Scrap the caucus system

It’s time to face the facts: the 2020 Iowa caucus was nothing short of a disaster. Because of inconsistencies with the process and delayed results, the already dangerously fragmented Democratic Party today looks even more unsure of its future direction (for once at least, through no fault of the candidates).

The caucus system is old-fashioned and impractical. Despite claims that a younger and more diverse group of people than ever are participating in it this time around, the logistical difficulties of caucusing mean that so many have been discouraged or outright prevented from voting because they have family or work responsibilities, a disability or other obstacles keeping them from spending hours engaged in political haggling with strangers.

The Maine Democratic Party, which has moved to a presidential primary but will still hold its own caucus in March, should take a lesson from this failure of democracy to provide equal representation. It should move squarely into the 21st century, and completely scrap its caucus system in favor of simple, anonymous paper ballots. What is there to lose?

Jason Moreau

Orrington

What I expected from Sen. Collins

Given her status as a senior member of the U.S. Senate, I expected Sen. Susan Collins to have the leadership skills to gather and persuade many senators to renounce Mitch McConnell’s plans for a rushed and incomplete impeachment trial. Instead, she seemingly tried to convince Mainers that meeting with a small group meant doing something meaningful. Her milquetoast pronouncement about supporting witnesses and documents, rather than a full-throated call demanding all elements of a real trial, placed her squarely on the side of a cover-up.

In my mind, Collins first proved her loyalty to McConnell and President Donald Trump over loyalty to our country when she voted “no” on fair trial rule amendments to start the proceedings. Her apparent willingness to go along with plans to keep relevant witnesses and evidence off the table initially demonstrates that she lacks the kind of moral compass Mainers expect from their elected leaders.

Gail Leiser

Bangor

No question about impeachment lessons

After watching all those weeks of U.S. House testimony and all that summary of the evidence in front of the U.S. Senate, what an enormous waste of time! I am 78 years old, and I’ve seen it all before during Watergate and Richard Nixon’s stonewalling, Al Capone, the New York City real estate billionaire oligarchs, the dons and capos, Valdimir Putin and others.

Republican representatives and senators seem legitimately and genuinely afraid of crossing President Donald Trump, regardless of what their constituents may think. I suggest that the Republican ticket should simply read: Trump for president and Putin for vice president (forget Mike Pence, he’s history). Why bother to vote? Our democracy has become a mockery.

The subsequent steps in this charade can now be predicted. Lessons that high school and college kids will learn from what they’ve seen on TV: subpoenas can be ignored, appearing to lie about what witnesses saw and heard is OK, smearing the reputations of career federal diplomats is OK, welcoming foreign interference in a U.S. election is OK, all because these things are all in the ” national interest.” So, just do it. Bullies are winners. Any questions?

Gary W. Conrad

Bar Harbor