Rod Miller: State Government Needs To Extricate Itself From Wyoming Political Parties

Columnist Rod Miller writes: No longer should the State of Wyoming have any statutory relationship with any political party within its borders. The business of the State of Wyoming is NOT the business of political parties! And vice versa."

Rod Miller

May 08, 20224 min read

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I don’t believe that enough Wyoming citizens realize just how intricately their state government is entwined with organized political parties. 

For instance, primary elections in which parties select their nominees for statewide office, were created by Wyoming statute for the benefit of these private partisan organizations.

Additionally, much of the internal business of political parties in Wyoming is governed by public statute. 

The parties are constrained by law as to where and when they meet, how they elect party leaders and nominees, and other organizational and procedural aspects which should be the domain of the parties themselves.

The result of this inbreeding between public and private interests manifests itself in the disruption felt by all of us – regardless of political affiliation – when our political parties go batshit crazy

This might be one of those “When in the course of human events…” moments. This weekend’s turmoil and drama at the Wyoming GOP state convention argues for a clean break. Now.

No longer should the sovereign State of Wyoming have any statutory relationship with any political party within its borders. When any party’s dysfunction and disorganization spill over into the general public life of the state, it’s time to build a firewall.

When any private organization – and political parties in Wyoming describe themselves in those terms – tries to solve its internal problems by invoking state law, or tries to prevent internal dissent by resorting to judicial chess moves, then its past time to cut the apron strings.

The business of the State of Wyoming is NOT the business of political parties! And vice versa. In fact, where the two intersect, history teaches us that things get very greasy and weird in a hurry. That needs to change.

The Federalist Papers #10 notwithstanding, the State of Wyoming would be unwise and constitutionally suspect if we outlawed political parties in our state. So that doesn’t seem to be an option.

But we can divorce ourselves from their distracting and damaging partisan nonsense, and its in the state’s best interest to do so. We’ll all breathe a lot easier when we don’t have to deal with their horseshit.

At the next opportunity, the Wyoming Legislature should open up Title 22 in our code, the title that deals with our elections. The Legislature should excise from that title, and any others that pertain, any and all reference to the state’s involvement in partisan activity prior to the general election.

The State of Wyoming should no longer serve as administrative staff to any private partisan organization. We do not offer that service to the Kiwanis, the Rotary Club or Elks. Why should we do that for any other private outfit just because they are political?

Nor should the state impose unrealistic and rigorous conditions on new private organizations, like political parties, that want to engage themselves in the life of their state. The State of Wyoming would do itself a favor by simply making sure the political playing field is level, and then stepping to the sidelines.

If the political parties in the Cowboy State want to conduct a chili cook-off or a spitting contest to determine their candidate for general election, that’s not the state’s business. If they want to play a hand of poker, that should be fine with the rest of us.

Spelling bees? I don’t see a prolbblem with that.

All that the good citizens of Wyoming need from the parties, is a slate of candidates to put on the general election ballot. How they get to that point might sell a lot of popcorn, and it might draw a lot of attention for its pyrotechnics, but it really isn’t the business of the rest of us

And, if the State of Wyoming as a sovereign government, cut the apron strings that bind it to private partisan organizations, resulting in schisms and fractures within that party, would that be a bad thing?

And if we, the citizens of Wyoming, extricated ourselves from those bonds and the result was a bunch of new political parties springing up on that level playing field, would that be a bad thing?

With the number and variety of voices that speak from and for Wyoming, why in the name of everything that is Brown & Gold would we ever settle for something so black and white as only two parties?

Let’s cut the apron strings! Let’s do it!

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Rod Miller

Political Columnist