So, then, limited power corrupts limitedly?
"The extremism of the national Democratic Party poisons the well for
moderate Utah Democrats (who have their own history of religious intolerance
that, to his credit, the new chair is at least attempting to address), but many
Utah Democrats still play Ostrich to that reality. "I would say
this is probably an accurate statement. I have ended up in neither party
because I can't align with either, since neither has a strong moderate side
to themselves anymore. I would love to see a ballot that didn't off party
line voting, and in fact, didn't list the candidates party at all.... that
you had to actually know who you were voting for based on their platform. I don't like term limits. We have a choice every 2, 5 or 6 years.
If the process is corrupt, then fix the process. But to kick good people out
because of a time limit, I don;t see that driving much good. Term limit is just
a career path to becoming lobbyist. We don't need more of them.
@Open Minded Mormon"...and don't look now, but Utah-liban is
leaning and headed that way"That is an incredibly closed-minded
thing to say.I agree with 'Voice of Reason' "the real
elections between the two main schools of thought in Utah were going on in the
GOP caucuses"The extremism of the national Democratic Party
poisons the well for moderate Utah Democrats (who have their own history of
religious intolerance that, to his credit, the new chair is at least attempting
to address), but many Utah Democrats still play Ostrich to that reality. People
will stop voting for Republicans when given a valid reason not to. So far they
don't have much. Democrats can call themselves moderate all they want, or
demand that Jesus was a liberal (when, based upon voting patterns, most
religious voters don't agree that he would be a political liberal) or hope
Republicans implode with scandal - but that is still NOT a reason to vote FOR a
Democrat. Until Democrats in Utah decide to become relevant, the two party
system will continue to be played out in the Republican primaries.
As a conservative Republican, I actually agree that my party has had too much
power for too long in Utah. That doesn't mean I agree with the Democrat
party's positions - mostly I don't - but government only improves when
there is a credible opposition party; then both parties are much more effective
at keeping each other in check. This past year, I went to my GOP
party caucuses for the first time. And far from being a "we all agree"
or groupthink exercise, there was serious and lively debate going on between to
broadly different philosophies - one more Tea Party right-wing, and the other
more moderately conservative. During the meetings, in the hallways during
breaks, people were debating the issues constantly. It was then I realized that
the real elections between the two main schools of thought in Utah were going on
in the GOP caucuses, not in the general elections. So there still is debate
going on, but Utahns simply do not broadly support the Democrat party enough
because the Democrat philosophy is outside the mainstream in Utah. Ideally, the
Democrat Party here would more closely reflect Utah values, which it
doesn't to most Utahns.
Good article. I've been close enough to Republican party politics to be
absolutely appalled and dismayed by what I saw. I'd love to have other
alternatives to vote for.The big problem for me and, I believe, the
majority of Utahns, is that the Republican party platform more closely
represents my view of good government than the Democrat's platform. Every
election I am forced to choose between political practices I don't like and
political philosophies I don't like. Since I personally believe that the
philosophies are more important than the practices, I usually hold my nose and
help vote the same scoundrels back into office.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Professor Davis's article argues that voters can keep politicians from
becoming arrogant where there is one party in power. While I do agree that
"power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely," I believe this
argument is fundamentally flawed where it assumes that these politicians were
not arrogant in the first place - a chicken or the egg type assumption. Having
passed through an intense law and business program I have witnessed first hand
arrogance in embryo. Arrogance begins well-before party politics. So while I do agree that power exacerbates the situation, and absolute power
may exacerbate the situation absolutely, I do not agree that the problem lies
with one-party politics. Whether one-party politics is a good thing for our
state is a separate argument that needs to be and should be addressed.
Tell you what. Let's fix it by doing the same next election.
In government, "Parties" should never be in power as such.Instead, we should form coalition governments that spread the power across
multiple parties that represent the legislative, judicial, and executive
interests of a variety of diverse groups.Instead of each of the
branches of government being "controlled" by one of two parties, each
branch should be a diverse mix of representatives of several parties.At least George Washington seemed to think so...
