Utah People's Party

…proclain liberty through out all the land….(Leviticus 25:10)

Members

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve gave us the following reminder of our duties.

The Church respects the rule of law and constitutional government in every nation and expects Latter-day Saints to adhere to the law, to use their influence to promote and preserve their God-given rights, and “to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound” (Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 5:286).(Quentin L. Cook, Restoring Morality and Religious Freedom, Ensign, September 2012)

So the Church expects Latter-day Saints to

  • adhere to the law,
  • use their influence to promote and keep their God-given rights, and
  • “…make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound”

Conventional political parties and candidates typically do not advocate true and correct principles when those principles are least popular. We can only succeed in making sound and good principles more popular by advocating them when they are not popular yet. We aspire to make the People’s Party an unconventional party, a party that stands with the Lord even if the Lord’s will may not become popular until He returns to this Earth for His millennial reign. This page discusses two things we do to reach this goal: improve the party members and empower the party members. There are two ways of improving the party members: being more selective about who becomes a party member and developing the people who are members. This page closes with the responsibilities of party members, responsibilities that include campaigning for the Party’s Candidates.

Improving Party Members

In Utah, election law does not expressly define the concept of party member but does stipulate certain things about the members of any party to which the state government allows a line on the general election ballot. This law mentions the  “constitution or bylaws” of each party. To understand the terms “constitution” and “bylaws” as they relate to organizations other than government, we turn to Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revise.

It formerly was common practice to divide the basic rules of an organization into two documents, in order that one of them–the constitution–might be made more difficult to amend than the other, to which the name bylaws was applied. (Roberts p 13)

…it is now the recommended practice that all of a society’s rules of this kind be combined into a single instrument, usually called the “bylaws,” although in some societies called the “constitution”–or the “constitution and bylaws,” even when it is only one document. (Roberts p 12)

… the bylaws (as the single, combination-type instrument is called in this book) comprise the highest body of rules in societies as normally established today. Such an instrument supersedes all other rules of the society …. In organizations that have both a constitution and bylaws as separate documents, however, the constitution is the higher of the two bodies of rules and supersedes the bylaws. (Roberts p 14)

Now that we understand the terms “constitution” and “bylaws”, we are ready to look at what election law requires that the constitution or bylaws of each legally recognized political party provide about party members.

20A-8-401.   Registered political parties — Bylaws.
(2) Each state political party … shall ensure that its constitution or bylaws contain:

  • (b) a procedure for selecting party officers that allows active participation by party members;
  • (c) a procedure for selecting party candidates at the federal, state, and county levels that allows active participation by party members;
  • (j) a procedure for amending the constitution or bylaws that allows active participation by party members
  • (Utah State Code 20A-8-401)

So each officially recognized political party allows its members to take part actively in

  • selecting the party’s officers,
  • selecting the party’s candidates for public offices, and
  • amending the party’s constitution or bylaws.

Party members are people who have the above forms of participation in the party. The Republican Party–now (March 2013) the most popular and powerful in our state–allows anyone who chooses to affiliate with it when they register to vote to attend its once every other year caucuses (or Mass Meetings) and vote. The Republican Party offers the following process for selecting a government official.

  1. Each candidate nominates himself to the Delegates.
  2. Republican Affiliated Voters (Party Members) elect most delegates but not all.
  3. Delegates elect the nominee (from among the candidates) for that party to nominate to the citizens but
  4. If 60% of the delegates do not agree on one candidate then Republican Affiliated Voters (party members) choose –by a primary election in June–which of the two candidates supported by the most delegates shall be the party’s nominee to the citizens.
  5. Citizens can elect the party’s nominee to the government office at the general election in November.

