A Resolution Supporting Election Reform in the Republican Primary System

A Resolution Supporting Election Reform in the Republican Primary System

WHEREAS, during the past few years, it has become all too clear that the grassroots have been discriminated against in the current Republican nominating process in Georgia; and

WHEREAS, the power of Big Money and Big Media has made it increasingly difficult for the people’s voice to be heard; and

WHEREAS, it is only fitting and proper that the Republican Party pay its own way and not ask the hard pressed taxpayers of Georgia to pay for private political party primaries; and

WHEREAS, the system of nomination byconvention commonly known as the“Virginia Plan” is a far more accountable and accessible system than the current system;and

WHEREAS, the Virginia Plan will greatly increase the influence of the grassroots; grow the Republican Party’s base of volunteers, members, and participants; and

WHEREAS, the Virginia Plan will create a shorter election season; a less expensive primary process; and a far more inviting process to citizens seeking to serve in public service; and

WHEREAS, our party risks permanent minority status unless we return to our core values and become a truly representative party.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the 2013 Georgia Republican Party Convention calls upon the State Committee to begin the process of researching and preparing reforms to the nomination process to be recommended to Georgia General Assembly by 2014.


  1. drjay says:

    you people have seen the crazy train ticket the gop just nominated in va, right?

    if you are interested in closed primaries, that might be a discussion worth having, but this is not an idea whose time has come in any sense…

    • S. Arrington says:

      Why do you call the new GOP ticket in Virginia “crazy?” Would you care to explain your views rather than using generalities? Would Patrick Henry have passed muster with you?

      • drjay says:

        why certainly, rev ew jackson is an albatross around the neck of va gop. you cannot go around comparing planned parenthood to the kkk or lamenting black folks “slavish” devotion to the dem party (even if you are a person of color yourself) and look i’m fairly conservative, although probably less so socially as i get older, but i do not think the democrats are “evil” because they have different views than i do and i certainly don’t think they have an agenda worthy of the “antichrist” as jackson actually said in an op-ed piece once.. of course he also called it “sexually twisted” to have gays serve in the military and frankly has little experience that i can identify that lead me to believe he has the capacity to serve as the lt guv of a large state…

        and obenshain actually wrote a bill that would criminalize miscarriages –i can personally say as someone whose family has experienced the pain of such a thing that it’s no more the business of law enforcement than how it was we came to be pregnant in the first place…

        and if patrick henry were ever att gen of va i doubt he would claim the office is exempt from the freedom of information act or concern himself too much with the “decency” of the state seal designed by george wythe, or make his own lapel pins with an altered seal on them…

    • Doug Deal says:

      Party activists picking crazy train nominees??!!?? When did THAT start happening?

      I agree with you, drjay. I think the primary system is a way to properly vet candidates for the general. Eliminating that step means having lousy candidates.

      It is tiresome to hear all this whining about so and so being grass roots and so and so being an insider. You know what, if you are at the state convention, you are an insider. I have seen someone who was on the state committee, an officer in their district, an officer in their county, and on an important convention committee drone on about being an outsider. It is ridiculous.

      Also, the only definition of grassroots that fits the way it is used is that grassroots are the people that agree with the person talking and insiders are the people that do not.

      Deal’s supporters were as grassroots as Handle’s who were as grassroots as Johnson’s. You do not get as grassroots as a primary voter. The insiders are the ones going to conventions, running county parties, calling “point of order” and trying to take away the right of normal citizens from selecting the nominees of the parties.

      A closed primary is fine, but a caucus is a very bad idea. (Really, I would prefer a free-for -all election where everyone votes on all the candidates and the top two make the general. This solves the problem of cross over voting because if you cross over you hurt your own party’s nominee. )

  2. Larry says:

    As an independent voter I applaud anything you can do to keep my tax dollars from subsidizing your political party but how about a resolution to push for easier access to the ballot?

    • drjay says:

      i get your “subsidizing” comment in theory, but in practice a lot of times the primary is the de facto election, this would end that reality and not in a good way…

  3. ricstewart says:

    At the next convention, can they please pass a resolution that defines exactly what they mean by “grassroots”?
    If you’re going to throw that term around willy-nilly, please let us know who’s grassroots and who’s not.

    • John Vestal says:

      The lead-up to the general election in Va was already going to be entertaining…..adding Jackson on the GOP ticket immediately drove popcorn futures thru the roof.

      • Three Jack says:

        Yea, not exactly a ticket that says ‘we want more women to vote GOP’. Attorney Gen candidate introduced legislation that would have forced all women who have a miscarriage to immediately report it to the police or face jail time. The only hope for the GOP in VA is Terry McAuliffe being the dem candidate.

  4. Grandson of Flubber says:

    If I understand correctly, there would be no primary, and the nominee for a given office being whom ever the politically connected appoint at a convention? This is how you lose grassroot conservatives.

    • Three Jack says:

      An even better resolution would be to end restrictive ballot access practices while keeping voter registration as it is with no party affiliation required.

      • Doug Grammer says:

        Three Jack,

        How would that help the GOP? If it doesn’t help the GOP, then why would we be in favor of that?

