It is difficult to be a Democrat in Southern Utah, no doubt. But, at least from my perspective, I would have to argue that it is getting easier.
The current political ideology of the Republican Party is not representative of the moral beliefs of most Southern Utahns and, even though we typically do not see eye-to-eye on individual issues, it is getting much easier to have conversations with Utah Republicans because we can both clearly see that the current administration is misguided and floundering.
The political rhetoric that is being spewed on the national stage and consuming the Republican Party and is making many Utahns uncomfortable and, although it has led to great frustrations for both sides, it has also opened up common ground!
Neither party is perfect — no matter which side of the aisle you favor. However, it is the reality of our two-party political system that one or the other will be in power. And, I have come to accept that I will be resisting and fighting for at least the next four years. However, it is not likely that I will be resisting alone. The majority of the Utah Republican Party seems to be resisting right along with me. The Republicans ousted their current chair, James Evans, for a more moderate candidate in Rob Anderson.
Anderson admitted during his acceptance speech that there were now 36,000 fewer registered Republicans in Utah and emphasized that the Democratic Party was growing. Not only are they losing registered voters, but their finances are in “shambles.”
Anderson admitted to the party being some $450,000 in debt — not a pretty picture for the party of fiscal responsibility. Additionally, there was a report out recently, published by the Salt Lake Tribune on May 26, that LDS millennial voters are aligning more with the Democratic Party than previous generations.
I have witnessed this first-hand with young LDS populations. Social issues such as women’s rights, gay marriage, immigration, the environment, and even health care reform are difficult to ignore in society today. The views of the younger generations are more liberal than in the past and they are unapologetic about their opinions.Once again, bringing common ground to the two parties and giving hope for the future of Utah politics.
So, today, I celebrate being a Utah Democrat. Our progress in Utah is measured much differently than in most states, but we are making progress nonetheless. We move forward knowing that we are on the right path and as long as we are willing to put one foot in front of the other, that journey will lead to changing Utah’s political climate.
I hold my head high knowing that we have a number of strong candidates for Utah State chair, vice chair and other executive committee positions. These leadership positions will be filled at the Utah State Democratic Organizing Convention on June 17 on the campus of Weber State University.Be certain to keep an eye on all the good things that are about to happen within the Democratic Party in Utah.
Lynn Matthews is chair of the Washington County Democratic Party.