In addition to electing the party’s nominees for government offices, delegates pick that party’s officers. Affiliated voters also choose those who vote on amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws of that Party. The Democratic Party, the second most powerful party in this state, uses a similar process, but in addition to those voters who affiliate with it when they register to vote, that second party allows voters who affiliated with no party at all to vote at its caucuses and in its primary elections. So for the second party, we have

  1. Each candidate nominates himself to the Delegates.
  2. Democratic affiliated voters and unaffiliated voters (Party Members) elect many of the delegates but not all.
  3. Delegates elect the nominee (from among the candidates) for that party to nominate to the citizens but
  4. If 60% of the delegates do not agree on one candidate then Democratic Affiliated Voters and unaffiliated voters(party members) choose –by a primary election in June–which of the two candidates supported by the most delegates shall be the party’s nominee to the citizens.
  5. Citizens can elect the party’s nominee to the government office at the general election in November.

Although the two major parties are alike in many respects, they do not share the same concept of party member. The Democrats use a broader, more inclusive conception than the Republicans. So if two party’s can differ in how they define a party member, than what does election law really say about who is a party member? The following passage expressly defines “State political party” but note the reference to “members”.

“State political party” means, for each registered political party, all of the persons in Utah who, according to definitions established by the state party, are members of the registered political party. (Utah Code 20A-8-101(5)) (italics added)

When Utah government registers a party, that party gets a ballot line it can use for candidates for every elective office from President of the United States to County clerk or other county government office. A registered Party can include any or all of the following: a national organization, a state organization, and a county organization for each county, all of which share the same party name on the ballot that citizens see when they vote. A State party is the state level component of a registered party. Note the words  “…according to definitions established by the state party…” so according to Utah law, the state level component of a political party establishes the party member definition.

Now let’s note something else that Utah election law says about the constitution or bylaws of each state political party.

Each state political party … shall ensure that its constitution or bylaws contain … provisions establishing party organization, structure, membership, and governance that include… (Utah State Code 20A-8-401(2)(a))

The constitution or bylaws of each state political party must contain provisions establishing various things including party “membership”. If all political parties must define “member” the same way, then there would be no need for each party to include in its constitution or bylaws a provision establishing party “membership”, so here is another sign that each party can have its own definition of “member”. Election law directs each party to include in its constitution or bylaws at the state level the party member definition it will use. Now let’s go back to the earlier passage of election law.

“State political party” means, for each registered political party, all of the persons in Utah who, acording to definitions established by the state party, are members of the registered political party. (Utah Code 20A-8-101(5)) (italics added)

The words “all of the persons in Utah who … are members of the registered party” suggest that a party can define the term “member” so broadly that any person in Utah is a party member. Those living in Utah who are not citizens are still “persons”. Can they be members of a political party?

Unless an organization of registered voters is a registered political party under this chapter, it may not place the names of candidates representing that organization upon the primary and regular general election ballots under the common organization name.(Utah State Code 20A-8-102.(2)(a))(italics added)

If an organization included non-voters among its members than it would not be “an organization of voters”, so a member of a political party must be a voter and neither non-citizens nor persons under the age of eighteen are voters.

Clearly the Utah Republican Party is not willing to treat even all voters as its members. As noted above, the Republican Party requires that voters state on their voter registration record that they affiliate with the Republican Party to vote at a caucus or in a Republican primary. Of course people who joined the Republican Party to defeat Democrats do not want Democratic voters to have any control over the Republican Party. The People’s Party is more dedicated than the Republican Party to making sure that those voters who choose our candidates are really on our side. Any voter can admit himself into the Republican Party by stating on his voter registration that he affiliates with that Party. The Republican Party does not reject from membership a communist or fascist who signs up. In contrast, the People’s Party admits into membership only those whom the existing party members invite to join. Which party do you think will be more successful in keeping out those voters who would divert the party away from its principles? To be a member of the People’s Party a person must

  • be invited to join the Party,
  • legally register to vote in Utah,
  • affiliate with the People’s Party on his voter registration card,
  • pay modest dues to the party, and
  • not hold an elected government office.

The members of the ruling class should not be members of the party. This idea straddles two principles we expound on this page: being selective about who is a party member and empowering party members. One of the key goals of the design of the party was to create an organization that will hold its nominees accountable if the general citizenry chooses them to fill government offices.