        • Three Jack says:


          The ‘stupid party’ does many things to hurt itself including consideration of resolutions like the one that started this thread. Easing ballot access would be an overall positive step. Besides, if the GOP is so great, why are you worried about other parties participating in elections? Are you against competition?

          • Doug Grammer says:

            All I am asking is if you idea doesn’t help the GOP, why would we be in support of it? Calling us the stupid party doesn’t help you case if it doesn’t answer the question before you.

            As you can see, I am solidly against this resolution. That doesn’t mean it can’t be discussed. If people want to be involved and discuss new ideas, I’m fine with that. That still means I can shoot the idea down if I don’t see the value in it.

            • Three Jack says:

              I didn’t call the GOP stupid, Republican Governor Bobby Jindal did…I just happen to agree with him.

              If ever there is to be open ballot access, one of the 2 major parties will have to lead on it. Seems to me it would help the GOP to be that leader. Will it hurt the party if somehow they actually accomplish open ballot access? Only if elected officials continue to ignore critical issues as has been the case for the past few years. If they get on with doing what was promised, there would be no call for open ballot access in the first place.

              • Doug Grammer says:

                Joan called Mary ugly. When you say Mary is ugly, saying Joan said it first isn’t a valid defense. I know what Gov. Jindal said and under the context in which he said it. If you want to call our party stupid, that’s fine, just don’t say it’s because Bobby Jindal made you do it.

                You have yet to state what the advantage for the GOP would be to allow or advocate an open election. Asking if it would hurt isn’t the same thing as giving a reason to do so. Would it hurt the GOP for the Sears tower to be painted white? I guess not, but that’s not a reason for us to pass a resolution in favor of the painting or add it to a platform. Care to try again?

                • Three Jack says:

                  Doug, read my statement again, “I agree with him”. Same as saying I think your party does a lot of stupid things…prove me wrong.

                  “Seems to me it would help the GOP to be that leader”…again you get all riled up and misread posts.

                  I appreciate your loyalty, but often it blinds you to reality.

                  • Doug Grammer says:

                    As far as proving you wrong, in Georgia, let’s just count the number of statewide office holders and see who are members of what party. Nationally, we still have work to do, but we still control the house.

                    Let me ask more simply, how would it help the GOP to be that leader? It seems to be a move that would have more negative results than positive ones for the GOP. Prove me wrong.

                    • Three Jack says:

                      Ok Doug, how about because many in the GOP want to do what is right as opposed to some BS theory about hurting the party. For example, Rep. Buzz Brockway posted here last year – “I support greater ballot access and you’ll see me working on that in the future.” –http://www.peachpundit.com/2012/03/01/well-ballot-access-reform-is-dead-for-the-session/

                      Unfortunately we have a representative who gets his feelings hurt so he prevented the initiative from going forward in 2012, thanks Mark Hamilton.

                      So the GOP has already attempted to clean up the BS ballot access system and but for 1 wussy legislator, it would have gone to the floor for debate. Seems your party does occasionally attempt to do something not stupid, but all too often ends up doing the stupid thing because something as Ron White says, ‘you just can’t fix stupid’….see Mark Hamilton.

                    • Doug Grammer says:

                      Three Jack,

                      For all of your complaining, you STILL haven’t said why it is in the best interest of the Georgia GOP to be in favor of more open ballot access.

                      You seem to miss the point, so I will repeat: you STILL haven’t said why it is in the best interest of the Georgia GOP to be in favor of more open ballot access.

                      You can talk about an individual legislator here and there, but you can’t show the general public why the Georgia GOP, as an organization, should be portrayed as stupid. Feel free to call us stupid all you like, but you STILL haven’t said why it is in the best interest of the Georgia GOP, as whole, to be in favor of more open ballot access.

                      Let me rephrase, because in all of this, I think you don’t understand. You STILL haven’t said why it is in the best interest of the Georgia GOP to be in favor of more open ballot access.

                      If you can’t explain why we should be in favor of it and how it would help us, I think we would be stupid to push for it.

                    • seenbetrdayz says:

                      I think it has something to do with giving the unhappy insurrectionists within the GOP a way to enact political change, other than having them show up to convention and creating a ruckus. Believe me if it were remotely possible to have a voice heard without going through the GOP or Dem. party, you guys wouldn’t be seeing a lot of these silly resolutions rocking the foundations of your party.

                    • Rick Day says:

                      Doug this is a very easy answer but one that voters of your mindset can never accept: Because it is the right thing to do.

                      Now sit down because I don’t want to swoon, but, you know…SOMETIMES…people do things because it will right a major wrong, and not because “what is in it for me”?

                      Your very blindness to this very human approach is the very reason why we need such solutions. We have been stuck, since 1980, in a system of ‘what’s in it for me?” Many feel this IS the problem and it requires solution.

                      You ask, :”what’s in it for us?” instead of “what’s right for the country?” And this, my good friend, is why you and yours are as doomed as the Whigs.

                      It’s sad, actually, how many have lost touch with the big picture.

                    • analogkid says:

                      ^^^What Rick Day said, plus one other thought:

                      If you’re a good Republican, you support free markets. And if you’re an intellectually honest one, that should extend to the market of ideas.

