Poll participants could help set November’s presidential ballot
March 18, 2016
Summit County residents have an opportunity to make their mark on presidential politics in a way they never have before. Tuesday, during their respective party caucuses, they will vote in the state’s first-ever Presidential Preference Poll. casting ballots in the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, or Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich on the Republican side, they and their counterparts across the state will determine how many Utahdelegates will represent each candidate at the national conventions.
And this year, perhaps more than at any time in the country’s history, every delegate matters, especially in the contentious contest to secure the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.
There is other important business on the caucus agendas, too. Attendees will selectdelegates to send to the county and state conventions, where the parties typically try to consolidate support behind one nominee per office. For example, Sean Wharton and Doug Clyde are both vying for the Democratic nomination to run for Seat B on the Summit County Council. If either one receives enoughof the delegates’ support at the county convention, he will avoid a primary and proceed straight to the general election. If the decision can’t be made at the convention, the candidates must participate in a primary runoff. So it is likely they will be scouting supporters to attend the three Summit County Democratic caucuses.
But Tuesday’s focus is squarely on the presidential race, where the stakes, this election year, are enormous. There are not only deep divides between the parties, but within them as well. As a result, the nation is running a high political fever.
Unfortunately, the early onset of hot-headed rhetoric has already driven many moderates into retreat, leaving our fate in the hands of extremists. The caucuses, however, can serve as an antidote to the divisive partisan infection that has been plaguing our democratic system of late. That is, provided everyone along the political spectrum participates.
Utah’s presidential poll is an especially critical litmus test for Republicans where, it seems, the party’s very soul is on the line. Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recent criticism of candidate Donald Trump highlighted the deep schism within the GOP and on Tuesday, Summit County Republicans will be asked to lay their allegiances on the line. Will they align with Trump’s bravado, Cruz’s faith-based politics or Kasich’s mild mannered conservatism? Their votes will help seal the party’s future.
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On their own, the results of Utah’s Presidential Preference Poll, may not determine the final makeup of November’s ballot. But when it comes time for Utah’s delegates to be counted at the national conventions, where the outcomes, at this point are far from certain, each vote is critical.
Tuesday’s caucuses are your chance to be part of history. Don’t pass it up.