If the party is to be maximally effective at holding government officials accountable, it cannot afford to allow those same government officials to be party members. In a criminal trial, few if any citizens would allow the defendant (the accused) to serve as a member of the jury. If the defendant were a jury member, wouldn’t you expect him to vote for acquittal no matter how convincing the evidence of his guilt? Likewise, allowing a government official to serve as a party member would diminish the party’s ability to replace him if the party had previously nominated him but later party members disapproved of  his performance in office.
Our goal is to make a party that will consistently select the candidates whom the Lord wishes. That does not require the greatest possible quantity of party members. Instead it requires the greatest possible quality of party members.

Above we state that the party improves its members by being more selective about who is a party member, and by developing its members. A meeting of party members is more that an occasion to debate and vote. Our meetings have educational and inspirational content also as explained on the Meetings page. Each party member also has some calling in the party, a system comparable to each Church member having a calling in the Church. Callings allow a person to serve and to develop while serving.

Empowering Party Members

The People’s Party differs from a conventional political party in that People’s Party members have greater privileges than merely some sort of active participation in the three things listed above. In other words, the People’s Party empowers its party members more than conventional parties empower their party members. The People’s Party offers the following process for selecting a government official.

  1. Each People’s Party Member may nominate a person to serve on the Candidate Nominating Committee.
  2. People’s Party members elect Committee Members.
  3. The committee nominates a candidate to the party members and each party member may nominate another candidate to the party members.
  4. Party Members elect the candidate whom the party nominates to the Citizens.
  5. Citizens can elect the party’s nominee to the government office at the general election in November.

Let’s talk more about excluding government officials from party membership. Remember that

We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. (Doctrine and Covenants 121: 39)

When a political party is popular enough that its candidates win government offices, that party is closer to government than any other type of organization so it is closer than any other type of organization to the corrupting influence of the power within government. experience clearly shows that a political party needs defenses against corrupting influence that most other types of organization do not. In a conventional party, the leaders are often candidates for public offices, people who want to become candidates for public office in the future, or people who want to please government officials so those officials hire them as staffers, consultants, etc. All of these motives of conventional party leaders impel them to make their party as successful as possible at winning elections and thus getting its candidates into public offices.

Conventional thinking within the ruling class has long been that the easiest way to win elections is to tell the swing voters in the middle of the political spectrum what those swing voters want to hear. Because people who wish to win elections to stay in (or to get in) public offices lead conventional parties, those conventional parties have generally stood for what is popular. Therefore, when the majority of the voters preferred wrong to right, conventional candidates for public offices generally have stood on the wrong side of the issue.

On the other hand, rank and file members who are active are typically contributing their time in the hopes of pulling the party’s candidates toward their own stands on issues, stands influence by moral or constitutional principles or both.

The party members typically want the party to stand for what is right. In order to make winning elections as easy as possible, the elite tend to want their party to stand for what is popular. Whenever what is right and what is popular are different, the party members and their leaders conflict. When a clash of wills occurs between the elites and the rank and file members of the party, the party members should win the struggle.
Persons other than People’s Party members can neither nominate nor vote for the candidates the Party places on its ballot line, nor can person’s other than party members nominate or vote in the choice of members of the Candidate Nominating Committee, so People’s Party members do not merely participate actively selecting the Party’s candidates, rather, the party members have undiluted control. Since the process for the selection of People’s Party officers is similar to the process for the selection of People’s Party Candidates for public offices, party members likewise have undiluted control over the choice of party officers not merely active participation. People’s Party members also have greater control than members of conventional parties over bylaw amendments. People’s Party members directly choose the members of any bylaws committee the party may have and directly debate and vote on the amendments themselves.