                    • Doug Grammer says:


                      You have just made an argument to allowing open access to being placed on the ballot because you think it is morally right. It’s kind of vague in a non-measurable sense. Three Jack called it “right,” but who is to decide what is right and wrong? Is it in the bible or are you just appealing to a sense of fair play?

                      The GOP in Georgia went 135 years without having a say in how government was conducted. One hundred and thirty five years. We had to work through gerrymandering at it’s finest to win a majority.

                      You may not think it is right, but many people vote in their own self interests. They don’t vote for the common good. IMO, that is why President Obama is still President. Many people wanted Santa Claus for President.

                      The purpose of a political party is to get its candidates elected. The purpose of a resolution or a platform is to state what the members of a party support. Those candidates should agree with the majority of the platform or else they shouldn’t consider themselves a member of that party. If they don’t and still run, that is what a primary election is for.

                      Analog is a little closer to a compelling reason. We don’t want to seem like hypocrites. We can’t support free markets for goods and not ideas.

                      Here is the best reason you could ever use. Why do we support free markets? Because we think that competition will improve the markets. It will weed out bad businesses and promote good businesses. If you want to say you are truly the best available choice, make all the other possible choices available. Iron sharpens Iron. Make the candidates get out and work to persuade voters to give them their votes. If we allow more competition, it will make our candidates better. That’s the best argument that I can think of.

                      Don’t assume you know how I stand on an issue because I am asking others to state why I should agree with them. Even if I have said something different in the past, I have been know to change my mind.

                      A resolution for open primaries wasn’t submitted as far as I know. If it were, I wouldn’t have a vote. If it ever happens, don’t be surprised if it fails. I know the deck is stacked against smaller parties and independents. There will be people who will not want to give up an advantage. There will be people who will think that if there is 48% in an area that votes Dem, 47% that will vote GOP, and 5% who might vote independent or Libertarian (for arguments sake) and that math will play our to a Dem win. They also assume that if it is the same numbers and there is no other choice that it will become a GOP win. The best example I can give is 1992 when President Clinton won with 43% of the vote. There will be people who will remember that we worked our way up through odds that were stacked against us.

  5. The purpose of adopting a caucus system is to allow more people to compete for elective office. The five candidates running to replace Saxby will spend how much to secure the republican nomination? Would 2-3 million be in the ballpark? To raise that kind of money you either have to be very wealthy or very well connected. That leaves about 99 per cent of the population out of the equation. Is that a good system?

    The caucus system would drive costs for the primary down dramatically. How much? Not sure, but for argument sake let’s say to the 500k level. That let’s many more individuals that have the talent to serve and the desire to serve to compete. That’s a good thing. The caucus system gave us Sen. Lee from Utah, a really bright new senator.

    Is the current system working now? Do any of you that has commented on this feel you could run for the senate, governor or congress and compete? I suspect the answer is no, due to the daunting task of cost more than any other reason. I hope the state committee will adopt this resolution and the leaders of our party to see the need for change.

    • Charlie says:

      You ran to the right of Lynn Westmoreland….

      Let me repeat that. You. ran. to. the. right. of. Lynn. Freaking. Westmoreland.

      And you honestly think the reason you had a problem was because the primary was too expensive and his friends were better connected? Really?

      It’s this kind of thinking that demands this resolution and this entire idea be rejected on its face.

      • Doug Grammer says:


        Could it be that Kent is looking to change the process so it could improve his odds that he would be the GOP nominee? If so, I don’t balme him for pushing it.

        • Doug-

          I agree with you that the change would help someone like me. I don’t plan to run again (always open to change), I think caucus is a good idea. Anyone that doesn’t thinks the odds are stacked in favor of incumbents doesn’t have a grasp of our political process. Would we be better off if the field was leveled a bit? I think so.

          • Doug Grammer says:

            Of course the odds are stacked in favor of incumbents. They have name recognition where most challengers do not. People give money to those who they think will win. Do we really want rework the system so that names is generated in a random order on every ballot? The people who have a last name that starts with an A have an advantage over those whose last name starts with a Z. We don’t have a perfect election system, but it’s better than most others. I’d be a lot more in favor of this idea than a caucus system.

            At least you are being honest that there is something in it for you or people like you.

    • Tiberius says:

      Advocates say look to Virginia.

      I say the very same thing. Look to Virginia and see the dastardly effect of this idea. The ticket nominated will send a shiver down the spine of anyone outside that convention hall and drive a commonwealth that Reagan and the Bushes never had to think about farther into the Democrats’ column. Sickening.

    • The Dabler says:

      “The caucus system would drive costs for the primary down dramatically.” WRONG!!!


      “Do any of you that has commented on this feel you could run for the senate, governor or congress and compete?”

      Many of us understand that more can be done at the state and local level to reign in government spending and overreach…ergo, the concept of “governor” is meaningless to us.

      Furthermore, probably wanna read up on Lee – who came in 2nd to Bridgewater at the convention but won the primary election. Ergo, the PRIMARY system decided who carried the party mantle.

    • Oec says:

      “Is the current system working now?”

      For the most part, yes. You’re more likely to get candidates who can win a general election if they have to have appeal broadly to voters in a primary rather than just a thousand or so activists who are willing to spend money to sit in a room bickering about Robert’s Rules.

