Thursday, November 8, 2007

Utah Singin' Da Blues

Singing may be too strong of a word. It's more of a subdued hum. But it's getting louder.

With Tuesday's elections, American's everywhere spoke out, en mass, and while there weren't many earth-shaking surprises, there is still the sweet eau de d├ęcalage in the air.

In Virginia, Republicans rallied around immigration to attract voters, and for their efforts lost the senate for the first time over a decade. The message: fear and xenophobia will not get our vote. 42 separate bills had been introduced in VA legislative sessions since 2006, and divisive immigration rhetoric permeated the Republican campaigns. How did Virginia voters react? They elected Democrats.

And in Utah, there were similarities. The Deseret News today tells the story of St. George city council hopeful Benjamin Nickle:

Nickle was one of three candidates endorsed by anti-illegal immigration groups who lost the election. The three candidates who did win didn't have those endorsements, but they did have the nod of the local business community.

According to Immigration2007.org, a national immigration policy group, St. George wasn't the only local race across the country in which candidates who ran on platforms based on cracking down on illegal immigration lost.

Simon Rosenberg, with Immigration2007.org, went so far as to call using illegal immigration as a wedge "a catastrophic strategy" for some Republican candidates.
Speaking of catastrophic strategy, no one will ever know how much of a hand PCE's campaign ethics played in the school voucher debate, but the bill's defeat was solid in every county. Most margins were nearly 2 to 1, with the only (relatively) close numbers coming from Utah and Washington country, two of our most conservative.

Our local representatives also had strong constituent support in backing the vetoed SCHIP program, driven primarily by progressives on a national level.

As a nation, Americans showed their support for Democratic policy in the 2006 midterm, but the cracks in the Red State shell are beginning to show locally as well. More often, when faced with issues absent the partisan labels, Utahns vote like Democrats.

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