In addition to undiluted control over officer selection, candidate selection and bylaw amendments, People’s Party members have other means of controlling the direction their party goes. While the Bylaws are the highest rules of the People’s Party (because there is no separate constitution of the party), the party does have other, lesser rules. Party Members debate and vote on those other rules as they do the Bylaws. The approval of People’s Party members is also required for the Party to make any statement to the citizenry, for the party to spend any money or for the party to ask any one to volunteer his time or effort. In summary, the People’s Party follows the principle that no elite person or group can override a party member’s will. Party members can override the will of other party members by majority rule for example, but otherwise, the party does nothing against the will of a party member.

Party Member Responsibilities

… a certain man, being called Amlici, … a wise man as to the wisdom of the world…—Now this Amlici had, by his cunning, drawn away much people after him … and they began to endeavor to establish Amlici to be a king over the people. Now this was alarming to the people of the church, and also to all those who had not been drawn away after the persuasions of Amlici; for they knew that according to their law that such things must be established by the voice of the people. Therefore, if it were possible that Amlici should gain the voice of the people, he, being a wicked man, would deprive them of their rights and privileges of the church; for it was his intent to destroy the church of God…. they did assemble themselves together to cast in their voices concerning the matter …. And it came to pass that the voice of the people came against Amlici, that he was not made king over the people.(Alma 2:1-7)

Would these Nephite saints have succeeded in stopping the efforts of Amalici if the saints had stayed home or focused on their private concerns? The prophet-historian Mormon–who compiled and edited the passage immediately above–does not tell us that Amlici openly admitted he would destroy the church of God if he obtained enough power, Mormon only tells us that destroying the church was Amlici’s intent. Righteous Nephites may have realized how wicked Amlici was only because they had done their duty as citizens or in other words, only because they had researched the issues and candidates and prayed about them as prophets and apostles in our own dispensation urge us to do.

Just as the Nephites could stay out from under the rule of tyrants anciently only by their political participation, modern Utahns can stay out from under the rule of tyrants only by our political participation. People’s Party candidates will get many votes only when party members campaign for those candidates. If the People’s Party members do not tell their neighbors about the party’s candidates, those neighbors will go to the polls without even knowing there is a People’s Party and that it has candidates those neighbor could support. If the neighbors do not know these things, then certainly they will not realize that People’s Party candidates stand for the right better than do the candidates of other parties.

It is important to realize that church members were not alone in their opposition to the ambitions of Amlici and his supporters. The wording

…they [Amlici supporters] began to endeavor to establish Amlici to be a king over the people. Now this was alarming to the people of the church, and also to all those who had not been drawn away after the persuasions of Amlici (from verses 2 & 3 quoted above)

indicates there were Nephites other than the “people of the church” who realized that having Amlici as their king would be a bad thing.

Just as the “people of the Church” had allies in their struggle against Amlici, modern People’s Party members have allies in our struggle to advocate the Lord’s interests on Earth. There are other minor parties that advocate liberty better than do the major parties. We plan a formal, organized coalition to include members of all these minor parties and have that organization campaign for the candidates of all these proliberty parties. We expect our Party members participate in both the party and in this Limited Government Coalition (LGC). We endorse the Coalition’s philosophy of Activistocentric Campaigning. To learn more about Activistocentric Campaigning, we urge you to visited the Coalition’s website, (LimitedGovernmentCoalition.Wordpress.com)

If you fear you cannot do your duties, please review what we explain on the Citizens Page. We do discuss there how you can succeed. If you feel that you know a better way to get good government than God does, an easier way, a faster way, etc., then we urge you to ponder the words of Nephi the son of Lehi:”O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth call things, and there is not anything save he knows it.” (2 Nephi 9:20) If there were an easier or faster way, He would know it. We do not believe that He would have given us the instructions He has given if there were any easier or faster way to get good government. You might point out that God’s authorized representatives have not said that everyone should take part in the People’s Party specifically. If you prefer to rely on a party that has repeatedly disappointed you in the past, you may to do so. If you want to please your Father in Heaven by doing your duties as a citizen, we recommend that you take part in the Party that was designed to accommodate your righteous desires.

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