      “Do any of you that has commented on this feel you could run for the senate, governor or congress and compete? I suspect the answer is no, due to the daunting task of cost more than any other reason.”

      Yes, it costs money to reach voters and sell yourself, especially if you are an unknown to voters. Seems more a feature than a bug to me. If you want to run for high office, do the hard work of serving in some other capacity first and developing the contacts and/or name recognition to run.

      And if you think someone will be able to win nomination from a caucus system just on the merit of their ideas and experience, without money and without first developing party insider relationships and support, you’re fooling yourself.

      • Rick Day says:

        tl;dr translation: sit down, shut up, and play the game.

        *nods* so how long have you been a card carrying member of the status quo?

    • Doug Grammer says:

      “Is the current system working now?”

      I think the average person who say yes. I think they would say the system we have has the most input from the average person as they want to give. If you are looking for efficiency in government that you agree with, try a monarchy or a dictatorship; then you will agree even if you don’t.

      “Do any of you that has commented on this feel you could run for the senate, governor or congress and compete?”

      I count at least five people who have posted in this thread who I think might run for congress if the stars were aligned just right. You already have. How well one competes is up to the candidate.

  6. Tiberius says:

    Disenfranchising 700,000 people. Brilliant. Disenfranchising military personnel who can not travel. Brilliant. Disenfranchising the sick and those tending to them. Brilliant. Disenfranchising those who choose their children on a Saturday afternoon. Brilliant. Disenfranchising those who can not afford to travel to a convention site on the other side of the state. Brilliant.

    Driving voters to vote in a Democratic primary because it is their only option. Brilliant.

    But Brutus is an honorable man.

  7. Charlie-

    Nice deflection. What my positions were when I ran against Westmoreland has absolutely nothing to do with the merits of caucus or to continue to primary. I lost fair and square, I didn’t realize in the world of Charlie that meant I couldn’t voice an opinion. You sound a bit like the Obama White House.

    Not what about the merits of the idea Charlie? Glad to know you are such an elitest and want to keep the political system closed to almost everyone.

    “It’s this kind of thinking that demands this resolution and this entire idea be rejected on its face.” Now how is kidding who?

    P.S. I didn’t lose because of money, I lost by a heck of a lot of votes.

    • Charlie says:

      The fact that your opinion remains on this page shows that you’re not only able, but allowed to voice an opinion.

      The fact that I use your opinion to illustrate why this is a bad idea is part of me also being allowed to voice my own opinion. I don’t cede that right just so those who think Lynn Westmoreland is too liberal don’t get their feelings hurt.

    • drjay says:

      “Glad to know you are such an elitest and want to keep the political system closed to almost everyone.”

      this may come as a surprise to you, but in my experience as a candidate one of the phrases i heard an awful lot was “why do you want to do this?” i also heard “i’m glad you are running cause i sure as hell wouldn’t want to” and other similar sentiments. it is my non scientific estimation that almost everyone has little to no interest in running for office, some are willing to write check or display a bumper sticker, maybe knock on some doors for a good friend or cause they really believe in–but not much more than that–so really most (and i mean most) peoples involvement in the political system comes in the form of voting on election day–so really –really, who is the elitist trying to drive down participation in this scenario???

  8. I notice Charlie you continue to shoot the messanger rather than address the merits, speaks volumes. This proposal was supported by a number of republican district conventions, including Westmoreland’s 3rd district.

    When you get off your high horse maybe you’ll get around to telling us what your objections might be. If you check the author of this resolution it was Brant Frost V, a strong and vocal supporter of…. Westmoreland. Kinda shoots your theory into the waste can.

    • Charlie says:

      When you say something as stupid as “I didn’t realize in the world of Charlie that I couldn’t voice an opinion” when you have voiced one and continue to voice one, then I quit reading and yes, I shoot the messenger so I don’t have to read other stupid things. I have it on good authority from Lewis Black that reading things this dumb is what causes aneurysms.

    • TheEiger says:

      I don’t like it because only 2% of voters will be able to participate. Did you go to the convention this past weekend? How many people with kids and jobs want to go to a 12 hour long convention to have their voice heard? The answer is 2% or the people who where there Saturday. I like to encourage participation in the political process not hinder it. There… I addressed it on the merits.

  9. drjay-

    You have a valid point to an extent. Remember the delegates would be chosen at the county convention. With the primary system everyone can vote, but very few have the real ability to run. With the caucus more can run, fewer do vote. Which is better? That’s why we are having this discussion.

  10. Tiberius says:

    I imagine that the same people supporting this idea are the same who screamed to the mountaintop during the ethics debate that ethics reform was necessary, in part, because of the overwhelming public support shown on the GOP primary ballot.

    Would these same people be willing to put up this primary v. convention question to the same people whose brilliance they lauded only 10 months ago?

  11. Ken says:

    It’s important to note that currently (by law) Republicans and Democrats must hold primaries to choose nominees. Smaller political parties have the option of a convention or of a primary. The resolution simply urges the GOP state committee to take up that issue. I’m in favor of having the discussion.

