Utah’s two-party system of politics

Over the weekend, Richard Davis, chairman of the Utah County Democratic Party, wrote an op-ed bemoaning why Democrats get so little support in the state. He begins by drawing an analogy to shopping in Russia where consumers only get one choice of product, and then says that Utah politics is like that – that we only get one choice.

He blames the convention system, in part, for this dilemma. He wonders why the few get to select the few while hundreds of thousands of Utahns are left in the lurch. He then grumbles that voters shouldn’t vote straight party tickets and that voters should take a good look at Democratic candidates.

He goes on to defend Utah Democrats as equally pro-family and equally committed to moral standards. He says Utah Democrats are fiscal conservatives.

And then he writes something that, I think, is very curious. He writes, “Voters need to understand that a two-party system is very fragile. The very existence of a choice is not automatic…If good Democratic candidates continue to lose because voters don’t give them a chance to prove themselves, it will be harder to encourage good people to run again in the future and voters will be back to the no-choice situation…That’s why even Republican voters should vote for some Democrats in Utah County in order to make sure Republican legislators aren’t neglectful of average voters.”

Okay…this might be the shortest Mero Moment in history. Here’s what I have to say to Mr. Davis and any other Utah Democrat who is tired of losing to Republicans: that’s your answer to renewing a vibrant two-party system in Utah? Just vote for a Democrat whether or not you believe in their platform and positions? Really?

This is exactly why the two-party system is in jeopardy, if it is, in Utah: a wholesale lack of leadership among Democrats.

I have said this before. If Utah Democrats want to regain political power they must relate to the average Utahn. In this case, at minimum, they must separate themselves from national Democrats and from radical social and socialist agendas. It’s that simple. A party is more than one candidate. Placing a candidate’s name on a party label means the candidate supports his or her party. If that party is the party of Obama and Pelosi, then a Utah Democrat shouldn’t be surprised that his or her candidacy is immediately marginalized in this state.

It’s not good enough for a candidate to be a self-described “conservative” Democrat. That doesn’t mean anything. You must be a real conservative, period. Understand that fact and Utah Democrats will, once again, become relevant.

I’m Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.

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