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View Diary: Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 6/20 (178 comments)

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  •  So this should probably have its own diary, but (0+ / 0-)

    Recently a top Utah political writer in made fun (insulting jokes, not genuinely funny references) of the Utah Dems, then when people criticized him, pointed out that Dems refuse to "take a look at their party and try to figure out why they are a super-minority in the Legislature and basically an afterthought in Utah politics". However, he didn't elaborate on this point, other than to say that Dems have lost the last 26 statewide elections in a row.

    So I want to ask the election-minded Kossacks what the Utah Dems are doing wrong, and what they could do to fix it. Obviously in many of the rural areas in Utah there's nothing to be done, but in the more populated areas, what can be done?

    Keep in mind though, that both an aggressively centrist Dem (Jim Matheson), and a somewhat liberal Dem with only a veneer of moderation (Ben McAdams) won elections in Utah in 2012 with the Romney wave hitting them. And both liberal and moderate Dems lost and won in the legislature elections last year.

    Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

    by Gygaxian on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 02:07:35 PM PDT

    •  Step One (7+ / 0-)

      Don't primary moderate Democrat incumbents. This happened notably last year when Hispanic Liberal Liz Muniz decided that it would be an excellent idea to primary the conservadem incumbent of House District 33, Neal Hendrickson who had held the district for the past 20 years. The district has a large minority population, however, the district is still majority white.
      In the end, she defeated him in the primary, and naturally the district fell to the GOP in November. Had Hendrickson been the nominee, Democrats would have likely retained this district due to the narrowness of the GOP victory and Hendrickson's strong incumbent status being able to pull him over the line, as it had done for the past 20 years. Great work Liz!

      •  I honestly think the Romney wave is to blame (0+ / 0-)

        for that specific defeat. With or without Hendrickson, it would've been a fairly easy (not double digits, but probably 3-5%) win if Romney hadn't been on the ballot. It's a moderate, but moderately Democratic district, IIRC. I don't think Liz Muniz is to blame at all, though I do think she should've been better at GOTV in the Hispanic and Polynesian communities. We probably need a new candidate that isn't Hendrick or Muniz anyways.

        HD 33 is actually probably a good political laboratory to experiment and see what works and what doesn't.

        Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

        by Gygaxian on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 11:17:24 PM PDT

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    •  what exactly was the controversy? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lordpet8, skibum59, ArkDem14, Gygaxian

      It wasn't funny, but it wasn't offensive either.  He certainly kicked a group while they were down, but the humor was targeted towards actual issues, lack of Utah dems, only victorious in one area, few successes in recent years, (matheson ofc and McAdams, but the GOP does still hold almost all the cards).  Was he normally a reporter or an editor?  that would make sense, since opinion is supposed to be closed off from other sections, but aside from that, the worst thing he did was make fun of a weak or possibly moribund political party and their issues.  not exactly horrible.

      NH-02. First time living in NH, waiting for the candidates to start a courting.

      by DougTuttle on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 03:03:20 PM PDT

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      •  Well, he was kind of a d-bag (0+ / 0-)

        And this isn't the first time he's been derisive (even though he's supposedly to be a fairly objective reporter) towards Democrats. I just don't think mocking a tiny, weak, somewhat disenfranchised (in terms of gerrymandering) group is at all funny.

        He doesn't attack the Republicans with such terms, even when they are acting crazy.

        Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

        by Gygaxian on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:57:08 PM PDT

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    •  well (5+ / 0-)

      neither McAdams or Matheson ran statewide last year, and that's 1 big limiting factor to them showing Dems can win. McAdams won in one of the best counties for Dems, and Matheson won in the most Democratic of the congressional districts.

      The reality is that things need to really change in order for Democrats to matter more. This is basic stuff you already know:
      1. There need to be more Democrats. It's a basic truth. In order to consistently be competitive outside of strong candidates who occasionally pop up like Matheson, you need a stronger, broader base who will turn out in every election.
      2. You need Mormons. Non-Mormons make up a disproportionate amount of the Dem vote, but they are not enough.
      3. You need moderates. Pretty much all of them. Plus some conservatives. This means that you need prominent enough moderate to conservative Democrats like Matheson who make clear that the Utah Dem Party is moderate and makes room for conservatives, and if they're elected to state government that they'll be centrist and responsible. What Republicans have to say in deep blue states.
      4. You need progressives, non-whites, and non-Mormons. They're the natural base, and you're going to need to turn them out to. This means the same kind of outreach as to moderates, but obviously saying something different to them. It means running candidates who appeal to those groups in elections where it is possible for them to actually win, like a progressive in Salt Lake City, which will boost turnout there among progressives, and hopefully they'd then vote for a moderate Dem for governor or something. You need to run up the score in the base.

      Policies that make Utah more appealing to your core base groups, so more move there, would also be great. If you can make them happen with Republicans in power.

      ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

      by James Allen on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 03:08:03 PM PDT

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      •  Good points (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Allen

        I already agreed with most of them, but I'm going to respond to them as a Utahn myself.

        1. The growing Hispanic population should help with that; they're fairly liberal (probably a mix between Texas Latino and California Latinos in terms of partisan lean). I'm wondering if the large refugee (and rising refugee-turned-citizen) population could be turned towards the Democrats... West Valley City certainly seems like a fertile place for Democratic registration.

        2. I'm hoping the new Mormon Democrat organization will help with that a bit, but yeah, we need Mormons. And we need to stop being passive-aggressive (or openly aggressive) towards Mormons. Stop having most of the meetings in bars or on Sundays. And shut down any party official or high-ranking party member who needlessly antagonizes Mormons, would help relations a bit.

        3. The problem with that is that same base which provides a loyal group of voters is also the group that provides activists and party leaders, and most of those are SLC liberals, and openly identify as such. We don't really have a moderate "bench" of party leaders, though we certainly have moderate candidates in non-SLC areas. The problem is that they don't get recognized as moderates; there's the cultural meme that all Utah Dems who aren't Jim Matheson are all Rocky Anderson/national Democratic types. It's a tautology, since we need to get moderate candidates elected so that we can show we're moderate and good for Utah instead of "liberal extremists", but we can't get candidates elected because they're seen as national Democrats. How do we overcome that?

        4. Of course, and there's definitely Hispanic outreach (in the case of Liz Muniz, maybe a bit too much at the cost of moderate whites), which helps.

        4b. Sure, but when the media ignores us, it's rather hard to promote policies that Utahns like. And the Republicans refusing to let popular bills (like same-day registration) go to even a committee vote is not helpful.

        Another problem seems to be that many Democratic candidates have no media/boots-on-the-ground presence whatsoever. We barely compete, and get no coverage at all in any news source. Heck, I barely knew who the candidate was in my State House district; he wasn't even on the radar.

        Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

        by Gygaxian on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:00:34 AM PDT

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        •  that's the thing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gygaxian

          you guys pretty much just need to be better at everything, and have more voters. One of the good things is that in recent years SLC seems to have developed a really good reputation nationally as having a high quality of life, so I think it will continue to draw more and more people who aren't conservatives or Mormons.

          ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

          by James Allen on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:01:32 AM PDT

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          •  That'd be great, but (0+ / 0-)

            A lot of people work in SLC and live in the conservative suburb cities (because it's expensive to live in SLC). That's a problem, because living in a conservative suburb tends to reinforce conservatism. So SLC alone can't draw enough people to do anything of importance in state politics.

            Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

            by Gygaxian on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:16:46 PM PDT

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