    Having said that, I am a very strong believer in the Law of Unintended Consequences married to the Pareto Principle meaning that for every intended consequence of an action there are four unintended consequences. Unintended consequences are often bad.

    There are some obvious concerns:

    1 – Separating the need/ability to raise money from the selection of a nominee is not necessarily a good thing when that need/ability is required in the general election.

    2 – A party often labeled as “elitist” needs to think long and hard about a procedure that opponents will surely use as an example of exclusivity.

    3 – The assumption that a convention will necessarily make the best selection is yet to be proven.

    4 – Several others, (one great timely speech does not necessarily make a great candidate or a great elected official, micro-targeting of delegate issues, and the return of political machines being a few) but these are the major ones.

    Still, I encourage this discussion because I simply believe we should explore the issue fully.

    • Harry says:

      Good points. No doubt elections are won by special interest money with strings attached, injected into mass media in order to influence low- or mis-information voters. The key to mitigating this dilemma it seems to me, would be for opposing candidates caught on the short end to call out the purveyors of money politics with perseverance and resolution, rather than such well-meaning attempts at limiting participation.

    • Oec says:

      Though there’s obviously nothing wrong with “having the discussion”, it’s not likely that bringing this resolution (or any other) to the floor of the convention for a vote would have resulted in any kind of meaningful discussion or debate.

      That said, you raise good points against the idea.

      I do wonder what Pareto has to do with it, though. Maybe you meant Peter? 🙂

      • Ken says:


        I think you know what the Pareto Principle is, but for those who don’t, it’s also called the 80/20 rule. 🙂

    • Ken-

      Thanks for an well thought out response. I would have responded yesterday but cows having their first calf was a piority. To your four points:

      1. Understand, but do you really think the candidate will have trouble raising money when they are running against the “evil liberal democrat”. I think not.

      2. Valid point, but has it hurt the party in Virginia or Utah?

      3. Does a primary select the “best” candidate? You and I have been around politics to long not to know the answer to that one.

      4. Agree a caucus is not perfect any more than a primary is perfect. With the amount of support caucus had from county conventions and district conventions we’ll see if this idea has legs. Again, thanks for your reasoned response.

  12. Doug Grammer says:

    Just say “NO,” for many reasons. Some are listed and some are not. I’m not going go into details now, but I will probably express my opinions to the state committee before a vote.

  13. JeffHaffley says:

    It is important to remember that some (NOT ALL) of those who cry the loudest in opposition may be operating from personal and avaricious motives rather than pure and civic minded ones. They don’t want to lose the power they have over the people; they want to keep their little power club to themselves. They remind me of the old KISAKIA tribe (“Keep It Small And Keep It All”).

    Many good members of the State Committee as well as respected state legislators support this proposal because they see that it will (1) level the playing field; (2) Allow more people to run for office with a real chance of winning; (3) reduce the cost running for office by as much as 75%.
    There are many other reasons but I will leave it at these three for the time being.

    • Doug Grammer says:

      Hi Jeff,

      I call tell where you stand on the subject. http://www.gacaucus.org/

      I am not a political consultant and currently hold no offices or positions in the GA GOP. I have no power over anyone other than a strong will and a penchant for debate.

      I want to see more people involved in the process of selecting a candidate, not less. This keeps our base motivated and aware of why they should go vote in November.

      A caucus system would keep it small and keep it all. The average person who votes in the Georgia GOP primary would no longer be involved in the process. Most people have no desire to sit though conventions.

      We will have an image of smoke filled backrooms deciding who our nominee will be. The primary system allows for new people to request an absentee ballot, vote early, or vote on the day of the primary. Why would we want to disenfranchise voters?

      I would talk about supporting registration by party, but I don’t really want to been see as restricting access to a political process for the average person. Registration won’t change anyone’s ability to vote as long as they checked a box as to which primary they want to vote in. Other than that, nothing would change and that would reduce costs as well.

  14. JeffHaffley says:

    Hi Doug,

    To your point about “disenfranchisment”, the caucus system does not “disenfranchise” regular working people with families, but rather empowers them to be more effective at electing candidates after due scrutiny has been exercised.

    Hundreds of thousands of Georgia voters have given up on voting in primaries and general elections because they know that no matter who wins, the special interests and crony capitalists are still in control. A convention system will bring down the cost of running for office by as much as 75 percent. This will make it possible for honorable public servants to win elected office, doing more for the soccer moms and solider dads than any election dominated by big money and media will.

    Unscrupulous politicians don’t want scrutiny over what they do and say. They want low information voters to be dependent on sound-bites and superficial impressions so that the bad things they are doing can go undetected. But a state convention delegate is elected because that person is willing and able to devote the careful evaluation of the candidates that most people don’t have the time to give. That frees up the regular working family folks to go on with their normal lives while maintaining personal touch with a delegate who answers to them—not a distant politician on a TV tube.

    Think about it. Under a Virgina style convention system, we have basically two tiers: First, we have mass precinct meetings where anybody can come (at no cost) and elect delegates to represent them at the state convention. Second, we have state conventions where the state convention delegates (for a $50 fee) would vote to elect the GOP nominees to state office. The state convention delegates are accountable to the county caucuses. It’s representative government within the party, and it maintains the human connection between each tier so a voter always has a person that he can speak face-to-face to and who is answerable to him about a vote.

