As a Republican and a Ron Paul delegate to the state GOP convention last May, I was not surprised at the attempt by the party establishment to call for an end to the caucus system of endorsement ("Endorsements muck it up for the parties," Nov. 12). The caucus system is a thorn in the side of all those politicians, Democrat and Republican, who tremble at the thought of grass-roots democracy.
The rich and the powerful would of course prefer an opinion poll, in the guise of a primary, that can be controlled by large sums of money. (It worked for Mark Dayton!)
But perhaps a better way to strengthen the party's candidates would be to acknowledge the party's weaknesses. At the convention, I heard the traditional candidates time and again say, "We must focus like a laser beam on the economy." Then, in the next breath, they'd start talking about gay marriage and voter ID and everything but the economy.
This also happened at the Legislature, time and again, with the leaders of the party seemingly obsessed with either playing footsie or trying to change the Constitution. Then, at the eleventh hour, when Republican legislators could have stood their ground and stopped the taxpayer subsidies for Zygi Wilf's stadium, they broke ranks, and more than a few participated in the secretive and unethical scamming of the public.
It would also be useful to acknowledge that the endorsed Senate candidate, Kurt Bills, was up against a Mary Poppins senator (Amy Klobuchar) who has found favor with the voters by avoiding all controversy and letting war and debt and Wall Street omnipotence continue unabated. No Republican could have effectively challenged such a flimsy and crowd-pleasing record.
A final nail in the GOP ticket's coffin was the disillusionment of the entire libertarian wing of the Republican party that followed the national convention. In contrast with our own state convention -- a model of fairness and decency -- Ron Paul and his delegates were treated as pariahs by the national party. Not only was Paul denied a speaking slot, but when the vote totals were announced, the podium officials wouldn't even speak his name. And the party rules -- fraudulently adopted -- have now abolished local control of choosing delegates. All this top-down chicanery can be seen on YouTube ("RNC sham").
So don't blame the open process by which Minnesota Republicans endorse our candidates. Blame the leaders of the 2012 Legislature, blame the Old Guard at the RNC, blame fundamentalist busybodies who insist on controlling the private lives of everyone and blame wishy-washy Democrats who refuse to risk unpopularity by standing up for the Constitution. But don't blame the caucus system. We need more democracy, not less.
Esskoert is a musician in Minneapolis.