Democrats in Utah – A Quick Note

The assertion is often made by people who are smart enough to know better that modern Mormons won’t vote for a Democrat.  The reasons that are usually advanced include party stances on abortion and SSM, and sometimes the sexual adventures of Bill Clinton.  If the person making this argument lives in Utah, perhaps the strongest answer is to point out that Jim Matheson, (D., Salt Lake City) is probably his representative in congress. 

 The six highest electoral offices in Utah are the governor, the two senators, and the three representatives to the house.  Going back forty years, at least one, and often two of those offices, has/have been occupied by a Democrat.  Those people include outstanding public servants such as Frank Moss, Calvin Rampton, Gunn McKay, Wayne Owens, Scott Matheson, Jim Matheson, and Bill Orton.  Each of them was popular enough to serve multiple terms.  Orton may be the most interesting one of the bunch, because he represented Provo and Orem for three terms in the house of representatives, from 1991 to 1997.  His initial election received an assist when his opponent’s campaign made some spectacular unforced errors, but he won two more times on his merits, and he succeeded as a Democrat in Utah valley during Clinton’s heyday.  His success says something about the electorate he represented:  They are more fair-minded than they often get credit for being.  Sometimes I sense that many Mormons want to shed their image as one party voters, but are not being offered a choice they can live with.  I’m not sure I could say the same about a place like Lubbock, TX, for instance, where it is hard to see a Democrat ever winning.  For that matter, can you imagine a Republican ever representing California’s East bay (Berkeley and Oakland)?  But if you’ve lived in the crossroads of the West anytime in the past forty years, chances are you’ve been represented in congress by a Democrat.
Will the foregoing in mind, I offer the following unsolicited two cents worth of advice to Utah Democrats:
1.  Quit whining.
2.  Be careful of Mormon sensibilities.  You don’t win votes by insulting the people who cast them (I’m looking at you, Rocky), and the best way to get respect is to first give it.
3.  Identify and support candidates like Matheson, Owens, and Orton.  Sure, it is an uphill battle, and they will need to outhustle and outshine their opponents in order to have a chance, but the facts show that Democrats can win in Utah.
4.  Quit whining.


  1. Jim Matheson Jr, huh? His Dad is Scott Matheson, who was governor of Utah. Jim’s brother, Scott Jr. ran for governor but lost, to the current governor, John Huntsman Jr. Yeah, it’s confusing.

  2. BTW, as a Mormon involved in politics who has lived in Utah most of my life, my observation is that most younger Mormons (let’s loosely define that term as under 50) are not party loyalists. They tend to vote for whomever they feel is the best candidate and have no problem crossing party lines. Utah Democrats just have not presented a lot of great choices lately (other than people named Matheson, but there’s only so many of them).

  3. The post has been edited to reflect the corrections offered by that whiner, MCQ, Jr.

    (Thanks, man!)

  4. A fine post, Mark. How ironic it is that residents of Berkeley would no doubt consider residents of Utah Valley to be intolerant of opposing views and unreceptive to notions of diversity, yet they exhibit the same sort of rigid political thinking they criticize (when the Utah Valleyites, it turns out, really don’t). And Berkeley sports those “now entering a nuclear-free zone” signs at the city limits, sort of a warning to visitors that residents aren’t quite fully connected to the real world.

  5. Mark,

    I have to whine just a little, as a former Davis County Central Committee member, where we had just slightly less staying power with democratic candidates than a snowball in hell.

    I was ecstatic to see Orton win, and win again, was a big fan of the Mathesons, and think we lost a true saint too young when Wayne Owens died. Salt Lake City and county have faired better, but in spite of the fact that I had two successive Democratic bishops in conservative Kaysville, the county and most of the First District (other than Weber County) is just plain brainwashed, and to cop a phrase from Ronan, definitely NOT reading Sumerian poetry.

    A good friend of mine, eminently qualified as an attorney, a former prosecutor for Salt Lake County, and also a Lt. Colonel in the army reserve, tried on at least two separate occasions to run against the lackluster Jim Hansen in the First District, and never got any traction. South of Woods Cross, they can quit whining, but north of there, it’s a bleak wasteland, dominated by the brightest Republican appliance bulbs that an economic blight can produce.