    With this great responsibility to represent not just themselves but others also, delegates will have to make sure they are better informed about all of the candidates so they can defend their votes at the conventions to their communities back home. They will have to be able to explain their actions, and if they behave arbitrarily and without regard to the wishes of the people who elected them, they will have to take the heat.

    The old saying goes, “Many hands make light work.” A primary system makes every individual responsible for doing all the research on each and every candidate on a ballot. We may know something about the people at the top of the ballot, but the strength of our impressions usually decrease as we scroll to the bottom. The typical parents don’t have time for that between PTA meetings and soccer games. A republican, representative caucus system creates a built-in incentive for communities to share in the burden of analyzing the candidates, the issues, the statistics, and the laws they are talking about. In the end, it means the votes cast at the nomination are more informed votes. Our elected officials are more accountable to the people when those people are more informed. That’s not disenfranchisement. That’s empowerment.

    • Doug Grammer says:

      And what do we tell the grandmother that is in a wheelchair? She can’t vote for her son or granddaughter because she can’t physically spend a day in two conventions? What do we tell the factory worker who works on Saturdays and normally casts an absentee ballot? Or those serving in the military? Technically, it doesn’t cost to vote other than use of our tax dollars at work. Now we would have a convention fee that others will call a poll tax.

      Are you telling us that those people won’t be disenfranchised? I’m calling it what is: an attempted power grab to take control from the many and give it to the few. It is simply a move in the wrong direction. We need more people involved and voting, not less.

      To be disenfranchised to be prohibited from being part of the process. Tell me how those in the military will be able to caucus overseas. Unless you have something overwhelming and new to say, we are going to agree to disagree on this one.

      • Rick Day says:

        You are assuming that there is no connect between the grassroots representative and the caucus delegate? That the delegates exist in a vacuum? Do you understand where the roots on grass exit? In the dirt, as close to the Good Earth as any part of the plant. Without dirt (metaphorically, the system created whereby local voters expressing opinions on what type candidate to represent their district, and organizing thusly behind their nominees) there is no grass.

        A caucus system can be set up by neighborhood, edition, community, voting district or by damn email. Let’s try to be realistic here in our structures, ok?

    • Ron McClellan says:

      In your first paragraph above, that is in that theoretical “perfect world.” In the real world, it would in fact disenfranchise regular working people with families, even though in that perfect world, it doesn’t have to.

      I don’t know about “hundreds of thousands” but certainly”a lot” of Georgians have given up voting in primaries in particular. And if want even more to give it up, we can move to a caucus system. And honestly, I have no idea where some folks get the idea that special interests and cronism won’t still come into play, in a caucus system, potentially even moreso, without solid, well-vetted safeguards put into place, and I haven’t seen anything I would even remotely consider a safeguard that would effectively check the balance of this system.

      I’ll also point out the the very term “Smoke Filled Room” has it’s origins in something I believe James Madison wrote, and what he was discussing when the term was conceived, was ironically . . .the caucus system.

  15. JeffHaffley says:

    By saying that people who have participate in local caucuses and elect their neighbors have NO say in the process seems to me to be about the same as saying that people who elect state representatives and senators have NO say in the legislative process.

    Based on what you have said thus far about more people being involved, I assume you would support expanding the State House from 180 to 1800 members, or better still pass laws by popular referendum (like the brilliantly governed state of California)

    • Charlie says:

      Hi Jeff,

      See that little “reply” button under the posts? That’s what you click on when you want to reply to someone else’s comments.

      Try it. Really. It’s not that hard.

      • Ron McClellan says:

        Charlie . . . . you seem to have a penchant for Ad hominem. Now frankly, so do I, helps keep a discussion interesting sometimes, but it should be used as a spice, not served up as the entire meal. Try to use a little less of it, and try adding some “meat” to the dish. Try it, really. It’s not that hard.

    • Doug Grammer says:

      I didn’t say that people who have participate in local caucuses and elect their neighbors have NO say in the process. I said only the people who participate in a caucus would have a say and their neighbors would NOT.

      I believe in having more people voting, not changing our form of government. I’m OK with an occasional binding referendum.

  16. Dave Bearse says:

    I wonder how much overlap there is among supporters of this resolution and those advocating repeal of the 17th amendment?

    • Ken says:


      While I’m awaiting a full discussion on the resolution to take a position, I personally lean toward a repeal of the 17th Amendment. It would help to restore one of the original systems of checks and balances built into the US Constitution.

      One benefit is that under the original process of choosing US Senators, I do not see how Obamacare could have passed.

      • Dave Bearse says:


        Though unquestionable most in the GOP adamantly oppose PPACA, I don’t think you do your position any favors even within your own party in stating PPACA would not have passed under the original process.

        • Ken says:


          It’s obvious whether I state it or not. The vast majority of state governments opposed Obamacare for many sound reasons (mostly because they knew it would be far more expensive than proponents admitted) and with US Senators’ selection originating with state government there would be little enthusiasm for such an expensive boondoggle.

  17. Dave Bearse says:

    This resolution is timely, given the Virginia system just nominated nutjob E.W. Jackson for Lt Gov.