I have to laugh out loud at much of the stuff I just read! Especially when I see
so much corruption in just one term in the White House. How about in the State
of Washington when the current Governor was elected with enough voter fraud to
secure her victory. No Republicans involved there. The icing on the cake was
when the Washington state legislature enacted laws to prevent voter fraud and
the Governor vetoed the legislation. Seems to me maybe the pot is calling the
kettle black. Would the same hue and cry be heard if the "other" party
was in power for so many terms? I actually agree with PatrickRC that term
limits possibly offers a reasonable solution. Try getting that passed in Utah.
Won't happen there or even in Massachusetts for that matter. Do you get my
If you really want to see a big difference between the Utah Republicans and Utah
Democrats, read these quotations from their recent platforms:Republican State Platform: “All Republican elected officials,
candidates and party officers are expected to endorse these principles and agree
to be held accountable to the people and to the party.”Democratic State Platform: “The ideas expressed in this platform are
collective and do not likely reflect the positions of any single individual. The
Utah Democratic Party is a party of inclusion and diversity, encouraging the
participation of people with differing opinions and backgrounds. We embrace
diversity as a source of strength in our community rather than a reason for
division. As such, we respect the individual conscience of each Utahn on the
issues presented in this platform and welcome the participation of all Utahns
within the Democratic Party.”
Compare their platforms and judge for yourselves.Initiatives: The
Democrats want citizens' initiatives to be easier. Republicans don't
mention initiatives. Having made them more difficult lately they tell us that
we are a republic, not a democracy.Ethics: Democrats prefer more
disclosure, limits on contributions, and not converting campaign money to
personal use. Republicans don't mention ethics.The Environment:
Democrats think it's good for business to protect the environment.
Republicans say, "Market forces should be considered…."War: Both agree that it's OK for self-defense. Democrats add "and
as a last resort." They further want more protection for civilians, minimum
necessary force, humanity towards prisoners, clear objectives, and an exit
strategy. Republicans more willing to fight to protect vital national
interests.Regulation: Democrats want more regulation to prevent
further abuses and meltdowns like the 2008 finance scandal and bailout.
Republicans continue to resist most government regulation.Corrections: Democrats want effective intervention and treatment programs in
jail. Republicans call for "swift and certain punishments" as
deterrents and don't mention other programs except for restitution to
victims.Taxation: Democrats like progressive taxes which tax the
rich at rates higher than the poor. Republicans don't.
I think a good place to start may be term limits for our state legislators.
A post-election study conducted in Dec. by Resurgent Republic, (conservative
think tank), concluded that the market for right-wing ideologues is just not
there anymore:"Republicans have run out of persuadable white
voters. For the fifth time in the past six presidential elections, Republicans
lost the popular vote. Trying to win a national election by gaining a larger and
larger share of a smaller and smaller portion of the electorate is a losing
political proposition."Among registered voters, 28% call
themselves Republicans, a decline of five points since 2004 and only a point
above a record low level of Republican self-identification in 16 years of
polling by the Pew Research Center (38% identify as Democrats and 34%
self-identify as independents). Among voters who now identify as
Republican or Republican-leaning, roughly two-thirds (68%) identify themselves
as conservative, and of the conservatives, three-quarters think the party should
turn further to the right. While a majority of moderates and liberals within the
party advocate a centrist approach (66%), they make up fewer than a third (31%)
of Republican voters overall. As a result, 60% of all Republican voters support
a more conservative direction for the party.
The St George Airport Scam, The I-15 Hush Money The attempt to get taxpayers to
pay for a nuclear plant. The move the prison scam. All these and more to enrich
the rulers and their friends. And still they get elected. They know they dont
even have to make it appear to be doing a good job, they can be as corrupt as
they want and still get elected.
There is an eternal priciple as to why we need at least a 2 party system --- 2 Nephi 2:11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in
all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not
be brought to pass...Totalitarianism can only exist in ONE-party
systems.Nazi GermanyNorth KoreaChinaTalibanSyriaIranCuba...and don't look now, but Utah-liban is
leaning and headed that way.
