John Jacob recently asked me if there were enough Democrats in District 68 for me to win. I was taken back, not because I suddenly came to grips with the fact that there are far fewer registered Democrats than Republicans in the district--I know that--but because of his business-as-usual way of predicting election success. Maybe I’m politically naïve but I don’t see it that way--at least not this year.
One would have to be in denial not to recognize that voters, grassroots and otherwise, are fed-up with the status quo and the status quo is Republican domination of national and Utah politics. Granted, the voters put them there, but like at-will employees they can be fired when they fail—and fail they have. Good bosses admit their mistakes, cut their losses, and move on. So do good Republicans. But the problem doesn’t end there. By association, we Democrats have failed too. We’re politicians and politicians are currently the scourge upon the land, or so many believe.
I sense voter desperation this year accompanied by an overwhelming malaise. For party stalwarts on either side actively engaged in the process, the risk of desensitizing ourselves to the political realities around us runs high. Even if we believe in ourselves, our platforms, and our principles it doesn’t mean the voters do too, even if they say they do. It’s as though party agendas have been displaced by fiercely independent thinking—a little of this, a little of that, and the rest of our rhetoric be damned. Indeed, does any politician among us dare state unequivocally that they are Democrat, a whole Democrat, and nothing but a Democrat? Or Republican? Or Constitutionalist? Or Green? Or not sure yet? I think not. We are, in Shakespeare’s words, “a mirror up to nature,” that is, we reflect the world around us and the world around us isn’t so easily defined as Democrat, Republican, or whatever anymore. And there’s potential political death if we think it is. Just look at the campaign signs springing up. How many boldly feature the elephant or the donkey, or even reveal it at all? Small things really, like the 600-pound gorilla in the room.
So how do I know all this? I don’t, but if it looks like a duck…. Yesterday I biked door-to-door, sixty-six in all--for the first time. And sixty-six times I choked on the “D” word. I would have choked just as easily on the “R” word. Actually, the people were wonderful. Not because I was campaigning for political office but because sweating and out of breath, I’d ridden my bike all the way to their doorsteps. No matter what I had to say, I’d earned my right to say it. Pleasantries over, I broached my real mission with “I’m running for—“ only to be met with a stare that said, “What’s a nice guy like you…?,“ or a lightly chuckled, “whose side?” That’s when the choking began. When I did manage to say Democrat, I met no derision for that sin but for the general political rot throughout Denmark, the fault of which was equally shared by all political parties. I was actually relieved.I don’t know if there are enough Democrats in my district to get elected. I do know there are enough voters. So tomorrow it’s back to my bike. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll even smile when I say “Democrat!” And I'll sweat and gasp for breath. Maybe I'll connect. We’ll see what happens November 7th.