By Roger F. Gay
If you've been paying attention at all, you're at least aware that there have been widespread problems in Republican primary caucuses. Party representatives who open the meetings have refused to follow established rules, appointed leaders that according to the established rules must be chosen by caucus participants, refused to follow Robert's Rules of Order as specified in rules, ignored motions, … longer list to get it all … and ultimately misrepresented the votes cast for nominees and delegates to represent them.
Cumulative complaints have led to a clear picture about what's going on now. The people currently overseeing the process are trying to assure that caucus participants are irrelevant to the process. The attendees in local caucuses are there to decide what delegates will attend state caucuses and which candidates will be favored by their participation. It's supposed to be a ground up operation, reflecting the cumulative choices made by caucus attendees at the local level.
The current Republican Party organization however, has turned things around. They've chosen meeting leaders and a slate of delegate nominees ahead of the caucuses and are jamming them down the throats of participants. The process is sometimes accompanied by slimy, seemingly stupid tricks; like presenting fake rules that block democratic election of caucus leaders and presenting misspelled names of other potential delegates in random order on difficult to read projections while flipping back and forth between the names and pictures; simply not allowing people to get the information needed to express support for anyone but the establishment slate. Participants who've objected and have attempted to play by the rules have their microphones shut off and some have even been arrested.
There is a false presumption that this behavior is not subject to any kind of litigation or criminal charge. The Republican Party is not a government body. It is a private organization. They can be as democratic or undemocratic as they wish. They do not however, have any fundamental or other right to commit fraud. The costs resulting from rigged primaries, which are represented as part of a democratic process for electing public office holders, are enormous, not only to individual participants but also general election voters who cannot vote for someone who was dealt out in the primaries through fraud and to the nation as a whole and all its people who are ultimately cheated out of their right to select people for public office. Keep in mind that the context is a “two party system” that the Republican and Democratic parties and their operatives in the “news business” have conspired to maintain. The effort that goes into effectively limiting choice is enormous.
When we look at people in office today, whether it's a Congressman or the president, we don't really know whether they were elected or put in place by a corrupt machine. When we look at the level of corruption produced by Congress and the White House, it seems the latter is more likely. How can we imagine that so much corruption in office comes from people who played by the rules to get there? And we can see this in the context of a general conspiracy to deny Americans their right to democratic elections. The two most successful parties have no right to accomplish those ends, nor are they exempt from litigation or criminal charges in relation to their activities.