Saturday, March 23, 2024

An Invitation to Disillusioned Republicans


Earlier this month, I did my civic duty and attended my neighborhood caucus, a bizarre system some states (such as Utah) insist on retaining, primarily so that the extremist minority can control which candidates go on to the final election. Of course, in Utah that means the caucuses control who wins the final election, because Utah is a deeply red state. More on that in a minute.

My wife, normally an unaffiliated voter, registered Republican this year so that she could vote for Nikki Haley, and so she attended the Republican caucus. I am registered as a Democrat, and I refuse to have anything to do with the Republican Party, so I didn’t change my party affiliation in order to vote in the closed Republican primary, held at various caucus locations. The stories that have been published about how loosely the voting was handled at the GOP caucuses makes you wonder how a party so distraught over potential voter fraud (and unable to find any) could possibly organize an election so open to fraud and miscounting (intentional or not). Of course they didn’t investigate themselves, which might have been a good idea. But that’s another story.

Because Utah is Utah, my caucus was not held in my neighborhood. There was one big caucus for all Utah County Democrats held in an elementary school in northern Lehi, about a twenty-minute drive from my house. I dutifully showed up and sat in a half-filled cafeteria, where we did not cast votes for Joe Biden or any other Democratic presidential candidates. We had already done that by mail, a proven and very secure form of voting. Anyway, after a few introductory instructions, we were divided up by city into smaller groups. My Orem group was then further divided into individual precincts. As fate would have it, I was the only person in attendance from Orem precinct 305. Lucky me. Without holding a vote, I became precinct chair and also became a delegate to the county and state conventions. Now, I know a few Democrats in my precinct, but they apparently had other pressing matters that eveningperhaps a gripping episode of the Golden Bachelor or returning an overdue book to the library. Or maybe they had to work. Whatever the case, I was alone.

Today (March 23), I attended the county convention, another cozy affair, where we heard short speeches from various state and district and school board candidates. This time, one of my neighbors attended with me, so I wasn’t alone from my precinct.

But since I am now a very minor official of sorts in my party, I feel it is my obligation to do a little unofficial recruiting. If you are unaffiliated, you can probably stop reading now. But if you are a registered Republican and are a bit uncomfortable with what your party has become, I have a few questions for you.

1. Do you wonder what has become of the party of Reagan? As far as I can tell, the only thing left is Reagan’s worst idea: tax cuts for the wealthy. Tax cuts never pay for themselves, and that was true of the Reagan cuts, as well as the Bush and Trump cuts that came after. All they gave us was rampant economic inequality and runaway federal debt. If Reagan could see the GOP today, he would be disgusted. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” has morphed into Trump’s invitation to Putin and any others who want to invade NATO countries “to do whatever the hell they want.”

2. Does it bother you at least a little that the party that used to tout “family values” has been completely taken over by a man found guilty of rape, who has bragged about sexual assault, who has cheated on three wives (and then paid hush money to one to keep this knowledge from the voters), who has been found guilty of fraud and has been indicted by four different grand juries for a variety of crimes, who offended our allies and fawned over brutal dictators (Trump has a severe case of Putin envy), and who (according to members of his own staff and cabinet) should never be allowed near power again? Trump has tried to walk back his recent claim that “if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath,” but his rhetoric has always threatened or encouraged violence, and it is only getting worse. Do you remember January 6, 2021? Do you remember what really happened, not the whitewashed version Fox News and the GOP have tried to sell?

3. Are you bothered at all by the sheer hypocrisy of your party withholding desperately needed aid to Ukraine until a bill is passed to address our southern border woes . . . and then, when a bipartisan group of senators came up with that bill, Trump puppet Mike Johnson refused to allow the House to vote on it, all so Trump can use immigration as a campaign issue? This shows that the Republican Party does not really care about solving our border problems and has become the Pro-Putin Party. Like it or not, if you are a Republican, you are supporting what the party does. And if you keep voting for Trump and his enablers (yes, that includes every Utah representative in the House and Mike Lee in the Senate), you are voting to allow Putin to take Ukraine.

4. Does it concern you that your party has become the party of science denial (global warming, vaccines, environmental protection); conspiracy theories (everything from bogus voter fraud to the “deep state”); divisive culture wars (book banning, teaching watered-down history in schools, anti-trans and -LGBTQ laws, etc.); and Christian nationalism (which is unconstitutional in a number of ways)?

5. If you live in Utah, are you troubled by a Republican legislature that consistently ignores the will of the voters, gerrymanders itself into a supermajority, and passes a bevy of privacy laws that hide government deliberations and actions from the people who elected them? Does it bother you that they keep passing tax cuts that benefit primarily the wealthy while taking millions of dollars from public education?

