Can UUP candidates win this year? This is a question that I ponder. Can we move from a new party barely a year old to one gaining a majority, or even a plurality, in any district?
The short answer is yes. It is possible that we can win THIS YEAR one or more of the races we are competing in. Polls we and others have conducted over the past 20 months or so have shown that voters are not closely tied to the existing two major parties, are willing to consider an alternative, and, when they hear what we stand for, are willing to vote for a United Utah Party candidate.
That is all the good news. However, the bad news is that a majority of Utahns still do not know much, if anything, about the United Utah Party. We have made a dent through social media, our court fight last year, some traditional media coverage (although not much), and our current candidates' efforts. Yet, entering the public consciousness when people are focused on so many other things in life is not easy. We are working on it.
Building that name recognition and public understanding takes time. That has been true historically. Here are three examples:
The Republican Party emerged as a third party in the 1850s, and it took six years for them to supplant one of the two major parties. Even that might have not happened so fast had there not been a civil war that took many voters in the Southern states - opposed to the Republicans - out of national elections.
The Civil Rights movement did not win victories overnight. From the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 encompassed a tumultuous nine years filled with lunch counter sit-ins, marches, Freedom riders, and jail time. Even after, there was a struggle for more legislative victories - the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The #MeToo movement reminds me of the suffrage movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In retrospect, we forget how hard it was for women to get the basic right to vote. From the first Women's Rights Movement in 1848 to the actual adoption of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote was 72 years!
I do not expect it will take the United Utah Party 72 years, or even nine years, to make a significant impact on our state's policies. Frankly, we can't wait that long. Our public schoolchildren need significant funding increases now to prepare them for the global economy. Air quality needs to be improved before more people sicken from being outside. Our coming natural resource shortage has to be addressed now. The cynicism of many people needs to be reversed soon through government reforms that will tilt power back towards the citizens rather than the politicians. That is just a start.
Please help us accelerate the pace of our struggle. How can you help?
- Volunteer - We need precinct coordinators who will help our candidates win, and to spread the message of who we are and how we are the alternative many Utahns are looking for. We need volunteers who will walk in parades, staff county fair booths, and walk with our candidates as they campaign. Go to unitedutah.org/volunteer to sign up to help out.
- Donate - Go to the unitedutah.org/donate and help us spread our message. We are initiating a social media campaign designed to reach voters throughout the state. We are over half way there. We need your support to get the rest of the way.
The more people we have carrying this message, the faster it will spread. Word of mouth, ultimately, will be the most effective - family member, neighbor, friend, and co-worker talking to others will disseminate the message across the state. Tell others about the United Utah Party.
We know this change will not occur overnight. But how we do this year will have an effect on how we are perceived by voters, the press, and potential donors and activists. Help us do well this year!
Richard Davis, Chair