Liberal Panel in Utah Agrees They Won’t Be Wasting Time Supporting Hilary Clinton

17 07 2016

On Saturday July 15 at Greektown Collective a riveting panel and debate was held to discuss how to best build the political revolution in Utah.  The Moderator was Michael Minch, a political philosophy professor at UVU.  The panelists were four white women, one Latino, and one white man; Edgar Harwood (Utah house district 43 democratic candidate), Dennis Potter (UVU professor), Sarah Baytop Scott (Digital Strategist and Field Director for Voterise and founder of Utah for Bernie), Danielle Warnick (Socialist Alternative Branch Organizer), Deb Henry (Bike Collective President), Joanna Straughn (Worker’s World Party).  The room was packed with people that spilled out into the hallway.  The event went about two hours and it could have easily gone two more.


Utah is a state in an interesting position.  It had one of the highest Democratic primary votes for Bernie Sanders in the country and one of the lowest Trump votes on the Republican side.  Utah has a golden opportunity at its fingertips.  Can the state actually become blue, if not a heavy shade of purple?  What happens in Utah might reflect how a lot of other states vote in the upcoming presidential election.


It was easy for the panel to agree that nobody is wasting time trying to stand for or endorse or push for a Hilary Clinton presidency.  If it comes down to it, some of the panelists would vote for her depending on what state they were in but the mood over talking about Hilary was very somber, negative, and energy-less.  The liberal left and the Democratic party is made weaker by having her as a leader.  These are all powerful leaders in Utah and one can’t help but think that the Democrat party would want these kind of people backing them.  It’s too bad there isn’t a candidate that couldn’t unite all, or at least most, of these people.  Oh wait, there is and I think his name is Bernie Sanders.  What will become of the Democratic Party as it continues to hold people and local leaders hostage in favor of their chosen candidate?


What was more of a contentious issue was what was to be done about the Democratic Party.  Should the liberal and progressive cause fully join it and focus their energy to changing the party from within, or should the party be abandoned and the formation of a third party be given most attention and effort?  Edgar Harwood who is currently part of the Democratic Party claimed that the party is a convenient vehicle that should be continued to be used.  The Bernie movement and the mobility of 13 million people showed that the party can change and it will continue to do so and this could very well be the last time we have to vote for an establishment candidate.  Dennis Potter chimed in that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  How many more decades and charismatic progressive leaders stifled do we have to witness to really learn that the Democratic Party is counter revolutionary, counter movement and will continue to put their interests over that of the common person?  The Democratic Party has always been dragged unwillingly down the road by activist causes.  Do we really want to support a party that makes it so difficult for grassroots organizers and activists?  What would politics look like if we had a party to support that did the opposite?  Hopper continued to claim that choosing the lesser of two evils was getting us nowhere and actually leaving us worse off with the rise of candidates like Trump.  We assume the politics of Trump is far more outrageous than the politics of Hilary, however, Hilary and most neo-liberal Democrats are center-right on the political spectrum while Trump is just a bit more to the right of them.  There has to be more of a difference between the two candidates other than personality and speaking styles that should warrant that they are actually very different from one another.


Danielle Warnick also supported the idea that the Democratic party was not going to lead to the change we needed.  We simply can’t just vote for candidates and rather need to get involved locally.  Social issues and equality are at the center of if people vote or not.  If people are worrying about what food they are going to eat they will not care about voting.  Joanna Straughn also maintained this sentiment as well.  The current political parties and their capitalist structure will not speak for the change people need.  Until workers are valued and given equality and opportunity through decent wages the 1% and corporate issues will dominate and the 99% will be left out.


Deb Henry stressed the importance of not getting stuck in the world of only having intellectual arguments with people.  Whatever we are trying to change for the better in life, the Democrat Party, ending racism, etc., needs to come from those with a level of experience on the issue.  We make huge mistakes when systems are created by people who have no experience in that particular realm.  If people haven’t experienced something, then they simply won’t care about an issue.  It is of vital importance as well to not get stuck in an echo chamber of people who only think like you.  People experience all sorts of different things and if we don’t open our minds up to those who experience life differently then bad decisions will be made that people simply won’t care about and not relating or not caring about one another’s interest will persevere.  Henry also stressed that with every conversation about creating change in politics needs to come with a specific action plan, otherwise, it’s all just words and intellectual alone is not action that creates lasting change.