Thank you, Truthseeker. The Deseret News does in fact lean way to the right.
Examples often include the editorial cartoons, which are overwhelmingly
right-wing. President Obama is often the subject of the cartoons in an
irreverent and harsh way.The DN could become an advocate for
patriotism and respect for government. Unfortunately the paper is neither. As
a veteran (Air Force pilot, 1970-76, including Vietnam), I try to be a patriotic
citizen and not let partisan politics blind me.Our church's
newspaper should also be non-partisan.
re:LDS"Today, it may be necessary for the Church to prod the
membership to be open minded and to recognize the Christ's teachings are
equally found in both parties."The LDS church owned paper, the
Deseret News, gives a defacto endorsement of the Republican Party with how it
covers issues, candidates and its editorial page--few to no moderate voices and
zero moderate left columnists.
The author has done an exceptional job describing political power and arrogance.
It does apply to many of our Utah elected officials. This article
can make a difference. Coming from a notable source, a professor at BYU and
published in the Deseret News. This suggests the LDS Church at least indirectly
sustains the value of this commentary.Now, what needs to happen is
the Church step out and help Utah transition to the American 2-party system of
governance. Behind closed doors, the Church wards and stakes are filled with
discussion that is very right-wing. Obama is a 4-letter word for many
members.Greater empahsis on finding the good in the Democrat
platform and acknowledging the weaknesses of the Republican platform is a
starting point.A hundred years ago the Church actually directed a
certain fraction of members to vote for each of the two parties. Today, it may
be necessary for the Church to prod the membership to be open minded and to
recognize the Christ's teachings are equally found in both parties.
Great column, Richard. I like Frank Herbert's take on Lord Acton: power
doesn't necessarily corrupt; it merely attracts the corruptible.
A thousand of these types of articles could appear in the paper, and it will
make little difference. A voter is not typically going to vote for the other
party just to shake things up. What needs to happen is the democrats in Utah
(or some other party) need to get their message out and show that they are a
better alternative. The best recruitment is having great party leaders that
Utahns can identify with and a party platform that appeals to a majority of
Utahns. The Utah Democratic Party either does not have this or is failing to
make people aware that it has this. For example, I think having an
openly gay leader of the party was a PR mistake in this state. I am not saying
that he is unfit for the job or even disparaging gay people. I am just saying
that the reality in this state is that that was a poor move if gaining votes is
the goal. Another problem is that Utahns too closely associate the
state democratic party with the more left-leaning national party. I wonder if
some new, third party in Utah could finally break into the republican
Foolish letter. We all know that there is NO corruption in Utah. Absolutely
not. All our legislators and government officials are completely honest and
upstanding and beyond temptation.If you dare to think that may not
be true, then that must mean you're a . . . . a . . . . DEMOCRAT!Ugh!
HOw can you force voters to alternate who they vote for. I rarely if ever voted
for democrats. People need a better reason to vote for someone than the other
guy has been in power too long.
The best govt. is when the party in power today knows that it can be out of
power tomorrow.A bit of fear of the public and the knowledge that
everything you do might be exposed to light after the next election cycle is
I agree with the author. Utah Republicans frequently adopt positions that the
majority of Utahns disagree with, and scandalous behavior is increasingly
common.One major obstacle to political balance in Utah is the
misconceptions that abound about the Utah Democratic Party. The values of Utah
Democrats are often more in line with the average Utahn's values than the
Republican Party's values are, but because the same is not true of the
national Democratic Party, the Utah Democratic Party suffers. Too few Utah
voters bother to look at the qualifications and proposals of Democratic
candidates (or Republican candidates, for that matter), relying instead on party
affiliation alone. Consequently, Utah ends up with leaders who are all from the
same party and who therefore believe they can gut GRAMA, scale back Utah's
sex education curriculum, pay kickbacks to losing bidders on highway
construction projects, etc. with impunity.