Opinion: Utah Senate race could be key to breaking political polarization 2022-04-26 19:02:34


in these countries, general election coronation, not competitions – this is a problem. Only members of the majority party have a real say in the choice of their representatives, which excludes a large percentage of the electorate and leads to more radical candidates.
Structural reforms such as Voting choose the rank Open primaries It is certainly the best way to address this, but it can take years to implement and no party is particularly keen on losing their advantage wherever it exists. The problem is urgent and requires us to think creatively and provide realistic solutions that can be implemented quickly.

Step into Utah, where an interesting experiment is being conducted that could serve as a model for how a moderately charismatic person who is usually disadvantaged by partisan primaries, challenges a more radical candidate doomed to victory.

The plan goes like this. Republican Senator Mike Lee will be elected to re-election in Utah, where he is almost certain to win against a Democrat. Utah Democrats, who failed to elect a US Senate candidate since 1970They refused to name a candidate this time and instead threw their support Behind the politically moderate – and electorally viable – is former Republican Evan McMullen, who is now running as an independent.

In many ways, McMullin is a traditional conservative. But he is willing to strike back at the pro-Trump and pro-Putin wing of the party, and for many Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans, it would be a welcome change from Lee.

Of course, this strategy has risks. The minority party will have to compromise a number of its policy priorities and could end up losing. But, as in chess, sometimes you have to take risks and make sacrifices in order to create a unique winning combination. In the end, winning with a few priorities is better than losing in the name of ideological purity.

There is a certain irony in the fact that the key to breaking our political monopoly and returning some wisdom to our politics can actually come from the blue or red states.

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In states where elections are more or less competitive, neither side is likely to agree to back down from introducing its candidate. But in areas where a minority party can hardly win, they could work with a more moderate or dissident candidate from the majority party, rather than launch an imaginary campaign that would offer voters some semblance of ideological and emotional validation without any real credibility. The influence of the world.

If this moderate candidate manages to grab 25-30% of the vote from the majority party and wins the support of most of the minority party, this will make the general election truly competitive. If there is anything the past six years have shown us, it is that the relevant political divide is no longer left versus right – it is between those who want to improve our current system and those who want to tear it down for any number of ideological reasons. This opens up a number of interesting avenues for cooperation between independent and moderate members of both parties.

Ultimately, structural reform is the only long-term solution to the radicalism that has emerged from the party primaries. Former CEO-turned-electoral reform advocate Catherine Gill offered some particularly compelling insights into Institute of Political CreativityAnd Including the final five votes, a system that gets rid of closed primaries and allows voters to rank their top five candidates from any party in order of preference. We believe this approach will not only improve the existing platform, but also motivate elected officials to prioritize governance over understanding.

In the meantime, creative campaigns like McMullin can offer candidates the broad-based moderation and appeal that our democracy needs. Democrats in Utah clearly recognized the opportunities a multiparty coalition could represent.

Introducing moderation and rationality in our political discourse is one of the main goals of our organization, the Initiative for the Renewal of Democracy, which was founded to achieve it. We believe that the only way to deal with the growing ideological extremism on both sides is to use creative approaches to build a truly centrist coalition. This is critical to defending the pillars of our democracy and fighting further political polarization. If McMullin can demonstrate the effectiveness of this strategy in Utah, it could be a way to break the politicized stalemate in our country.