  18. Dave Bearse says:

    The total number of comments on this resolution about equals those of the other nine combined. It’s clear policy and principle debate are secondary to the party sorting out its direction going forward (though granted there are elements of policy and principle in this debate).

      • And is a departure of the status quo a bad thing? Look at the national debt, the most screwed up tax system, a war that we don’t want to win, a 5 year recession and a congressional approval of 10-14 per cent. Maybe it’s time to do something different.

        • Doug Grammer says:

          Doing something different just because it is different is not a compelling argument. I don’t normally drive my car through a brick wall, but I could because it is a change in the status quo.

          • Rick Day says:

            Driving your car through a wall only changes YOUR status quo, from living to ex-living.

            A change in a universal status quo that has become a mockery of what it was supposed to be is indeed one of the most compelling arguments for change. All change is hard.

            Think about the children.

            • Doug Grammer says:


              I think I could drive through a brick wall and live. The ride would be ugly, bumpy, things wouldn’t work as well as they should afterward, and it would be immediately regretted by any going with me. It would be much like if we switched to a caucus system.

  19. Doug-

    I don’t advocate to change to a caucus system just because it is change. I advocate it because I believe it would make our political system better. Why a system that gives us the results I noted at 2:13 is defended is beyond me. How many times do we have to continue to make the same mistakes over and over before we try to fix the problem? I wouldn’t argue for a second that I have all the correct answers, but as Steve Stancil liked to say when he was running for Lt. Gov., “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity.”

    I believe Congress must balance the budget, have term limits like we do for president or governor, and change our tax system to make it fair and to stop Congress from picking winners and losers via the tax code. Are those radical ideas? I don’t think so, but do we really think the current crop of elected members will do any of the above? No! Why, because each of those ideas limits their power and we all know it’s all about power and influence.

    Remember as recently as last decade we had a republican Congress and a republican President. How did that work out for us?

    Change for the sake of change Doug? Absolutely not, change because it is best way to keep our nation great.

    • Doug Grammer says:

      I believe in balancing the budget. I believe in changing our tax system. I’m not as on board with terms limits as I used to be. I’ve come to the conclusion if we limit legislators, the non-elected department heads will call all of the shots.

      Our current crop of elected leaders include of a Democratic Party controlled Senate that went years without submitting a budget and a Democrat President whose budget got 0 votes. So I agree with you that a balanced budget won’t get serious consideration while they are in power. President Bush was not a perfect President, but he was certainly better than Al Gore or John Kerry would have been. Most of the Republicans that got voted out deserved to get voted out.

      Change those, and it will improve our chances of doing some things we agree on. Changing to a caucus system won’t necessarily improve our chances of any of those things. We are talking about making a change in Georgia so it would only change the Georgia delegation. Who do you want to see replaced? I don’t think Tom Graves would vote any differently. I like the fact that people have to build a record they can run on before going to congress.

    • Rick Day says:

      I love me some Charlie, but I’m going to have to google this Westmorland person to see what his beef is, because the above diatribe all makes perfect sense.

      Change because what we have is broken. That, for any other reason, is a perfectly valid affirmation of a newer system.

  20. Doug-

    A change to caucus wouldn’t be just for federal office, but state also.

    There is no question Bush was better than Kerry or Gore would have been, that doesn’t mean Bush was good. Let me give you a current example. How many Georgia congressmen would favor repealing Obamacare? All republicans in the House and our senators, would you agree? Then why did all but three House members from GA. vote for the last CR that continues to fund Obamacare? If the House really wanted to end Obamacare they could defund it. Instead our members talk about the evil of Obamacare yet continue to fund it.

    Why do you suppose a balanced budget was never seriously considered when we had a rep. president and both houses were republican? Again, with 16 trillion dollars in debt, how long can this nation survive?

    Last thought for you. If we don’t change the way we elect individuals to office and expand the “pool” of candidates, what changes?

    • Doug Grammer says:


      You keep building straw men. If we change the way we elect people in Georgia, especially the non-federal ones, how will that change what happens in D.C.?

      I imagine that the voted for the CR to keep the federal government operating. I would not be surprised if the entire GA GOP congressional delegation has voted to defund Obama care.

      Depriving others of their participation in the primary process isn’t anything you have made a compelling argument for. You seem to be saying that the end will justify the means, as long as you approve of the end.

  21. Doug-

    We’ll agree to disagree, just because you can’t change the country doesn’t mean you don’t change the state. Using your logic, nothing would ever change. I enjoyed the debate with you, but at this point we are going in circles. Have a great day.

    • Doug Grammer says:


      I enjoyed debating with you as well. I think I offered to stop a while ago unless you could bring something new to the debate. I don’t see the need to decrease participation and involvement when we should be going in the other direction and increasing it. Memorial Day was yesterday. I still haven’t seen a reason to stop allowing our troops to vote absentee.

      • Rick Day says:

        The constitution you love to hold up as some type of religious text says nothing about the right to vote twice in an election.

        They will get their vote. I’m sure the overseas military can trust the folks back home to put up as good a delegate as we can come up with so they don’t have to take time away from important stuff staying alive and in one piece, instead of reviewing each candidate’s background, criminal record, facebook, personal peccadilloes and political affiliations.

