Utah caucuses vs March Madness: Who wins?

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The first step in picking the Utah candidates that you'll vote for in the Fall begins this week at the Republican and Democratic caucus meetings. The problem is those meetings typically have a dismal turnout and that allows very few have a powerful say in politics.

There are plenty of factors working against a strong turnout. For some, they're just not interested. For others, they don't think they have voice in Utah politics. For a select few, it's sports.

It's a difficult question: Is it worth it to spend your time watching March Madness or a possibly dull, but important, political meeting?

Party leaders are making a play for sports fans who aren't quite convinced their caucus vote counts.

I am going...being proactive in politics is more than the 'like' button..you have to get out and be a little social.

–Brian Kelly, Facebook post

"I think the reason why a lot of people wouldn't go is because they think Mitt Romney is going to win," Sean Bingham, a college basketball fan.

Instead of turning out to the meetings, they stay home and watch the game. But that doesn't convince Republican Party Chair Thomas Wright.

"You're only going to miss half a game," Wright said. "There are plenty of other games to watch."

Democratic Pary Chair Jim Dabakis argues there is a lot of meaning in those caucus meetings.

"Everything from the President of the United States down to the city council, it all starts right there at the caucus meeting," Dabakis said. "They are extraordinarily important in our system of government."

Depends on how BYU does tomorrow!

–Jon Earl, Facebook post

So important that there isn't much room to complain if your political candidate loses but your sports team wins, according to Wright.

"If you don't come because you'd rather watch March Madness, what you're saying is ‘I'm okay with somebody speaking for me,'" Wright said.

A KSL Facebook poll and asked people what they plan on doing and most said they're going to the caucus meetings.

Brian Kelly wrote "I am going...being proactive in politics is more than the 'like' button…you have to get out and be a little social."

Still, that desire to see the game lingers. Jon Earl wrotethat it "depends on how BYU does tomorrow."

"My guess is March Madness ratings will do better than the election results," Dabakis said.

The Democratic caucus is Tuesday night while the Republican caucus is scheduled for Thursday night.

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Lori Prichard


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