Everett: Blessed to live in Colorado, blessed to have the caucus system
Author: Rep. Justin Everett - April 7, 2016 - Updated: April 6, 2016
We are truly blessed to live in Colorado. No, it’s not the mountains, skiing, 300+ days of sunshine; it’s that we are a “Swing Caucus State”, that allows for the most localized activism and participation in politics.
Once every two years, you can choose to meet with your neighbors, discuss politics, find like-minded folks, and elect people to best represent you at the nominating assemblies. For a small investment of time and money, candidates can reach out to potential voters, who are caucus and assembly attendees to try and win their vote.
This process usually levels the playing field, so big-money candidates don’t completely dominate the process here in Colorado. For example, if you are a candidate without big-money connections, you could reach out to maybe 200 people at your State House Assembly to procure the necessary 30 percent of delegates to be placed on the ballot vs. the very expensive petition process.
Every four years, when we have a presidential election, this process is how delegates to their respective party’s national convention get elected. These “national delegates” will help determine who their party’s presidential nominee will be.
National delegates are elected at the congressional district assemblies (seven of them in Colorado) and at the state convention. Again, this allows less financed candidates and the average citizen to influence who will represent Colorado in picking a presidential candidate.
Case in point, I was elected national delegate last weekend at the Congressional District 1 Assembly. Four out of the five national delegates and alternates who were elected have never held elected office, they weren’t big money donors to political campaigns, and they weren’t “party-elites”; they were just average citizens concerned about our country. Now they will represent Colorado at the Republican National Convention in July.
These assemblies allow some campaigns to show how they can turn a small investment into a large return. U.S. Rep. Ken Buck organized the Colorado for Cruz “Slate.” With little or no money invested from the actual Cruz campaign and providing merely some guidance on how to get elected — the Cruz Slate captured five out of the six Delegate and Alternate Delegate slots. At the Congressional District 6 Assembly, it was nearly a clean-sweep for Cruz as well.
Kasich’s campaign had a presence, but got shut-out. In addition, there was ZERO organization from Trump. Clearly, this was a missed opportunity for some candidates, and their lack of investment in Colorado hasn’t gone unnoticed. Why would you ignore Colorado — a swing state? If you can’t carry Colorado, you probably can’t win the presidency. Another unsolved mystery from this crazy campaign season.
Now, the remaining five congressional assemblies and the state convention are upon us. How will the presidential candidates fare? Will this be a sweep for Cruz, or will we see some investment from the other campaigns to win delegates? My prediction, based on organization, investment, and knowing the independent, pioneering spirit of Colorado voters — it will be nearly a clean-sweep for Sen. Ted Cruz.
I did high-dollar fundraising for the Republican National Committee in 1994-95; right after the Contract With America election. Republicans had a historic election, winning both chambers of Congress for the first time in 50 years while pledging to follow through on a set of principles and ideas if elected. What happened? Within 100 days, we saw the wheels come off the wagon — Republicans abandoned the platform they were elected on. The broken Washington, D.C. system had won once again, and I disgustingly witnessed it first-hand.
So, to have a U.S. Senator who has been willing to stand up to special interests and elites in Washington, and to have a U.S. Senator who consistently takes on his own party’s leadership when they go against the will of the American people are things that rarely happen and are something truly special; this is what our country needs in our president. That’s why I’m supporting Sen. Cruz for president, we’ve seen him consistently do the right thing in the U.S. Senate, realizing that the Constitution and We The People come first — not the power-elites and special interests. This is no small feat, and this is exactly who we need in the White House.
Through this local grassroots process we call the caucus system here in Colorado, we will have our say in who our next president will be. It won’t be decided by party elites, it will be decided by average citizens and that’s truly how the system should work. We are very blessed to live in Colorado, and we are most certainly blessed to have the caucus system. “It’s a republic, if you can keep it,” so join me in helping Colorado do everything in our power to keep our Republic.