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Op-ed: Mitt Romney on the wrong side of caucus battle

By arturo morales llan

First Published Mar 01 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Mar 01 2014 01:01 am

I am very disappointed but not surprised to learn about Mitt Romney’s recent decision to support the Count My Vote (aka Buy My Vote) petition that, if successful, would bring an end to the most accessible political nominating systems in America.

It is not surprising to see wealthy people such as Mitt Romney, Gail Miller and Jon Huntsman supporting a system that favors only the rich, famous or politicians connected to Washington, D.C., lobbying firms.

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After all, these wealthy and privileged individuals feel they and their children are entitled to hold public office. They believe that their ability to invest their money and maximize profits for shareholders should be reason why they ought to lead our nation, state and most high-level political offices.

For decades, we have seen large corporations dictating to our elected officials how to draft and pass bills that would benefit their specific industries. Tthe counties least impacted by the recession and with the highest incomes are in the Washington, D.C., area.

No wonder this elite group wants to replace Utah’s home-grown neighborhood caucus system with a high-dollar direct primary that would only favor and benefit their small group of rich and famous friends.

It truly disappoints me to see a reputable former presidential candidate like Romney supporting a group that has been caught using shameful and fraudulent tactics to dishonestly lure voters into signing a petition they haven’t read. Is this the same Romney who was supposed to be the next Ronald Reagan and the man who would restore decency and honor to the White House?

Yes, we know that most people who have signed the CMV petition have been intentionally lied to about the actual goal of the petition and/or have been sold a bill of goods, campaign slogan or sound bite.

The Count My Vote group claims they want to increase voter participation and to make sure that every vote "counts." That all sounds good, but what they haven’t disclosed is that they don’t want your opinion; they only want your vote! Have you ever tried to post a comment on their Facebook page or website that questions their intended goal? I invite you to try it. Your post will be deleted within minutes.

Most groups and organizations that support or have endorsed CMV have some financial or special interest to gain from this petition.

I find it absurd how CMV demonizes the neighborhood caucus system and labels these basically middle-class delegates as a "powerful group of extreme individuals." In reality, these average Utahns who live on our blocks have no financial interest in keeping the caucus system other than to hold elected officials accountable. Delegates spend dozens of hours representing their neighbors on their own dime taking time away from their families.

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Romney is now supporting a group that wants to eliminate a system that benefited him tremendously in his attempt to win the presidency. Let us remember that many of these delegates and grassroots volunteers spent weekends campaigning for him in Colorado, Arizona and Nevada.

I hate to admit it, but I can only begin to wonder if the out-of-touch attitude with the average person is what kept GOP voters home in the last presidential election. To just swoop into a state in which you’ve never lived and voted and expect the public to bend to how you did things in Massachusetts, once again confirms what we already know about CMV. Let’s keep our face –to-face neighborhood caucus system and keep our personal voices.

Arturo Morales LLan is a Utah County Republican convention delegate living in Orem.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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