about 2 houses away (very unusual for my neighborhood).
- After a few minutes I am approached by its driver: an off-duty police officer (I do think they are allowed to take their cars home for private use and visibility in my city).
- The off-duty police officer calls me by name.
- The off-duty policy officer asks me to sign a petition.
- The petition is put forth by an incumbent politician. If he can get enough signatures, he is deemed popular enough to waive the caucuses, and face a primary instead. (Of course, incumbents love primaries, because not many people vote in them).
- I refused, even though I like this politician. The off-duty police officer politely said his thanks, and left.
I have no doubts that the off-duty police officers actions were legal: he was on his own time using a company car. I am a registered voter and party member, so I am sure my name and address are publicly available for canvassing.
I do have doubts as to whether the use of police officers was entirely random. It seems to me that they constitute a group that is particularly easy for politicians to reach out to for free labor.
I brought this up with the soon to be 17 vXboy today. He saw right through it: what could possibly go wrong with a system where legislators use police to obviate democratic processes?