Why Democrat Party Losses in the Utah Legislature Aren’t About the Map

Why Democrat Party Losses in the Utah Legislature Aren't About the MapIt’s easy to point to gerrymandering as the reason Utah Democrat Party losses in the 2014 mid-term elections grew by three. Easy, but pusillanimous.

It removes blame from Democrat candidates, donors, strategists and campaign workers and instead puts it on the shoulders of cheating Republicans, ruling with a super-er majority in the Utah Legislature. Screenshot 2014-11-19 10.04.09

But Legislative Dems are confederate with their Republican colleagues. Blame the Republicans, but the Democrats were confederate.

When the maps were drawn and redistricting happened in 2011, every Democrat member of the Utah House of Representatives voted to support the map (see below). In fact, the only Democrat in the House who did not vote for the map was Rep. Janice Fisher, ostensibly because Fred Cox, another representative, had been drawn into her district, forcing them into a reelection fight. (Spoiler alert: Fisher won).le.utah.gov  2011S3 status hbillsta hb3001s6.002h.txt

 

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, the story was the similar. Only Senator Ross Romero opposed the map.

There are a lot of reasons that Democrats can look to for why they lost on election day, including allowing Republicans to run unopposed,  disorganization, failure to communicate a winning message, and a growing number of Republicans signing up to vote by mail (hat tip to Thomas Wright). Unless Democrats want to take responsibility for being asleep at the switch in 2011 when the redistricting train rolled past, though, gerrymandering really shouldn’t be one of them.

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