Are More Utah Mormons Going Democratic?
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- At the recent Democratic National
Convention, gubernatorial hopeful Bill Orton denied the effectiveness
of a profile that was developed seven years ago by Brigham Young
University political scientist David Magleby. Orton, who served
three terms in Congress and was recently a delegate at the convention
said, "I voted my constituency." It has successfully worked for
Orton, a Mormon, who won three elections while representing one of
the most conservative Republican districts in the nation.
"It's a mistake for a party to go after somebody [as a candidate recruit]
because they fit a profile," said David Nelson, a Utah delegate and
gay-rights champion. "It has rarely, if ever, worked." Nelson has claimed
that "profiling" is a result of misguided reliance.
Orton still sees room for diversity within the Democratic Party and
credits the shift to the political middle being the most dramatic in recent
years. "The spectrum has really swung in the Democratic Party," said Orton.
"We are bringing the party back to what we believe are the core values and
concerns of the people."
Orton saw Democrats identifying with the liberal fringe issues as a thing
that turned many Utah voters away. He now sees Utah party loyalists
returning, as Republicans lunge to the ultra-conservative right.
Democratic activists are charging the Utah Republican party with
"Their party is tipping over to the right side, where the Democrats were
once tipping to the left," he said. "It doesn't matter which side you are
going off on" when you start losing touch with the mainstream. House
Minority Leader Dave Jones blames the GOP extremism for scaring Republicans
and causing them to switch parties.
At a recent candidate training meeting a few weeks ago, Jone aske 65
aspirants if any of them were former Republicans. "Amazingly, about
one-third of them raised their hands," said Jones. "Instinctively, they know
something's wrong in Utah and it has to be fixed," he added.
As GOP Shifts to Right, Demos Move to Middle, Utahns Trading Parties
Salt Lake Tribune 15Aug00 T2
By Dan Harrie: Salt Lake Tribune