Comments about ‘Richard Davis: Can Democratic Party turn itself around to win back Utah voters?’

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Published: Wednesday, March 26 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

I emphatically disagree with Professor Davis. One of the reasons for the rightward shift of American politics is a Democratic Party which cares more about electing Democrats than supporting the working class - middle and lower income people who struggle to make ends meet. The national Democratic Party has been complicit in the maldistribution of wealth in this country, being apologetic about leftist politics, allowing right-wingers to define the debate.

I want a Utah Democratic Party which at least verbally defends the interests of labor, women, and the economically stressed. You say that such Democrats can't be elected. So what? We already have one Republican Party we don't need another.

Just electing Democrats, without substance, is not going to get the job done. I joined the Socialist Party USA after giving up on both the national and Utah Democratic Parties.

If you want to know what LDS are expected to think just read this editorial page regularly. They are expected to oppose Obamacare, view organized labor negatively, oppose SSM, be oblivious to the top heavy distributions of wealth and income. This doesn't give Democrats anything to work with.

Far East USA, SC

"When a political party gives up on winning elections, it no longer reaches out to the voters."

And when a political party cant lose an election, it also has no need to reach out to the voters.

I understand why Utah is solidly Red. But, a one party state is not beneficial in national elections. The GOP cant lose, and the Dems cant win. Why bother to court Utah?

Compare that to Iowa.

salt lake city, utah

So basically the good professor is promoting a local democratic party that is against women's rights and workers rights, but is for the rights of corporations and the absolute unfettered activities of religions.

And this would represent democratic principles how?

Actually the Utah democratic party is divided into two sections. Those Mormon Democrats who are Democrats by family tradition, but believe, act, and vote as Republicans, and the non Mormon Democrats who believe, act, and vote as Democrats.

Forty years ago the social divide in the country was not what it is today and the divide in the two parties was not what it is.

Civil Rights was just gaining a foot hold, Women's rights the same and it's that very progress the good professor wants us to deny in order to go back to the "good old days".

No thanks sir.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

The problem for voters in my state and Utah is the Democrat party platform, period! What they stand for is in direct opposition to everything most voters in Red states esteem to be important and conflicts with our highest values. In other words, we have value conflicts with Demos. People who compromise their values have no values!

Far East USA, SC

"People who compromise their values have no values!"

Talk about buying into the party line.

So, how about detailing out the values. Maybe just 3 or 4.

Then look at the elected Republicans in this country along with the general Republican electorate.

I will take a shot at what the "values" you may be talking about. Feel free to correct me.

Abortion? You believe that the general GOP population wants to outlaw abortion? Not according to the poles

Gay Marriage? What percentage of self proclaimed GOP voters are opposed to all abortions?
Universal Background checks for guns? Check out those polls. Americans, including Republicans overwhelmingly favor that.

The GOP controlled all 3 branches of Govt for 6 years under GW Bush.
What did they accomplish, or even attempt to accomplish on your "values"

Yes, one can make an argument for voting Republican based on "more aligned", but to paint this as black and white between R and D is fairyland.

Springville, UT

There are two problems. Until they are addressed, nothing will change. First, LDS culture is intertwined with the Republican Party. It didn't used to be that way. Beginning in the early 1970s, the GOP has usurped the church, and the church has allowed it to happen despite a weak attempt by Marlin Jensen to reverse it. Congressman Jim Hansen viciously attacked Elder Jensen and the effort went away. The GOP=LDS culture is reinforced daily by this newspaper. In the end, this mutual identification will be counterproductive to the interests of the Church. The second problem is with the Utah Democratic Party itself. It eschews Mormons and has allowed itself to be the non-Mormon party. Several years ago, I heard a state party chairman say that over his dead body would be allow a Mormon to the the party candidate for Governor. Hello? So many LDS Democrats have basically withdrawn from politics and the party is left with virtually nothing in an LDS dominated state. My hopes for a two party system are gone. Non-LDS Democrats don't want Mormons, and the Church system doesn't seem to want to fix things. So, here we are.

salt lake city, UT

I agree with Thid Barker that voters in Utah, Idaho and other red states have problems with the Democrat's platform. But, it's not because of their "high values", instead its due to their different values and priorities. The GOP has the "low information" voter locked up. The best chance the Democrats have of courting more local support is to continue to win national elections and be who they are. Look no further than SLC, it was once red too. But as outsiders moved in, the city became more progressive and it is at the point that a Republican has little chance of winning the mayorship. Utah is progressing, rather slowly, but look at SLC and Moab as examples where voters have shunned the GOP and the policies and values they offer.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

FT: The reason Demos win in blue states is because of entitlements, not values. Of course entitlements must eventually be paid for which is why if you value self reliance, family values, freedom and personal achievement, you probably will not vote Democratic.

Far East USA, SC

"The reason Demos win in blue states is because of entitlements, not values"

So, then why are Republicans winning in the states that have the most NON federal income tax payers?

Top 10 states with people who pay ZERO federal income tax. You know. A large chunk of the 47% that Romney was talking about.

Not one blue state in the mix.

New Mexico
South Carolina

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I didn't see anything I disagreed with in the letter. It made logical sense to me.

But I see some totally disagree with his analysis.

I guess that's why they call it the "Opinion Section".

Burke, VA

Marxist - While I totally agree with your assessment that the Democratic Party in Utah and the national party have abandoned the principles of Franklin Roosevelt and other who were trying to safe the country by bolstering the lower and middle classes, I have take exception with your assertion that this or any other newspaper is the voice of "what LDS are expected to think." Any member of the LDS church who thinks that way is not following the precepts taught in church and elsewhere throughout the church. Many will scoff at my statement but the ONLY thing taught by church leaders about political issues is as follows:

The Church does not:

Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.
Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to.
Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.

