At some age, mere survival usually brings a certain enlightenment. You come to know when something emanates from the south end of a northbound bull. You know the difference between what works and what looks good. You’ve learned the fine line between art and crap. You know to judge ideas by their predictive value, not by how seductive they seem. At a certain age, you know, or should know these things.
Next Tuesday, February 5th, Coloradoans are supposed to bring this sort of experience to their political caucuses to make decisions about representatives and issues. If history is any guide, many people and ideas will be elected that evening, that won’t work, smell bad, and can’t predict their way out of a paper bag. Solutions and candidates will float to the surface of our political punch bowls. The least common denominators will again carry the day.
Individuals who can be brilliant, will, in caucus as a group, produce pure drivel. We don’t yet know the specific form of the drivel, or what Machiavellian deals will be revealed Tuesday evening to produce it, but sure as the sun will rise the following Wednesday morning, the Founding Fathers of our Republic will again spin in their graves over this biennial farce.
The Colorado caucus system is irreparably broken. It empowers a political class of party hacks indistinguishable in effect from their totalitarian counterparts on the other side of the planet. Mike Rosen says that politics is about winning elections, not about the best ideology. True to the requirements of the job, caucus attendees neither represent us, nor do they represent an ideology. They represent themselves.
Oh, later in the political season, assembly delegates will delude themselves about how they constitute representative government, but not a one of them will have won an election to become a caucus attendee. If 20 people show up caucus night and elect 18 of themselves to become delegates at county and state assemblies, they don’t become representatives of the voting public. You can’t launder free agents through an election among themselves and turn them into representatives.
Well you can, and that’s exactly what the caucus system does, however, nothing done throughout the caucus and assembly process can replace what was never there – the consent of the governed. And last I looked, government without consent is totalitarianism.