    Oops, I may have stepped over a line there. I could say that some of my best Davis County friends are Republicans, but then I moved away fourteen years ago. :)

  6. MCQ+++

    I think a lot of people are frustrated by the Utah Republican party at times. Matheson frankly is pretty conservative. In probably most other states he’d be a Republican. But here he keeps the Republicans somewhat honest. Although let’s be honest. Matheson has a seat primarily because of the gerrymandering of the congressional districts.

    I should say that I’m extremely happy with my local congressman, Chris Cannon. He’s moderate where he needs to be (on say immigration – one of the few intelligent voices in congress on the issue) but conservative or libertarian on the others. While there are usually a few things I disagree with him on, there aren’t many. Plus he’s a very approachable and responsive guy.

    Utah Democrats have a problem though. Outside of SLC proper where there’s a significant liberal minority who manage to capture moderate Republicans and more conservative Democrats, the rest of the state simply has huge issues with the national Democratic party. That despite often having problems with Republicans. The only solution is to be a very conservative Democrat, which pisses off a lot of the Utah liberal Democrats and can cause trouble with the national party.

  7. Interesting,

    My own view is that for dem to win large numbers of LDS votes he would need to be “put aside” the cultural revolution that occurred in the Dem party in the 60’s and 70’s and revert back to Economic liberalism and social conservatism of the FDR type of Dem that used to win in Utah.

    All of my kids Active LDS great grandparents and great greats were Dems originally (some changed in the 60’s and 70’s) and the following generations since then have been Repubs. The changes started in the 60’s. My dad told me the story of how my great grandmother in 1968 went from Dem to Repub over how far left the Dems were getting last week.

  8. kevinf, wasn’t Davis county represented by Gunn Mckay for over a decade? Or was his district more to the North?

  9. John Mansfield says:

    Reminders like this are useful, though some almost refuse to believe them. You may have interest in a couple of old posts I wrote on Mormon politicians in Nevada who are Democrats:“Lame Ducks and the Las Vegas Temple”, “Mormon Lieutenant Governor”, and Jon Porter’s Next Challenger.”

  10. Ola Senor says:

    What about Christian Burridge? How was he perceived in the last election?

  11. Clark said: “Although let’s be honest. Matheson has a seat primarily because of the gerrymandering of the congressional districts.”

    If I recall correctly, Matheson won his seat despite gerrymandering designed to help John Swallow in 2002. Maybe I’m misreading you though and you’re referring to the backlash the redrawing of the districts caused.

  12. Ola:

    I’ve had lunch with Christian and I still barely know who he is. Name recognition is his biggest problem, not his political views.

  13. Clark:

    I agree with some of what you say–Matheson is unquestionably a “Blue Dog” democrat, but those exist outside of Utah.

    Most people would roll their eyes at the idea that Chris Cannon is an intelligent voice on anything. I know personally people who have worked for him who quit because they literally thought he might be insane. I will grant you that he is approachable and can be very responsive, if he agrees with you.

    As for your last paragraph, if that were true, one would expect that there would never be any statewide offices held by democrats. As the post points out, that is not the case (although it has been a rarity lately).

  14. Mark,

    Yes, but that was followed by 16 years of Jim Hansen. I hate it when you’re right. In my family, we refer to that as the Lesser Apostasy.

    DavidAK, you are correct, the Republicans used the 2000 Census to redraw the district, cutting out much of the Salt Lake County base that previously had voted Democratic, and pasting in large rural tracts that tended Republican, and Matheson still won. For the most part, Utah voters will go with a proven track record, and enthusiastically support a moderate Democratic incumbent. However, for an unoccupied seat, all bets are off, and you often see the religion card played.

    I remember well the “family man” campaign attack against Orton that backfired on the former speaker of the Utah House, whose name escapes me at the moment. Most everybody in Utah County saw that as a cheap shot, and came to Orton’s defense.

  15. Mark,

    Gunn McKay’s power base was in Weber County, so even though Davis County was in his district, one might say that most of Davis County never considered that he “represented” them.

    I met Gunn a couple of times, and interviewed him for the Weber State College radio station. Nice guy, gracious, and pretty unpretentious. I also met Jim Hansen, and he was also a nice guy, just totally out of tune with my politics.

