In recent years, the Minnesota Republican Party has moved away from a crucial guiding principle: consent of the governed. Today's Minnesota GOP can give only extreme choices to the 99 percent who don't caucus GOP.
Only broadly based parties can make consent of the governed a reality, and the Minnesota GOP has become a ballot-controlling, consent-killing One Percent Machine.
Between 2000 and 2012, preference-poll votes cast at Republican caucuses totaled, on average, 1.2 percent of the total general-election votes that Minnesotans cast the following November. This year, Rick Santorum's 21,988 caucus supporters won the poll, but then apparently went home.
Ron Paul's 13,282 caucus supporters stayed, but they represent only about four of every 1,000 votes that will be cast in the general election.
This is major reason why qualified, reasonable Republicans -- dedicated to public service and to working with all Minnesotans -- increasingly have difficulty reaching the state's general-election ballot.
As a U.S. Senate candidate this year, I saw the One Percent Machine from the inside. At six congressional district conventions, 150 delegates signed my petition to have my name placed in nomination and to speak at the state convention. People signed after I said that the GOP was moving too far right and that the Bush tax cuts should expire.
Without exception, Republican delegates were friendly and respectful -- even when we disagreed.
So far, so good.
Then, there was a grinding sound. In I went, through the One Percent Machine's nominating committee. Out I came -- stamped "unqualified." I was deemed that for one reason only: I "would not abide" and promise not to run in the primary. I had a "history" of "not abiding."
Thus I had five minutes to speak. "Qualified" (abiding) candidates had 20 minutes.
It reminds me of an old TV show: "Branded ... scorned as the one who ran ..." (and might again!).
A Ron Paul supporter on the committee told me he stuck up for me. Ron Paul was processed and stamped four years ago -- excluded from the convention.
The One Percent Machine isn't Republican delegates -- they're willing to listen. The problem is behind the curtain -- a political machine determined to convince Minnesota that GOP primaries don't really exist.
With primary challenges, we can start breaking up the One Percent Machine. Here's how:
The primary filing period ends June 5.
If you are a reasonable Republican -- dedicated to public service and to working with all Minnesotans -- please plop down the $100 filing fee and put your name on the primary ballot for the Legislature.
If you are a young person, smart and hardworking, file! You'll learn a lot.
If you are a reasonable, qualified Republican U.S. Senate candidate, will you consider paying $400 to file for that office?
I'd make the same request to potential Independence Party candidates. Minnesota voters need and deserve real choices. We must not let any one percent take away our choice of a better, brighter future.
Bob Carney Jr. finished second in the 2010 Minnesota GOP primary for governor, and will be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in the 2012 Minnesota GOP primary. His website is BobAgain.com.