Newspaper Page Text
A Primary Election System.
Oregon. Idaho's next door neighbor on the west, through the privilege of the initiative, which it en joys, bestowed upon itself, four years ago, a pri mary election law. It is so good a law that the machine element within the parties of the State are still endeavoring to nullify some of its requirements, for in Oregon the machine is tightly bottled up arid the cork thrown away. The basic argument of the Oregon law is that political parties and voluntary political organiza tions are necessary under the American form of government and are entitled to all the encourage ment and protection that legislation and common usage can bestow'. That the majority represented by a party or voluntary organization should prevad through the open exercise of its inherent rights. It is therefore declared to be the purpose of the Oregon primary election law to better secure and preserve the rights of political parties and organi zations. All persons not otherwise and selfishly in terested will agree that the Oregon plan is a vast improvement on the plan that places the control and direction of political parties in the hands of a few busy men. The bill for the law of Oregon was so satisfactory to the people that they enacted it by a vote of 56,285 for to 16,354 against. It provides for the nomina tion by election of all candidates for official posi tions except presidential, municipal ( in cities of less than 2,000 inhabitants) and school. It substitutes ror the caucus and the convention an election fullv " as carefully guarded as an election at which candi dates previously nominated are voted into office. The stock objections to the system in Oregon, as well as in other primary law Stater, are that it is cumbersome and expensive. But long experience has fully demonstrated that in no other way can real self government be maintained, and real self government is worth the price. Under the primary system, the will of the majority, represented by party or other organization, is carried out. Under the caucus and convention system, the will of only a small fraction of the majority is carried out, for the people do not habitually rise against party on election days. Therefore, under the eus and convention system, the cost of the succeed ing election represents money thrown away. The election could as well be omitted, for it only con firms a conspiracy concocted by a few politicians, who have learned that party loyalty will endorse any scheme that bears the party label. So the first, or primary, election has become neces sary, that the election that elects may not continue to be an undemocratic farce—a travesty on the name of free government—obedience to the monarchy that bears the unwholesome name of "the machine." can The primary election law of Oregon contains two provisions that are original and unique, but they become very satisfactory everywhere, outside of ma chine circles, after being subjected to the consid cration their importance warrants. They are des ; g nated in the law as "Statement No. 1" and "State ment No. 2. Even' candidate of any party for a seat in the State Legislature may subscribe to one statement or the other, making his own choice. Statement No. 1 reads as follows : . During my term of office, I shall consider the vote of the people for United States Senator in Congress as nothing more than a recommendation, which I shall be at liberty to wholly disregard if the reason for doing so seems to me to be sufficient. ° Complying with the terms of the first statement, a Legislature exhibiting a large Democratic ma ,onty would be compelled to elect a Rep,,bl,can as its United States Senator, or a Legislature exhibit , Dir • •„ ,, , „ , ing a large Republican majority would be compelled s 1 J p I further state to the people of Oregon, as well as to the people of my legislative district, that during :nv term of office I will always vote for l hat didate for United States Senator in Congress who has received the highest number of the people's votes for that position at the general election next can pre ceding the election of a Senator in Congress, without regard to my individual preference. Statement No. 2 reads as follows : to elect a Democrat to the position of United States Senator. Under the teachings of a long period of party fealty, this plan appears at first glance to be too unreasonable for consideration. But it is the most reasonable proposition that was ever agreed to by a voting constituency. The Legislature submerges its individuality and carries out the will of the people whom it serves. It becomes purely the agent of the people, and is not for sale. Senatorships could not be bought in a Legislature committed to the first statement, and a legislative candidate who had subscribed to the second statement, instead of the first, would hardly expect to be elected. The Oregon primary election law is democratic throughout. It admits of the largest exercise of government by the people, without intruding upon political beliefs. It gives every party a chance ac cording to its numbers and every citizen an oppor tunity to participate in the government to which he submits his allegiance. It is an enactment worth the serious consideration of the people of Idaho, wdio are due to join the pro cession of the progressive States. They will con clude by the time the caucuses and conventions of 1908 are over that they need a comprehensive pri mary election law more than they need anything else. Assailing Their Helpers. In a speech delivered in the United States Sen ate shortly before he retired from that body, Sena tor Kearns, of Utah, said that he too was deceived by the promises of the leaders of the Mormon church, as were all the others who consented to the return of the Mormon church to political power. Mr. Kearns said that "Utah was admitted to state hood after, and because of, a long series