    In case you couldn’t tell, my first comment was intentionally whining. Old habits die hard.

  16. a random John says:

    I’d point to the most recent gubernatorial election as evidence of the idiocy of Utah voters. Looking at the qualifications of Scott Matheson Jr. versus Jon Huntsman Jr. one has to wonder how party blind the voters could possibly be. My guess is not at all. Remember kids, you can work hard and accomplish something with your life and if your a democrat the good folks of Utah won’t elect you. Or you can (relatively speaking) bumble through life on your father’s coattails and the good folks of Utah will reward you with control of the executive. Now that he’s show he has no spine on issues involving Energy Solutions/Envirocare (isn’t his brother in law involved in that mess) and vouchers I don’t doubt that Utah voters will be masochistic enough to elect Huntsman again as soon as we are given the chance.

    While I’m at it, the fact that Orrin Hatch is our Senior Senator does not indicate a great degree of good judgment on the part of Utah voters.

    Jim Matheson is able to hold onto his seat despite the fact that the more liberal part of his district (the avenues) was cut out and lumped with the first district in the last gerry^h^h^h^h^hredistricting in an attempt to get rid of him.

  17. MCQ – SLC has some pretty liberal areas which is why there a some liberal State legislators. There aren’t many outside of the SLC metro area.

    If I recall correctly, Matheson won his seat despite gerrymandering designed to help John Swallow in 2002.

    I might just be mistaken here then. I thought the gerrymandering was originally to shore up the main Republicans which had the effect of making the other seat more competitive. Then after Matheson won they attempted to change it again. But incumbents are simply hard to defeat and (in my opinion) Swallow wasn’t an ideal candidate. For a while there were strong rumors that KSL’s Doug Wright was going to run against Matheson last year. But nothing came of it. That would have been quite an interesting race.

    But if I’m wrong I take back what I said. I certainly agree that Republicans tried to gerrymander since his election. And I oppose gerrymandering by either party. The way Republicans lost their ideals and became opportunists the past 10 years has been terribly sad to me.

    Regarding Chris Cannon, I just don’t see him being “crazy.” All those who I know of who left his office did so out of disagreement with policy (often immigration) and left with a lot of spite. But when speaking in generalities I can’t say too much.

    Regarding blue dog Democrats. They certainly do exist outside of Utah – especially in the South – although there are far fewer now than back when Bill Clinton won the nomination. While I’m no Clinton fan, I think the fact blue dogs did so well was lost on Democrats. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have some huge flaws and both parties seem determined to ignore what is screwing them up.

  18. Looking at the qualifications of Scott Matheson Jr. versus Jon Huntsman Jr. one has to wonder how party blind the voters could possibly be.

    It’s not like Huntsman was without qualifications. He’s done a ton in trade and been in government. I’m not knocking Matheson who has a great pedigree himself. But it’s not like Huntsman is George Bush or something. Further, the fact Matheson was a Democrat is important. I mean we can’t say ideology and ideas should play no roll in political elections. (Which almost sounds like you are saying)

    While I’m at it, the fact that Orrin Hatch is our Senior Senator does not indicate a great degree of good judgment on the part of Utah voters.

    Even Republicans don’t like Hatch. But Hatch makes it difficult for Republicans to successfully run against him. (And that’s all I’ll say publicly on that) The bigger problem is that the American political system at present makes it almost impossible for an incumbent to lose unless they really screw up. A good reason to push the term limits that Republicans tried to get with the Contract With America.

  19. a random John says:


    Didn’t George Bush graduate from Yale in a reasonable amount of time and then go to Harvard?

    I don’t know what Huntsman’s grades were but I’m not sure I’d put him on the same academic level as the president.

  20. arJ, I can’t tell what you are saying, your comment seems schizophrenic to me. Is it that Utahns vote mainly on party or not? You seem to be arguing both sides.

    Your point of view on Huntsman v. Matheson is not one I’ve often heard. I don’t think many view that race as a do-nothing rich kid v. the king of acomplishment. Huntsman had some solid business and political experience. Matheson was dean of the Utah college of law. An accomplishment, to be sure, but not like he had set the world on fire. You could just as easily argue that Matheson’s accomplishments came from the good fortune of being a Matheson.

