By Jeff Merchant, Utah Democratic Party Chair—Hello Utah County Democrats!
As you read this, the season is officially shifting from Summer to Fall. And the days of election season starting after Labor Day are long gone; now is the time for everyone to do what they can to help win elections.
In 2018, Democrats saw gains throughout the country. In Utah, we saw Ben McAdams win Congressional District 4, and we even picked up a few seats in state and local elections. This year, as we battle against the likes of QAnon, Covid-19, and rabid Trumpism, it is more important than ever to fight not just for Democratic ideas (capital “D”) but democratic ideals (lower-case “d”).
Those who think this election is simply about picking between the lesser of two evils are just not paying attention. A few days ago, a friend of mine posted on social media two emails she received, one from Joe Biden and one from Donald Trump, on the same day. Here is an excerpt from each:
Joe Biden: “My friend President Obama just wrapped up his speech for the Democratic National Convention, and I hope you caught it. He was absolutely right when he said: ‘No single American can fix this country alone. Democracy was never meant to be transactional—you give me your vote; I make everything better…’ As I’ve repeated since day one, we are in a battle for the soul of our nation, and we can’t win it without you. We need your voice, your energy…”
Donald Trump: “Have you seen the line-up for the Democrat Convention tonight? Just when I thought this pathetic event couldn’t get any more CORRUPT, they decided to bring in CROOKED Hillary, Crazy Nancy, Pocahontas, Phony Kamala, and Lyin’ Obama all in ONE NIGHT. All of these Radical Democrats HATE me and they HATE YOU.”
This is the real difference in the 2020 election. I wish it was about our policies vs. their policies, but it is not. It is about fear vs. hope, blame vs. responsibility, selfishness vs. selflessness. It is about respect or disrespect, patriotism or pandering, calling people names or calling people out. Ultimately, it is about us: reaching down into the depths of our souls and becoming our better selves, or shrugging our shoulders and deciding that living out a tacky reality show is more fun than actually running a country.
If you’re like me, you want your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors and friends, to be proud of this country and what we stand for. I know a lot of people aren’t right now, but I still am. Why? Because I haven’t given up on that hope that President Obama spoke about at the Convention. I haven’t given up on our better selves. I haven’t given up that despite how far we still need to go, we’ve come quite a way. Sure, the road ahead is going to be rough—far worse than it would have been if we were fighting to re-elect a President Hillary Clinton—but not so rough as to make it not worth it.
I have long said that Utah is on the road to being purple. Long ago, deep blue states like New Mexico were just like Utah—red. State by state, the West has rejected Republican extremism and embraced Democratic pragmatism. First New Mexico, then Colorado, then Nevada. It is happening in Arizona and Montana. Utah is next. So, we are down to just under 60 days. What can you do? Find a race—any race—and help out. If there isn’t a race in your neighborhood, go to the next neighborhood over. If there isn’t one there, go to the next city, or county, or region. If you still can’t find someone to help—call me! We will help you find someone to spend a few hours helping. Races cannot be won by great candidates alone. It takes time, it takes money, it takes effort, and it takes supporters. Be that supporter, and let’s turn Utah blue!