Maybe we should follow the state of Utah, at least in one respect.
I’m not advocating that Minnesota turn as Republican red as Utah. I’m not suggesting that we all turn Mormon.
I’m reflecting on a couple of recent media splashes emanating from Utah - one just before the November election, and the second one last week.
In 2020, there was one open race in Utah for governor. Republican Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox was running against Democrat Chris Peterson.
In late October, the two ran joint statewide print and TV ads at shared expense.
Republican Cox explained that he wasn’t sure if it had been tried before. He said then, “So, let’s show the country that there’s a better way.”
Democrat Peterson added, “Win or lose, in Utah, we work together."
Cox went on Twitter: “As our national political dialogue continues to decline my opponent and I decided to try something different. We can disagree without hating each other. Let’s make an example to the nation.”
And so they did.
Similarly, Peterson stated: “We can debate issues without degrading each other’s character."
The ads drew national attention. They were called upon to appear on network news shows.
Peterson shared their video on national TV, noting, “With the deep division in our country, it can take grace and courage to try to work together” and “No matter who wins the presidential election, we must all commit to a peaceful transfer of power."
They were ahead of the rest of us. Unfortunately, there weren’t more candidates and incumbents like them. They recognized that Americans were hungry for decency and unity.
They even talked about the loser ending up working with the winner during his tenure as governor.
Nationwide impartial polling back in October indicated that 74% of responders believed the overall acrimonious political tone had worsened since the Trump election; and that 79% were concerned that the negative tone of the election and national politics would prompt violence.
How right they were.
Last week, Utah again led the way in showing the rest of America how we should be dealing with our political differences.
Some Republicans in Utah called for Republican Sen. Mitt Romney to be censured, as done by Republicans in a number of other states, because he voted to convict Trump at impeachment.
Utah’s State Republican Executive Board met, discussed and concluded as follows: “The differences between our own Republicans showcase a diversity of thought, in contrast to the danger of a party fixated on unanimity of thought. There is power in our differences as a political party, and we look forward to each senator explaining their votes to the people of Utah.”
Our Republican friends in Echoland and across the nation could follow the lead of the Utah Republican Party - and we DFLers ought to do the same.