  21. Clark,

    While I have mixed feelings about term limits, Republicans know more about getting and maintaining power than any Democrat since Lyndon Johnson ran the Senate in the 50’s.

    I view the Republican quest for term limits as a political ploy, which worked up to the time that they actually got power, and then where did the impetus go? They could talk the talk, but didn’t necessarily walk the walk.

    I specifically remember Jim Hansen (it sounds like I am picking on the guy, but I’m not really) who campaigned against Gunn McKay and made the statement that he would not serve more than four terms. He retired finally after 11 terms, 22 years.

    Term limits are an interesting issue. The House of Representatives was set up with seats allocated to states by population, and with two year terms to try and make that assembly as representative of the people as possible. Senate seats, six year terms, and two by state regardless of population, were to satisfy the states who were fearful of giving up power to the federal government. So for a small state such as Utah, Senate power becomes a huge issue, hence the positions that Utah senators have held over the years as chairs of many important Senate committees.

    On the other hand, a Representative has to be reelected at least once to get any attention at all, and only garner power over time, and with the connections of other, powerful congressional representatives. Tom DeLay is probably the Machiavellian best example of congressional power. He was not known as “The Hammer” without cause. Once stripped of his committee assignments and without his leadership position, he could not tolerate the lack of power, and quit the house. As far as I know, the criminal trial is still way out there, and he likely would have been reelected anyway.

    Power in congress means campaign money, the ability to get legislation passed, and enormous personal satisfaction, I would assume. Very few politicians seem to be willing to step away from the fire, but junior members seem to get little done. Most incumbents run on their record, and their ability to get things done, which seems to rise exponentially with longer terms of service.

  22. Double that for GWB, arJ. It seems odd to say that of these two children of privilege, who were handed most of what they got, GWB is the most academically gifted. That’s like arguing about which of two kids sitting on their fathers’ shoulders climbed there the fastest.

  23. I don’t have the history of Lubbock, Texas, at hand, but my guess is that they didn’t elect a Republican to any office from about 1850 to 1965. The same goes for the old confederacy–they were always a lock for democratic votes (except when Barry Goldwater or George Wallace ran for president–but even then their congressmen and senators all tended to be Dems).

    So, the sea change could come to Utah too.

  24. #4: Dave, My son went to Cal. I had many fine visits to the small community of Berkeley. Why people in Utah talk about it is unknown to me. I would think most of Berkeley’s residents could not find Provo on a map.

  25. a random John says:


    I wish I could find the newspaper article from a few years ago comparing the qualifications of the two candidates. The impression I got was that Huntsman had goofed off for several years before finally getting a degree and then getting some plum but not too demanding jobs because of his family connections. For some reason I doubt that Matheson became dean of the U of U law school because of his then deceased father.

  26. Kevin, there’s no doubt many Republicans didn’t want term limits. However those who were really pushing the Contract with Amercia really did want them. What destroyed the Republican party were Republicans who merely wanted power. (I’d argue that’s true of Democrats as well)

    John, no offense, but if you’re going to make these accusations please back them up. I don’t have any strong feelings one way or an other about Huntsman. From what I can see he’s doing a fairly good job.

  27. Sorry, Clark. You’re wrong about the redistricting. Matheson won DESPITE taking away downtown SLC and the avenues from his district.

  28. arJ, See here.

    Matheson was a rhodes scholar. Huntsman played in rock bands. Other than that, I’d say it’s a wash, and some would argue (me among them) that playing in a band is just as important as being a rhodie.

  29. My point about their families is just that being a Matheson opens doors in Utah just as being a Huntsman does. Now, they may be different doors, but don’t pretend Matheson didn’t get advantages over others based on his family name.

