Why Democrats can only sing the redistricting blues


Just a quick thought about the Utah redistricting kerfuffle. The key point, in my mind, is not the process the state Republicans are using to come out with the map. That is an issue, and it is debatable, but, at bottom, it is not the most salient point.

Here is the key point: If Democrats in Utah are upset about the process and outcome, they should look in the mirror. Their efficacy, or lack thereof, has led to their current predicament because of this simple process:

  1. Utahns vote for candidates who best match their political leanings
  2. The vast majority of Utahns support Republican candidates’ platforms while rejecting the Democrats’ ideals and positions on issues
  3. As a result, Utahns elect an overwhelming number of Republicans to the state Legislature
  4. These elected officials get to govern

This is the truth, but Democrats in Utah do not admit it very often.

Here is the simple, hard and basic fact: If Democrats want to have an effective voice in legislative endeavors, they need to get more Democrats elected to state offices. To do that, they need to convince voters that theirs is the party most capable of serving Utahns – and not blame redistricting for their woes.

Until they do that, the Democrats’ most effective and oft-used weapon will continue to be crying foul at just about whatever state Republicans are doing (a strategy that amounts to a tacit admission of failure). And that, in the end, isn’t a very effective method for getting your way.

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  • Cameron

    A great example of this is that despite all the hand wringing Democrats are doing re: Rep. Sumsion, they didn’t bother to run anyone against him in his last election.  He has the largest district in the state, with over 100k people in it, and they couldn’t find a single person willing to get behind their platform and run against him.

    • http://twitter.com/david_buer David Buer

      Great example!

  • Anonymous

    How very, well… simplistic and juvenile of you.  Why then, are Dems elected Mayor of Salt Lake City?  Could it be that no one at the legislature has been able to figure out how to divide the city up for the mayoral election?  Why are maps drawn by Repubs rather than an independent commission?  Why are maps drawn to divide neighborhoods with larger populations of Democrats?  Why are maps drawn to dilute the power of Democrats in placing smaller sections of their neighborhoods with large sections of Republican dominated neighborhoods… in completely different towns/counties? 

    It’s easy to throw out flippant, arrogant reasons that you’ve listed because your narrow-minded party is in a super-majority of power.  And that party has legislated their way into permanent power.

    Now, share with us why Repubs insist on closed door meetings?  Why do they want to end GRAMA laws?  Why do they require registration at the polling stations for anyone wanting to vote in the Repub primaries?  In short, why are they so afraid?

    • http://twitter.com/david_buer David Buer

      These are all wonderful questions. As long as the Democrats keep asking these questions instead of figuring out how to become relevant in Utah politics, they will remain, well, irrelevant. I suppose you should blame Utahns for voting for so many Republicans.

      • Anonymous

        Why do you sidestep my questions?  Is it because you know your party’s ethics are for fools?  For pedophiles?  For crooks?  For drug addicts?

        I do blame Utahns for voting for Republicans.  They’ve been scared into thinking the Dems are evil and don’t understand how beneficial multi-party rule can be.  You revel in the fact that certain members of the population have no voice.  You would have done well in the 30’s-40’s when Africans and women had no voice.  Someday this will all reach out and bite the repubs in the @ss.

        • Dave

          Whose fault is it if Utahns don’t vote Democrat in any significant way? And the more pressing question for you is, how will you change their voting behavior? I agree that a robust two-party system is healthy for Utah. How are Democrats going to become relevant?

          • Anonymous

            Still refusing to answer my questions?  You ‘re falling right into Lucifer’s hands.  Be mindful of that Great and Spacious building little brother.

        • Dave

          Also, what do you mean by “someday this will all reach out and bite the repubs in the@ss”? What does that look like?

    • Strider303

      There is no such animal as an “independent” anything.  People should have known that in the last general election the candidates that won would have the responsibility to reapportion the State based upon the last census information according to the principle of one man, one vote. 

      Politics is the orderly exercise of political power, there is no requirement that it meet some vague definition of “fairness” on;y that it be orderly and according to the established rules.  The majority of people in this State have voted  one party into the majority, and it is logical that they will exercise their power to promote their agenda (approved by the voting majority) and seek to maintain it.  The minority party is a minority because they cannot “sell” their agenda to a majority of the people.

      I do not recall any of this out cry some 30+ years ago when Utah was more Democratic than Republican.  It appears to me that this public weeping and wailing is more a reflection of people who desperately want their ideas, their opinions, their particular political philosophy to have sway in the marketplace of ideas and are denied, ignored or rejected.  Life isn’t fair, it was not designed to be fair, life is life – deal with it, adapt or overcome!

      Only immature people think they can get everything they want, the rest of us deal with it as best we can.

  • http://productiveactivities.wordpress.com/ Cameron

    First, “And that party has legislated their way into permanent power” is laughable.  The percentage of democrats in this state is small, and you can’t blame that on maps.

    When SLC sets up a gop section of the city so that they can get representation in city hall you’ll have my support for creating gerrymandered donut hole maps that protect the small contingent of democrats in slco.  Democrats need to stop trying to have their cake and eat it too.

  • Larry Vojtecky

    I believe your comments about liberals and democrats are ludicrous!  I come from a county in Utah that has always been extremely Democrat and all I have ever seen is the State Legislature do all it can to eliminate any possible competition to its right-wing, conservative agenda.  Responsible citizenship is not the elimination of those who may disagree with each others political ideology, but, the free intercourse and exchange of ideas in a way that makes Utah a great place to live.  I also find it laughable that people in this state think that are small numbers of Democrats who live and work here.  There are more of us then you realize and as Utah grows, more and more of them are coming here to live and work.