Defend the presumption of innocence

Sigh. It is a thankless task to defend the application of legal norms to Donald Trump without appearing to defend the man himself. But it is necessary. I shall just have to assume that my opinion of Mr. Trump is sufficiently well-known that I can run the risk. Curtis Haring tells us (Hatch Sums Up Our Broken Politics in One Comment) that Senator Orrin Hatch is a statesman – or would be if he agreed with Mr. Haring, that when it comes to controversies involving sexual abuse or the president,…

Hatch Sums Up Our Broken Politics in One Comment

Regardless of how you feel about the man’s politics, it is safe to say that outgoing Senator Orrin Hatch is a statesman…so long as you are making those statements around 1995. Since that time, Senator Hatch has seen fit to throw this goodwill in the garbage by engaging activities such as deriding his political opponents with comments which can only be described as an insult you would hear during a 1930’s talkie moving picture show and wave of people’s ludicrous opinions about getting upset at alleged sexual assaults. But, with less than…

Understanding why Count My Vote divided the GOP

In late May, Lt Governor Spencer Cox announced that the petition submitted by Count my Vote did not qualify for the November ballot.  That means the issue remains politically contentious and expands the divide within the party beyond this election cycle. A recent Utah Policy poll[1] says that only 10% of Utah voters “strongly oppose” Count my Vote.  Why are 10% of voters so engaged and angry about this and why it caused such intense feelings and division in the Utah GOP? I strongly support the delegate system for nominating…

The caucus has an image problem. Can we fix it?

After the Republican state convention, it’s become fairly obvious why a lot of people think ill of the caucus system. It took five hours of arguing about rules and agendas before anyone could get to the primary purpose, nominating candidates. Not only does this alienate new participants (my father-in-law was a first time state delegate and less than impressed), it makes the caucus and convention process look like a complete clown show. On top of that, we’re doing little to build faith that the convention process actually sends the best…

Is it happening here?

Are we seeing the beginning of the collapse of American democratic institutions? David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, in his recent column Illiberal Arts, sounds the call for alarm: Donald Trump did not ignite but merely joined a miserable, destabilizing trend of illiberalism that has been under way for years in Russia, Turkey, China, India, Southeast Asia, and Western, Eastern, and Central Europe. . . . As President, Trump is the putative guardian of a set of political values, and, no matter how often those values have been undermined,…

Political loyalties give dogs a bad name

Do you want to know why so many Americans identify as independent or, here in Utah, unaffiliated voters? The reason is that partisanship never serves the common good. By its very nature, partisanship is insular, exclusionary and selfish. It encourages bad behavior in the name of a perverse sense of loyalty and it does not serve the public interest. Of course, the best current example of how partisanship turns otherwise intelligent people into flaming idiots is the Roy Moore candidacy in Alabama. The Republican Senate candidate is accused of gross…

The time John Curtis threw me under the bus

John Curtis has successfully made the jump from well-known and well-liked mayor to Utah’s latest Congresscritter. Once a firebrand (to use polite terms) like Chris Herrod passed through convention, it was a foregone conclusion in the primary. I don’t know what kind of Representative we should expect Curtis to be, but I do know that I don’t trust him based on my own experience. I’ve been blogging about broadband since August 2006. That includes closely following UTOPIA, SFCN, the now-mostly-defunct AFCNet, and iProvo. Of these, iProvo provided some of the…

When salt becomes unsavory

In a recent Salt Lake Tribune commentary, I wrote about the problems of extremism in Utah politics. As a conservative, I focused on how many members of the Utah Republican Party had become radicalized. By radicalized, I mean many Utah Republicans have separated their personal values from their political principles. Historically, we have witnessed the horrors perpetrated by a society in which personal values were abandoned when so-called principles were idolized. For instance, it is hard to imagine, still to this day, how a German husband and father in the…