My name is Jim Bennett.
I'm the son of the late Senator Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), and for most of my adult life, I was a devoted member of the Grand Old Party. But in 2010, I discovered I wasn't really a Republican; I was a RINO.
RINO is an acronym that stands for Republican In Name Only, as I was apparently not as loyal to Republican tenets as I was supposed to be. The problem, however, is that it becomes harder and harder to pinpoint exactly what those tenets are. It’s not easy to identify the ideological underpinnings of a movement that can't decide what it stands for.
Take, for example, Donald Trump.
My father has real problems with Donald Trump. While he was in the hospital in the aftermath of the stroke that eventually took his life, he turned to me and asked me if there were any Muslims in the hospital. I thought perhaps he was still confused from the stroke, but I answered him and told him that I was sure there were.
"I want to go up to every one of them and apologize on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump," he said.
That conversation was the main catalyst for my decision to leave the GOP, but there are many other compelling reasons as well.
Ronald Reagan once said he didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left him. I believe the same things I have always believed, but the party I belonged to doesn't seem believe them anymore.
This is a story not limited to RINOs. Disaffected Utah Democrats don't have a home, either. Both parties have been seized by ideological extremes, and neither seems interested in finding common ground.
That's why I've decided to join the United Utah Party. We're a group of politically active and informed citizens who don't feel comfortable in the Democratic Party or the GOP. There's a real need for a new party that represents what mainstream Utahns believe.