  30. I would like to dispel some myths widely perpetuated here and elsewhere.
    1)Utah has become somewhat LESS Mormon but stridently MORE Republican over the past 15 years.
    2)The districts where Gunn McKay and Bill Orton won are virtually impossible for Democrats to win in now. Case in Point 1: McKay and Orton both lost their last races in their own districts. Case in Point 2: The Democrat running in Orton’s old district in 2000 (before redistricting) won more votes than Orton did in any of his victorious races, and yet still lost by 21 points. For every Democratic voter that has moved into Utah Valley over the past 15 years, they have been matched by more than 2 Republicans moving in. While Democratic vote totals have increased over time, Democratic percentages have consistently DECREASED.
    3)Conventional wisdom says that the younger voters and women are more likely to split their tickets in Utah (see comment 2). Not true! Young families, young mothers & college students are the most ardent of straight-voting Republicans in Utah.
    4)Where one lives in Utah may have more to do with how one votes than religion or any other factor.
    5)Rural Utahns and older Utahns are much more likely to split their tickets than are newer Utahns and transplants to suburban Utah (but are still overwhelmingly Republican). And it is important to remember that Utah is overwhelmingly a young, suburban state. The suburbs of the south Salt Lake Valley, Utah, Washington and Davis Counties are overwhelmingly Republican. In the last Presidential Year, John Kerry polled 14% in some districts and Democrats down ballot didn’t do much better. Gunn McKay, Orton and other local victories in the late 80s and early 90s could not be replicated today unless you had a massive scandal on the part of the Republican just before Election Day coupled with a well-funded, conservative Democrat. Even then, it would still be difficult and maybe even impossible because of straight ticket voters. Case in Point: Scandals in recent years in Utah County have abounded but have in no way improved Democratic chances.
    6)Can a Democrat win statewide anymore? I think it is possible, but probably only for the Governor’s Office. And then, it would have to be an open seat. And it appears to be less likely with the passage of time.
    7)Religion has not killed the Democrats in Utah (well, OK, partly). Instead, Demographic change killed them. Just take a look around to the suburban areas of adjoining states. Democrats are dead there too.

  31. My first sentence is misleading…my numbered bullets are my observations/arguments (not the myths!). My observations are intended to dispel the myths.

  32. Adam, but was that before or after his initial election. As I said, I thought that was a dirty trick played after he went up for re-election.

    arJ, I’d suggest that being an academic doesn’t necessarily portend much effectiveness as a politician. I’d even say I’d be more skeptical of academics. The issue is what they do in terms of actually bringing things about. There were hints about George Bush’s problems in that his businesses weren’t that successful and his role as Governor in Texas wasn’t as clear as some pretended. (Although it would have been interesting to see what would have happened had 9/11 never happened)

  33. a random John says:


    Thanks for the link. It is a bit short on the Matheson side of the equation but I think it paints a clear enough picture. If you want to judge keyboards in a rock band with being a Rhodes scholar that is fine with me. But I’m guessing that in those two areas their daddies didn’t play much of a role. I am sure that both have done better than they otherwise would have were it not for their fathers. I guess whether my point is valid depends on how much you respect each of their accomplishments.


    I’ve just deleted a long, judgmental response. I’m trying to quell that urge. Reading over the page that MCQ linked to reaffirmed my belief that one candidate was more qualified and had accomplished more on his own merits. Clearly Huntsman is qualified enough to be governor but I think he’s done a mediocre job and I think that in the two issues I mentioned above he has shown cowardice. Perhaps that is just political savvy on his part and I’m naive.

  34. Douglas, if in the elections the Republican candidate did something that pissed the Utah county voters off then someone like Orton could get elected again. It was that photo (which the candidate claimed wasn’t by them) poking at Orton being single which I think got Orton in. That Orton stayed in until Clinton created the Escalante park pissing a lot of people off, speaks a lot to the power of encumbancy.

    Actually some claim that some articles in The Student Review had a lot to do with it. I personally don’t think that was as important as some do.

    Anyway, I note your point about split tickets and as a percentage Democrats getting smaller. I just think that the issues with Orton were someone different from other scandals in Utah County. Mainly because local offices aren’t as noted as Congressman or Senator.

  35. a random John says:


    I think that if 9/11 had never happened we’d still be at war in Iraq given that attacking Iraq was on the agenda on day one of W’s term. That would have probably been used as an excuse by radical Islamists to attack us at home 9/11 style, and we’d be right about where we are today with wasteful security measures and eroded civil liberties.

    Of course if 9/11 hadn’t happened and my theoretical attack in response to Iraq hadn’t happened then Bush might have lost in 2004. I’m not sure that Kerry would have been all that great either.