6. Speaking of the Utah legislature, do you ever wonder why the Republicans in Utah censured Mitt Romney for voting his conscience on Donald Trump’s second impeachment but throw their full support behind a man who has no conscience or any shred of moral character? I’ve been reading McKay Coppins’s biography of Romney and was sobered by a December 2018 email the senator-elect sent to two of his advisors shortly before he published his Washington Post op-ed: “I was asked repeatedly to apologize for what I said about Donald Trump, to say that having spent more time with him, I had learned that I was wrong. I demurred. But in truth, I did not imagine he would be so tragic as president. The incessant lying, the adulterer payoffs, the unwillingness to study and deliberate. The weakening of alliances, the elevation of autocrats, the impetuous decision, the demonizing of others, the divisiveness, the inability to hire and retain people of accomplishmentthese are as stunning to me as they are to others. I did not think he would be this bad.” Romney was right, of course, and a second Trump term would be much worse. Trump would not surround himself with people who will try to deflect him from his awful instincts. He would surround himself with toadies who would stoop to any level to please the Dear Leader. Congress is already full of such cowards.

7. Are you afraid to vote for Joe Biden because you believe the disinformation about his mental acuity? If so, please view this interview of the president by Heather Cox Richardson1 or his recent State of the Union address.2 By contrast, have you seen the word salad that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth every time he speaks? Age is irrelevant in this contest. Who is really mentally fit to be president?

8. Do you ever wonder why there is no “Never Biden” movement in the Democratic Party? Many Democrats do not agree with all of his policies and are concerned about his age, but they do not think he is a danger to democracy or to the future of our country, as many Republicans view Trump. Biden has restored our standing abroad and has brought us economic growth, stability, and increased equality after the devastating pandemic.

9. Is abortion the only or perhaps the primary reason why you vote Republican? If so, I invite you to read this op-ed I had published by the Salt Lake Tribune.3 I believe it is possible to be both pro-life and pro-choice and that it is possible to discourage abortion while allowing it in a variety of dire circumstances.

10. Are you concerned about all the Republican House members who are either leaving office early or not running for reelection? They are doing this because they cannot stand the thought of having to work with Trump or his MAGA mob that has taken over their party.

11. Does it bother you that many Republican Congressmen and -women only support Trump because they fear for their safety and the safety of their families? When has this ever happened in the United States. When have politicians had to fear not the opposing party but members of their own party? Are you aware that Mitt Romney is paying $5,000 a day for security to protect his family from crazed MAGA nuts? When have judges and prosecutors and jurors and election workers ever had to have extra security to protect them from the followers of a corrupt politician? Is this a party you want to be part of?

12. Are you troubled enough by the GOP’s support for Donald Trump and his enablers that you are considering not voting for him? Do you wish that the Republican Party could return to being a “normal” conservative party that pursues healthy conservative policies instead of being a personality cult devoted to the massive but fragile ego of a narcissistic, lawless demagogue? If so, I have bad news for you. You can’t just sit this one out. Not voting is the same as casting a vote for Donald Trump. Voting for RFK Jr. or any other third-party candidate or Ann Romney is the same as casting a vote for Donald Trump. If you really want to save the Republican Partyand I’m not sure that’s even possible anymorethere is only one way. You must vote not just for Joe Biden, but you must also vote for all the Democrats who are running against Trump’s enablers. In Utah, those enablers include Blake Moore, Celeste Maloy, John Curtis, Burgess Owens, Mike Lee, and most of the Utah legislature. The only thing that will alter the course the Republican Party is pursuing is a massive defeat at the ballot box.

If you live in Utah and want a legislature that is responsive to will of the people, you must break the supermajority by voting out at least half of the Republicans. Only when we have a more balanced legislature will we see it function properly through responsiveness to the people and through compromise. As things stand now, these unaccountable “representatives” of the people feel they can get away with whatever they want.

Finally, a reminder of the First Presidency’s message about voting from last June, which was repeated this year by the Utah Area Presidency. The First Presidency said that “merely voting a straight ticket or voting based on ‘tradition’ without careful study of candidates and their positions on important issues is a threat to democracy and inconsistent with revealed standards (see Doctrine and Covenants 98:10).” Why do you think they made this unprecedented statement? Do you think they were worried about too many Latter-day Saints voting straight-ticket Democrat? What brought on this strong encouragement to vote for “candidates . . . who have demonstrated integrity, compassion, and service to others”? Undoubtedly it was a warning about voting for Donald Trump and his enablers, who could easily receive the lion’s share of the LDS vote simply because they are Republican. Unfortunately, too many Latter-day Saints didn’t understand the message.

So, there’s my recruiting plea. You don’t have to join my party or come to my cozy little caucus. But just for this election, please consider voting for a lot of Democrats. It just might save the Constitution, which is, well, “hanging by a thread,” as the saying goes.


1. “Heather Cox Richardson Interviews President Joe Biden January 2024,

2. “Watch President Biden’s Full 2024 State of the Union Address,”

3. Roger Terry, “There Is a Hole in the LDS Position on Abortion,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 23, 2022,

1 comment:

  1. As an old RINO I won't be voting for Trump. But I have to say that a very long laundry list of offenses could be rolled out against the Democrats as well.

    I almost feel like a man without a country these days. I'm grateful that I can find some measure of security in knowing that the Kingdom will ultimately prevail.