of pledges exacted from the Mormon leaders, the like of which had never before been known in American history." It was his opinion that, but for these pledges and their acceptance, statehood would have been denied the Mormon Territory. He pledged his word as a Senator of the United States that he believed those pledges to consist of— First—That the Mormon leaders would live with in the laws pertaining to plural marriage and the continued plural marriage relation and that they would enforce this obligation upon all their fol lowers, under penalty of disfellowship. Second—That the leaders of the Mormon church would no longer exercise political sway and that their followers would be free and would their freedom in politics, in business and in social affairs. exercise Continuing, Senator Kearns said : As a citizen and a Senator I give my word of honor to you that I believed that these pledges would be kept in the spirit in which Congress and the country accepted them and that there would be any violation, evasion, concerning them. Utah secured her statehood by a solemn com pact made by the Mormon leaders in behalf of them selves and their people. 2. That compact has been broken willfully and frequently. . Xo apostle of the Mormon church has public ly protested against that violation. I know the grav ity of the utterances that I have just made. I know what are the probable consequences to myself. But I have pondered long and earnestly on the subject and have come to the conclusion that duty to the innocent people of my state and that obligation to the Senate and the country require that I shall clearly define my attitude. never denial or equivocation 1 . 3 Senator Kearns knew that the consequences would be his retirement from the Senate and he measured ^ Kni t ^ )rrcct b.. f° r he uas overthrown by the P OJl tical power that the church had promised abandon when it accepted the terms that were named as the price of statehood. The same terms would i iavp k ppi1 „r f -, . . , . nave been exacted of any territory seeking admiss j on to t j ie union A1I that was said bv Senator Kearns in relation to Utah applies with equaI forcc to I(|a| which wa<; , r i m ; ttw i „ i 0f . , , Ti was admitted under like pledges. Its promises were i ■ , r , . , , F accepted in good faith and the loyal support extend same to ed by leading Gentiles of the state has been turned against them through an exhibition of the species of ingratitude that prompted the church to betray its faithful helpers. Gentile leaders believed the church and its fol lowers to be sincere. They said so to the public. The church was not sincere and now the guarantee of the Gentile leaders is turned upon those who vouched for the church. same The end of the investigation of the public printer at Washington has produced his resignation, Mr. Stillings having withdrawn from the service with the consent of the President. Another public scandal run dowm, and the cry is, still they come. 4* 4* 4* Instead of saying that Senator Borah and twelve others defeated the railroad bond provision in the currency bill, how w'ould it do to say that twelve others and Senator Borah accomplished the feat? Senator LaFollette appears to be somewhat impli cated. 4r 4* 4* Chairman Brady, of the Idaho Republican mittee, w'as in Salt Lake City last w'eek and of course he will be charged by the inconsiderate with having gone there to confer with the hierarchy about the perfectly lovely nomination he is to confer up on himself. But the inconsiderate will be Zion spoke before Brady spoke, amateur. com wrong. He is not an 4* 4? 4* Basing its query on the fact that several Mor mon missionaries have been kicked out of Switzer land, the Washington Times wants to know if lib erty has perished in the model republic. It certain ly is time for some of the Jack-Mormons of Ada county to give a part of their attention to Switzer land. Idaho is not the only fragment of the earth in which the people are registering kicks against the brethren of the harem. 4? 4? 4* Congress is quarreling over the location in Wash ington of the statute of General Grant, ordered some years ago by that body. A faction favors the high ground north of the Treasury building Pennsylvania avenue, in the midst of the best arch itecture of the city. Another faction favors the claimed morass of the low ground of the botanic garden, adjoining the capitol enclosure and bounded on three sides by the poorest architecture of the city. 4* 4* 4* In those sections of the world in which the laws of the United States and of the states prevail, the following item from the Moab, Utah, Times would convey no unusual significance : L. Hardy Redd of Bluff passed through Moab Thursday, on his way home from Salt Lake City. Mr. Redd was accompanied by Miss Susie Thomp son of Baltimore, Md., who was converted by Mr. Redd while on a mission a couple of years ago. Miss Thompson will make her home with L. H. Redd and wife hereafter. on re 4» 4* 4* In the Supreme Court of the United States the decision of the Federal Circuit Court at Kansas City against the Armour, the Swift and the Cudahy packing concerns, charging them with rebating, has been affirmed. The fine of $15,000 against each pany stands. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad company for participation in the same offense was also given by the Supreme Court. com A concurrent decision against the 4* 4* 4* Hero Hobson, once of the navy and of an inter esting adventure at Santiago, now a plain congress man from Alabama, testified in the Lilley enquiry before a house committee that a representative of the Electric Boat Company told him the company had enough influence with Speaker Cannon to secure him a place on the committee on naval affairs. All that Hobson had to do was to "stand right" on sub Mr. Cannon's favorite marine contracts. word would be appropriate at this stage of the game. swear