So as you know, I'm the guy obsessed with Utah politics. It's a weakness of mine, and it's mainly because I can relate with the cities, internal ideas, and demographics mentioned in Utah political news. After all, I live here. Why shouldn't I be concerned about where I live? And I've been a big supporter of the Utah Democratic Party since I started following politics.
But for a while, I've been disappointed in the weakness of the Utah Dems. I feel like they've alienated groups that they could've won, and haven't reached to organizations that could help. It also seems to me that they're too proud and obsessed with "progressive purity" to understand what they must do to win in Utah.
I think the Utah Democratic Party needs to be reformed and changed extensively, and I'll share my thoughts on how below the orange squiggle, but first, I'd like everyone else's thoughts on how the Utah Dems could be improved.
Alright, now that you've all shared your opinions on how to improve the Utah Democratic Party, here's my suggestions.
1) Stop the ridiculous "more progressive than thou" game. I know Utah Dems feel like we should be clearly different from the Utah GOP, and that we should hold fast to, but it's getting to the point that we're turning on each other for one or two deviations. Yes, those may be major issues, but every state party has to deal with moderates/conservatives and progressives on multiple issues. We are damaging ourselves if we fight each other over individual issues. We need moderates, and I don't honestly care if some progressive groups can't stand them. And we can stay progressive in most of our ideals while acting moderate. Look at Ben McAdam's win in the Salt Lake County race. He only won because he appealed to moderates and had a moderate tone. Yet at the same time, he managed to stay almost perfectly progressive otherwise.
2) Stop looking down upon non-SLC (City and County) Dems. I live in Salt Lake County, but I also live in West Jordan, a conservative suburb city of Salt Lake City. I feel that the "core" of the Utah Dems look down upon us, and treat those living in Salt Lake City as "better" than those outside the city. Most of the major party events are in the city, most of the party activists are there, and I think that leads to an atmosphere of arrogance against those not inside the ultra-progressive bubble of SLC. Yes, I understand, most of the support the Utah Dems have comes from that city, but isolating themselves from the rest of the county (not including West Valley, Murray and Midvale of course), is actively harmful to any notion we might have of winning more of the county.
And that's not even including the rest of the state, especially winnable places. Like Weber County; the Utah Dems have not been very good with promoting Weber County Dems at all, despite holding the state convention there. They've basically ignored these areas, and that's quite harmful.
3) Don't purposefully alienate Mormons. The Utah Democratic Party does this way too much. Meeting at bars and similar actions hurts our standing with Mormons. While I realize that we're never going to be known as the "Mormon party" and that we need to appeal to non-Mormons, this is a no-brainer. We won't lose a single non-Mormon voter if we just stop alienating Mormons, and the LDS Dems Caucus is a good first step. But at the moment, it feels like Mormon voters (if not Mormon public officials) are "token" for Utah Dems, rather than a part of our coalition. Being a Mormon Democrat myself, I feel like the Utah Dems aren't taking the absolute need to get even just 10% more Mormon voters seriously. We could win a lot of elections here in Utah if we got more Mormons to vote for us.
4) Give more support to local candidates, and pick better-known ones, rather that "pure progressive" perennial candidate types. Looking specifically at my own State Senate and House districts, that's all who run here. I didn't even know who John Rendell (Dem state senate candidate in my district) was until I did a lot of digging. And he's one of the perennial types who should have a higher profile. Yes, I understand that in many districts, we honestly can't find any other candidates willing to run, but we should be able to at least have someone with a long history in the county and a 30-40% name recognition.
5) Find local groups to build coalitions with. Find anybody who's willing to work with you on an issue that the GOP won't do, and work with them. We need everyone who could possibly help with getting out the vote, and we need specific policies and issues to run on. Local groups can help with that.
6) Don't be so squeamish on targeting Republicans who have voted in ways you know that district will be angry about. Publicize votes against popular programs every time you can. We might not be able to win on scandals every time, but if we keep up a steady stream of revealing GOP scandals and the terrible voters of other Utah Republicans, we can at least compete for a few seats.
7) Get your candidates names out into the media any time you can. Part of the reason Utah Dems don't get elected in many parts of the state is because no one knows a thing about them. We need media coverage to be able to beat that lack of recognition.