    As for your #32, I’d hope that we’d elect a governor to be an executive more than a politician.

  36. Clark, I agree with you on all points except that I still believe that if the 1990 Orton/Snow election were replayed before our very eyes today, with the same negative ad, the Republican would win. (I was a newsboy at the time, and like to think I helped Orton Win). The reason the 1990 victory was possible was a combination of bad news for Republicans, the negative ad, but mostly because the critical mass of voters were people who had lived through the Scott Matheson/Calvin Rampton years and were the sons and daughters of FDR voters. True, it was the ad that pushed Orton over the top, but the contours were such that a Democratic victory was possible in the first place. I argue that such a victory is not possible now.

    When one looks at 1996 (Escalante and all), you can see that Orton got his largest vote total ever in that race, but lost with about 48% of the vote. Fast forward only four years to 2000 and literally tens of thousands of new families had continued to move into bran new developments from Payson to Lehi. This influx of Sean Hannity Republicans had been complemented by the deaths of older voters who lived in the center of many of Utah Valleys towns (but that’s not as big a factor as the demographic influx). I have gone door to door in many areas that used to vote Democratic in Spanish Fork, but now have one or two old ladies who will put up a sign. Ten years ago, you had that many more old ladies to vote for you. Today, you have suburbs that dwarf the original towns.

  37. I think a significant factor in the decline of the Democratic Party in Utah that hasn’t been mentioned is that for many years, many of the leaders rarely passed up an opportunity to communicate their contempt for Mormons and Catholics. It really isn’t just the direction of the national party that has hurt them. And yes, Rocky Anderson is exhibit A in the case that they still have a big problem with this attitude in what’s left of the party.

  38. Mark, how do you know Lubbock politics? It was not at all unusual during the four years I lived there for the Republicans to run unopposed in the general election. When a Republican candidate did have an opponent, it was usually a Libertarian or, in the case of current Sheriff David Gutierrez, an independent who was passed over by the PTB in the Republican party. Gutierrez went on to win with 82% of the vote.

    Except for that one election (Dowger and Gutierrez), all the action was in the primaries, with the Republicans duking it out over who hated Clinton more and who was more conservative.

  39. #37:”…Communicate their contempt…, is a bad idea, until you reach 51%

  40. MikeInWeHo says:

    Maybe Pat Buchanan is correct in his book “Day Of Reckoning”: America is becoming balkanized. Scary stuff.

  41. Douglas:

    Young families, young mothers & college students are the most ardent of straight-voting Republicans in Utah.

    Based on what? Do you have a citation or are you just making this up?

  42. Peter LLC says:

    And Berkeley sports those “now entering a nuclear-free zone” signs at the city limits, sort of a warning to visitors that residents aren’t quite fully connected to the real world

    Dave, you would like the real-world approach of Intermountain Power Agency, you know, the company whose

    general manager Jim Hewlett said nuclear energy “has a future if it’s not overregulated.”

    If only Millard County didn’t have seismic activity, Utah could join the club and enjoy clean, green nuclear power.

  43. Dave #4, I’m not offended by your decision to criticize the best city in the U.S., but it isn’t a case of your best judgment…

  44. Ann,

    I think I made clear in my comment that I was simply guessing–and that was based on the “solid South” that the Democrats maintained from the end of reconstruction to the mid 1960’s.

    I’m happy to be proved wrong. Maybe Lubbock is far enough west that the Democrats didn’t keep a hold on it back then.

  45. I agree with #36.

    The LDS FDR democrats are mostly dead now in Utah. They have been replaced by younger Republicans who are the children and grandchildren of the LDS FDR Dems.

    Its hard to overlook the Demographics that tilt Utah towards Repubs.

    High birthrate
    Mostly white
    overabundance of married people
    large percentage of church goers
    Gun owners

    These types of fundamentals tilt the state to the right.

  46. a random John says:

    E, #37

    I think you exaggerate Rocky’s anti-LDS rhetoric. Rocky is simply further left than most Utah Democrats (though he did endorse Romney for governor of MA) and tends to be outspoken on issues that don’t have much to do with running Salt Lake City.

