Mr. Buchanan’s report is a must-read for anyone interested in Elbert County politics. That said, his recommendations to the BOCC for curing the political divides in Elbert County won’t solve anything, and amount to little more than personal coping mechanisms for the individual commissioners.
Mr. Buchanan alludes to the root problem of Elbert County politics with critical remarks directed to the Republican Party, to the Democrat Party, and to undefined opposition forces dedicated to undermining whoever is in power in Elbert County. While the criticisms ring true, they also ring hollow.
“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” More specifically, what we’ve got here is the product of a one-party electoral operation run under Republican Party rules, as an umbrella for candidates of every political persuasion, that effectively hides the true political character of candidates from the voters through the caucus and primary processes. By the time candidates come before the voters, their party registration is all the same, their speeches all sound in the same talking points, and their true natures have been effectively buried - at least until the time they later emerge while in office.
Get ready, because in 2014 we’re going to do it again, and no systemic cures to this dysfunctional caucus process are currently contemplated by the people who always run it.
Elbert County is not a uniform community who share one set of political values. Yet, our one-party caucus system used by all candidates from left to right, presents candidates to voters as if one set of political values were in favor. In the last BOCC election, Republican Party leadership allowed the Republican caucus system to be used by historically pledged Democrat and Independent candidates in order to get elected.
Democrats applauded and supported the Republican Party in their primary choices, even switched parties in some cases to directly abet the process, and lauded the ersatz Republican candidates in print media and on-line publications.
You can’t blame voters at large for the election results. They were deceived. Oh there were one or two voices who attempted to uncloak the caucus-produced candidates and warn that they spelled trouble down the road, though they were generally shouted down or ignored.
It’s a mess all right, but I don’t think Mr. Buchanan’s “Rodney King,” “can’t we all just get along” admonitions will do much to fix it.
The real fix is to put candidates in their proper parties according to their true natures, to let those parties and candidates all come before the voters in separate primaries to sort out their qualifications within each of their native parties, and then to run opposed candidates in the general election under their true and separate parties. And let the voters decide which candidates might best uphold their preferred policies.
The caucus system is irretrievably broken. The power brokers who operate it have used up whatever consideration they may have earned with their volunteer service, by artificially limiting voter choices to an unqualified set of potential leaders. And this wasn’t an anomaly - see Dan Maes.
Bring back two-party, or multi-party, politics to Elbert County. Enough of this one party charade. Voters should be electing candidates whom they can reasonably expect to act in the character of the party they represent.
Only then will we get elected officials who truly represent their voting constituencies, as they should.