Some extremely faithful readers of this blog may perhaps have noticed that I’m a political conservative who tends strongly libertarian on economic matters.
Several people have asked me, in this light, whether I don’t think it unhealthy that Utah is something of a one-party state.
Now, first of all, I think that description a bit overdone. When I arrived in Utah as a college student in 1970, Utah had already been led by a Democratic governor (Calvin Rampton) for five years. I served a mission; graduated from Brigham Young University; studied for a doctorate in Jerusalem, Cairo, and Los Angeles; and returned to the faculty of BYU, and Utah was still governed by a Democrat. (Calvin Rampton served until 1977 and was replaced by Scott Matheson, who served until 1985). Democrat Jim Matheson has represented the Salt Lake City area in Congress since 2001. For six years (1991-1997), my own representative in Washington was Democrat Bill Orton. Salt Lake City hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1974.
But it’s true that Utah is one of the most Republican of states, and I don’t actually think it’s healthy for a single party to have too comfortable a hold on power. That leads to complacency and, too often, to corruption. (Compare, for example, the relationship of American blacks to the Democratic Party.) In Utah, specifically, it can lead to a false and potentially idolatrous identification of religious faithfulness and virtue with political affiliation.
My dream would be to have a robustly competitive two-party political marketplace here in Utah — in which Republicans and Libertarians could debate one another over how small government should be, and how to make its necessary functions more efficient and effective.