The Church does:

Encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens in their communities.

Anyone who advocates otherwise is misinformed. Progressive politics is more closely related to LDS church doctrine than conservative politics. Joseph Smith said, "I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves."

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT


"I understand why Utah is solidly Red." I don't. Well, I guess I do, but probably for a different reason than you do. If most Latter-day Saints understood Republican economic ideas and the inevitable results they will produce, they would be abhorred and would probably stop voting blindly for self-proclaimed conservative candidates. It's amazing the damage voter ignorance can create.

salt lake city, UT

@ Joe Blow
Your analysis will fall on death ears. When the GOP finally starts to acknowledge our country's problems and opportunities and offer up real solutions that they can get thru congress and signed by the WH they'll get America's support. Until that time, they'll continue to believe all the talking points of entitlements and low information voters.

UT Brit
London, England


The editorial stance of this church owned paper is a direct contradiction to that statement.

Far East USA, SC


I agree with you but I do not believe that "economic ideas" are the number one issue for many in Utah or in the GOP base.

When one looks historically, the parties do not differ greatly on how they govern concerning economics. That is why there is such a push to put social issues on the forefront.

Our politicians would much rather differentiate the parties based on SSM and Abortion and discuss those issues than have to talk about what they would do differently concerning SS and Medicare.

I guess that what I am saying is that if I were deeply religious, I would lean GOP, although I do not see a night and day difference. It probably comes down more to packaging. Because the realities are much more nuanced than concrete.

2 bits. I do not disagree with the article.

However, he writes that

"Instead, it becomes focused on other priorities such as ideological purity, and therefore narrows its base rather than broadens it."

I see this statement as much more applicable to the GOP nationally along with the Dems in Utah.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

Mr. Davis glosses over two of the main reasons many Utahans won’t vote dem and totally misses the third. Most Utahans do not support abortion on demand or gay marriage, and those two points are central to dems. He glosses over these and says dems just haven’t marketed themselves well enough. Then he says we really don’t want conservative solutions, we just don’t want dems.

He totally missed that we refuse to buy the “dependency on government for all good” that is the central dem tenet. Abortion on demand (publicly funded), gay marriage, and government as the fount of all good are the dem tenets we reject.

These tenets are central to the dem desire to privatize the gain and socialize the risk.

Want to engage in reckless and/or irresponsible behavior? Don’t worry, have fun, dems will make sure someone else pays for your contraceptives or abortion or AIDS drugs.

Families don’t matter as long as you feel good about yourself right now – let society pick up the pieces of the long term mess you create.

Got a problem? Only GOVERNMENT can fix it

THAT is why dems lose here.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Burke, VA
Many will scoff at my statement but the ONLY thing taught by church leaders about political issues is as follows:

The Church does not:

Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.
Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to.
Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.

The Church does:

Encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens in their communities.

10:15 a.m. March 26, 2014


True and Agreed --

There is an entire generation of Utah Mormons who heard Ezra T. Benson --
and his words echo 50 years later.

1 of 2 things will need to happen --

1. This generation dies off, and the ship rights itself.

2. The Global Church -- majority of Saints who live outside of Utah, and the United States.

BTW -- I went to our GOP caucus meeting.
A very outspoken member of my ward stated this --

"If the EPA is for it, then I'm against it!"

This sort of blind partisan hatred -- the kind that trumps Right over Wrong -- will doom the Latter-Day Saints.

BTW ... he won the delegate vote.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

“A dem party opposed to women’s and workers’ rights, and unfettered activities of religion”. You oppose the 1st amendment?

You must have read a different article than what was written – I see none of that there. Nor in GOP positions – just boogeymen created by dems to keep the ill-informed voters in their camp.

In the 1970s the GOP usurped the church? HAHAHAHA. That is when dems embraced abortion and thereby alienated most LDS. I laud Elder Jensen and Pres Faust (RIP) for retaining their membership in a party that you correctly say directs extreme bigotry and hatred in their direction. I applaud their quixotic attempts to try to restore/maintain some morality in the dem party.

The dems have the low information voters locked up, hence BO’s re-election

If you do not understand why the GOP has Utah locked up, I guess you do not understand how anathema abortion and SSM are to most Utahans. If someone is so wrong on something so basic, how can we expect them to be right on something more complex? If they say 2+2=7, I cannot their accept their algebraic conclusions.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Don't much care if Democrats win or not. I'm a Democrat because of one principle: We're all in this together. By contrast, the Republican principle is: You're on your own. Good for the Republicans. I prefer my principle.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Open Minded Mormon,
RE "If the EPA is for it, then I'm against it!"... and judging people based on your political stereotypes, what other people say/do, etc...

No doubt you think because this guy said that... it applies to all people of his "type" (Republicans, Utahns, whatever).

In reality all that means is... one guy thinks that. But you pretend it validates your whole stereotype of people of his "type".


Here's something that contradicts your stereotype (Utahns hate the EPA, Republicans hate the EPA, Mormons hate the EPA, or whatever)...

Michael Leavitt was head of the EPA. He's a Utahn. He's a Republican. He's a Mormon. See... your stereotypes don't work!

Stereotyping people never works (not just your lame stereotypes). It's just a shortcut practice of generalizing people and grouping them to fit nicely into your preconceived assumptions of them... but they don't work in reality, because in reality, people don't always fit your mold or your assumptions about them.

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