    I challenge you to show heavily anti-LDS statements from any of the politicians mentioned in Mark’s post.

  47. #45: We didn’t die…we moved to California.

  48. Last Lemming says:

    Unlike Mark B, I have checked the history of Lubbock and found that it was represented in the House exclusively by Democrats until 1985 (exactly as Mark B. predicted). Kent Hance, the last Democratic representative, lost the Democratic Primary for the Senate in 1984, and was replaced by a Republican. The seat has been Republican ever since (as has Kent Hance, who apparently couldn’t get over losing that primary).

    How this came to be of interest to the BCC readership still baffles me.

  49. #40: I don’t know, but it seems America was “balkanized” all the way back to Colonial times. It was put on the back burner to aid the break from England, but boiled over in the Civil War. Our only hope is we keep venting this by playing regional Football!

  50. John (#35), I’d argue that one can’t be a good executive without being a good politician.

    I also don’t think Bush would have been able to mount a full invasion without 9/11. There’s no way you’d have got Britain on board for instance.

    John (#46), while I’d never call Rocky anti-Mormon he has done a fair bit to fuel the fires of the religious divide in the Salt Lake region. Some things he’s said and done have not been helpful.

    Douglas (#36), interesting point. I had thought that there were quite a few Republicans who voted against Orton. But perhaps you’re right and that isn’t enough.

  51. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 49 I agree with that. There is ample space in this country, and that helps a lot. If you can’t stand Berkeley, you can move to Provo and vice-versa. As long as we stay reasonably prosperous, we’ll probably chug along without violent internal conflict. I just don’t see another civil war breaking out over abortion or gay marriage, and those are the two most contentious issues we face as a nation right now.

    This thread reminded me of the Christian Exodus movement:

    It’s a group of Evangelicals who have given up on our culture, and hope to relocate ALL the conservative Christians to South Carolina in order to take over the government there. (They don’t want the LDS…sorry bbell)

    I’m thinking of doing fundraising for them. :)

  52. Mike, # 51,

    Where can I send my check? LOL!

  53. BTW – it seems to me the real interesting divide in Utah isn’t between Democrats and Conservatives but between those with more libertarian tendencies (which isn’t the same as being a Libertarian in philosophy) and those who are the opposite: typically social conservatives.

    Both are common and a lot of the debates end up hinging on those issues.

  54. #51 – Sounds like my favorite description of Heaven in a joke I will paraphrase here:

    Distinctly different, equally splendid cities based on religion, far enough apart from each other so that no city knows of the existence of the others – so that each religion can think it’s the only one in Heaven.

  55. 45 – I didn’t know that getting married made you a fundamentalist.

    And I’m sure no one who is moderate owns a gun.

  56. Both gun ownership and the percentage of the population married are strong indicators. Married white people vote Republican at around 60%. Men 66% or so and the women in the high 50’s if my memory serves me. Church goers is another strong indicator of voting tendencies. The stereotypes hold true in voting patterns.
    Utah comes up strongly on all Demographic indicators of a Republican state

  57. Strong indicators of Republicans/Conservatives, but Fundamentalist?

  58. So when is Sen. Chris Buttars, R-Draper, moving to South Carolina?

  59. KevinF,

    After he sells his place and trades up for a double wide trailer and names his kid “jim bob” I guess.

  60. Hey now. My ward is 2/3 in South Carolina (I had the foresight to build on the North side of the line) and I don’t want Buttars or any of his ilk here! There’s a reason I left Utah for good 15 years ago and I don’t need them to relocate here!

    Keep your wretched hyper-conservative refuse on the teeming shore of the Great Salt Lake, if you don’t mind! ;-)

  61. Perhaps we need a to help Chad Too and the rest of his ward out. :)

  62. Hey Chad Too,

    Is Fort Mill, SC in your ward?

    We came this close to moving there about five years ago.

  63. The very place. I live in Charlotte, but our new home is in the Fort Mill Ward boundaries by about 300 yards.

  64. I bet we were looking at homes in the same neighborhood. You know what they say about great minds . . .

  65. Quick question: given that Nevada is a swing state and the Salt Lake media market serves eastern Nevada, what are the chances that Democrats will be airing ads there in 2008?