Carrie: Did you see Doyle Beck’s recent column on making municipal elections partisan? He is the Bonneville County Republican District 30 legislative chairman.
Jerry: Why do our local Republicans want to bring parties into city elections? In fact, why do we even have parties?
Carrie: Political parties exist to bring together people with similar ideas. One of their main purposes is to select people who share their values to run for office.
Jerry: So … the party label acts kind of like a “brand” which helps the general population understand what they’re offering? But in local elections, do you need a party label when there are so many opportunities for people to learn about candidates?
Carrie: Nowadays, there’s lots of local media coverage, debates/forums and social media posts. In Idaho Falls, you can even call or email many of the candidates, and they’ll personally respond.
Jerry: Maybe the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee wants partisanship because most of their recent candidates for city offices have lost their races? When you remove the party brand, their candidates don’t do well at the ballot box.
Carrie: Perhaps a bigger reason is that they hope to control the candidate once s/he is elected? Did you know the Republican state platform requires a “loyalty oath” in which candidates have to agree to all the party articles or write an explanation about the ones they don’t agree with?
Jerry: Their conservative platform includes some really radical stuff, like abolishing the Federal Reserve Bank, returning the U.S. to the gold standard and not allowing citizens to directly elect our senators.
Carrie: Last year, the radical right-wingers in the Republican party tried to include an amendment to their platform saying that if an elected Republican official votes on anything contrary to their platform, they could remove their party endorsement of him/her. Our local BCRCC leaders pushed hard for that, but it failed.
Jerry: Hey, I thought the Republican Party was the “big tent” party. Sounds like a pup tent might cover it now?
Carrie: Speaking of gaining more control, the BCRCC’s latest push is to change the law on how vacancies are filled when somebody resigns from the Legislature.
Jerry: When a legislator resigns, current law requires the local affiliated political party to submit to the governor the names of three people to fill the vacant seat. The governor chooses one of the three names to complete the term.
Carrie: That’s right … but the BCRCC isn’t happy with that. They don’t want anyone, including people in their own party, having a say about who gets appointed.
Jerry: You mean they can’t come up with three people they trust to do their bidding? Or maybe they can’t find three people in their inner circle who are qualified to serve.
Carrie: Apparently there is no limit to their thirst for control. In his Sept. 25 newspaper column, Bonneville County Republican Chairman Mark Fuller compares voter participation in ballot initiatives to children attempting to control their family.
Jerry: Pretty condescending, don’t you think?
Carrie: I expect we’ll see a response to this column by the BCRCC leaders defending their need for control?
Jerry: I sure hope they don’t mimic Republican 4th Vice-Chairman Bryan Smith’s response to one of our columns.
Carrie: You mean the one where he copied our format and created a fictitious conversation with us? He actually made up all our responses.
Jerry: Yeah, they weren’t very funny. You could tell we didn’t write it.
Carrie: Like we’ve said before, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”