        What is it about the GOP and children and military being the leading reason to reject any reform or regulation proposals?

      • Doug-

        The question of the military hits home considering I am a retired infantry officer. If I thought caucus would hurt our military I wouldn’t be for it for a second. I have friends that I spent Monday thinking of because they are no longer with the living. Thanks for sharing your opinion with me, next time maybe we can be on the same side.

        • Doug Grammer says:


          You are hitting the nail on the head. I don’t want you to decide what is in other people’s interests on their behalf. I want them to decide. If there is a statewide binding referendum to go to a caucus system, I will follow the will of the majority. I will try to persuade as many as I can not to vote for it.

          Rick, The purpose of a primary is to select a nominee. We are discussing what the best method for that is. I have not stated anything about the constitution in regards to this discussion. What I am stating is that people are used to voting in primaries. Before we start making resolutions that we should take that away from them because insiders know the candidates best, we need to think about how they will react and what impact that will have in November elections.

          I think it’s nice that you don’t want to bother those in the military with doing such things as looking over candidates and vetting them. They shouldn’t have to do those same things in a November election either. If they can’t do it in July, why should November be any different? I thought that option to vet was part of what they were serving to defend?

          The GOP doesn’t typically state “but it’s for the children.” That’s the other parties mantra. I have already mention grandmothers in wheelchairs, I think someone else brought up soccer moms, I have brought up factory workers who work on Saturdays, and there are others. Just how many people do we need to point out that they wouldn’t want to spend hours in a convention setting instead of casting a primary ballot?

  22. Kimberly Schwartz says:

    Likely it’s the trial attorney in me (Dick the Butcher’s famous suggestion being duly noted), but I think every single word of a proposed resolution should be viewed as meaningful and important. My own view is that switching to a caucus system is a terrible idea, for all the reasons that have been aptly set forth by Doug and others above. But even for those who have expressed their willingness to “study” the idea, the language in this resolution as drafted should have been viewed as profoundly problematic.

    For instance, would we, as a state party, really want to say (on the record, as it were, and for the archives) that “the grassroots have been discriminated against in the current Republican nominating process in Georgia.”? Where’s the evidence of that? Should we say, as a statement of fact from our state party, that “the Virginia Plan will greatly increase the influence of the grassroots; grow the Republican Party’s base of volunteers, members, and participants”? How do we know that? Is there actual data to support that assertion?

    Here’s another example: “. . . . our party risks permanent minority status unless we return to our core values and become a truly representative party.” You can bet that Better Georgia would be on this in a nanosecond: “See, see, they admit it! They have not been a truly representative party!”

    My point here is that statements in resolutions have meaning. Those who might be in favor of at least studying the caucus idea could express this by simply saying, “Let’s study the idea” without making unproven assertions, or providing the Georgia GOP’s political opponents ammo to shoot at it with.

    Unless, of course, some of said opponents had a hand in the drafting of the language, and then it makes perfect sense.

    • JeffHaffley says:

      Kimberly, In regards to your questions about the wording of the resolution, you should ask the 85% (14 of 16) of the committee members who supported it.

      In regards to the growth in volunteers and participants. I submit that in 2012 the Iowa Republican caucus saw a turnout of over 4%. By contrast, participation in most GAGOP county precinct meetings in 2012 was less than 0.2%; that’s 1/20 of the Iowa turnout.

      Facts are facts Kimberly, and I think we can both agree that 1 in 25 is better is much better than 1 in 500.

      • Doug Grammer says:

        Jeff, it is not about the will of the resolutions committee, it is about the will of the state convention or state commiittee. We see nominations from the floor replace the will of the nominating committee all of the time. Defeating this resolution would be no different.

    • Ken says:

      Kimberly, you make excellent points. Words do have meaning and I am guilty at looking at the end result as opposed to the supporting assertions.

  23. FreedomFighter1776 says:

    Hey, Charlie, Doug, et. al.: Did you know that there are 236 activists in our state who are “disenfranchising” regular citizens every year by deciding amongst themselves—without even polling the opinions of regular voters on each decision—how to spend state taxes and what the state’s laws should be?! The “arbitrary and capricious rules meant to keep people out” of those votes astounds, doesn’t it? Regular voters want to be able to review and vote on each and every one of those decisions while they are spending “nights going to Little League games and weekends hunting and fishing,” not while they are meeting in downtown Atlanta to concentrate their attention on discussing and learning about the issues. I would tell you the names of these 236 activists who are “disenfranchising” the regular voters of Georgia, but it might be easier for you to look their names up here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx

    (Yes, I am being sarcastic.)

  24. Charlie says:

    Hi “Freedom Fighter”,

    Did you know that we have a system of representative government? That’s what our Founding Fathers were fighting for in 1776.

    So when someone decides they want to win the internets by deciding that casting those we elect in the role of tyranny because those who think they can game a convention process can do at a convention what they can’t do at the ballot box, I get a little suspicious over their views of what kind of “freedom” they really want me to have.

    Also “our” state? –(That’s me being sarcastic too, but I still think there’s enough people from here trying to fight this battle that we don’t need to start importing them)

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