Sarah Scott shared her vision of how the Democrat Party could expand and be a force to be reckoned with.  Locally in Utah this could be accomplished by the Democratic Party embracing and working with Independents.  The Mormon and super conservative majority of Utah are yearning to vote outside their Republican voting bloc.  The local Democratic Party has decided to accomplish this by pushing super progressive candidates.  We will see what the outcome of this will be, especially in the Mike Lee vs Misty Snow election, which basically sums up that approach.  The prevailing thought among Scott is rather that success comes in not being labeled as a progressive but rather an independent.  The symbol of being attached ultimately to the Democratic Party will not bode over well with Utah conservatives but being attached to an independent label will bring about heavy consideration.  That consideration will speak to a desire to vote for something else altogether, that Trump and Clinton and the current establishment parties are not working for the common people anymore.  Remember people in Utah really don’t like Trump.  How does the Democratic Party take advantage of that weakness?  It won’t be in creating fear around Trump.  The independent label would make people who would otherwise apathetically vote for Trump and Republicans have another choice that speaks to the spirit of Independent minded Utah.


Overall, the vibe felt from the panel debate was that the Democratic Party is failing miserably, especially the local Democratic Party.  The party needs to get rid of its Democratic party only mentality and be an umbrella organization that supports all of the left wing and the complete liberal agenda.  It needs to bring all the movements on the left together for the strongest candidate possible.  Consensus and compromise on the left will create the strongest political product moving forward.  We need to stop catering to the right.  We lose our base when we cater to the right and having centrist viewpoints doesn’t really gain from the right as much as it loses from the left.  Being so obsessed about the middle is the old way of doing things when Republicans and Democrats actually could come to the table and share common views.  When there was less differences between them.  The pathways towards a successful future of being powerful for all of the left, and for Democrats by association, is in speaking to their base in the form of the Green Party, the Democratic Party, the Worker’s World Party, the Socialist Alternative party, the Democratic Socialist party, and all the other parties on the left that can work together.  The huge infrastructure of the Democratic party is primed to take this on.  It will create a united front that will bring about the most positive change in America, however, this would only come about if the Democratic party could lose its ego and its power dominance of going at it alone.  Instead of wanting others to absorb into itself, it needs to absorb into others.  It is questionable if the party will allow this to happen.  If it doesn’t, the result is the possibility of being brought down by the likes of a right win populous Trump presidency.  A populous movement will overcome one way or another.  Why not absorb into that change rather than let it take you over?


There was also a Jill Stein video played at the panel.  It was extremely motivating and echoed a lot of the points Bernie Sanders has stood for and what progressives in general on the left can get behind.  The finer points included: the federal reserve bailing out students by erasing their student debt just how they did for Wall Street and making public higher education free.  Creating an emergency jobs program that could instantly lead to 20 million jobs within the industries of clean energy, transportation systems, repairing infrastructure, reviving the economy.  This could easily lead to a society where we are not dependent on oil or foreign wars and would be environmentally safer and clean.  We also can easily put an end to police brutality and deaths against blacks and minorities.  We need police review boards that investigate into all deaths.  We need to de-militarize the police and end the racist war on drugs.  We need to address the living legacy of slavery.  It’s time to back up our words with actions on all fronts.


Currently the two major political parties have their own interests in mind.  We need to vote beyond the politics of fear.  We are allowing ourselves to be silenced and the lesser of two evils is paving the way for the greatest evil of all.  That evil is in the likes of a populous candidate like Trump becoming popular and gaining power as a reaction to the political parties functioning as usual.  That evil is in people not caring and not voting because the system doesn’t instill energy, passion, change, or speaks to them at all.  When people don’t engage it is easy pickings for corporations to rush in.  Neoliberalism and Clintonism will lead to more of the same.  It will not be the people who will inevitably be responsible for Trump.  It will be the reaction to neoliberal and war mongering leaders and policies that will.  The neoliberalism structure has set us up for failure and now we need a way to organize the 99%.  A party that puts people first will win in the end and will gain converts from both the left and right as Bernie Sanders’s authenticity and leadership has proved.  If this fails to happen, a party that is bent on destroying the current system will win regardless of how that party plans to conduct itself, hence the rise of Trump.





4 responses

17 07 2016
Joe Bycroft

What exactly is neoliberalism and Clintonism these are new terms to me ?
Also how can Utah turn blue when the Progressives want only one person at the top of the Ticket , and the rest of the country went with a different person. They still have the opportunity to vote the rest of the ticket in and make Utah blue yet they say it will not happen without Bernie at the top ! Are they not serious about the rest of the candidates?

19 07 2016
18 07 2016

Beautifully written Ryan. I appreciate you sharing the truth. Hillary freaks me out just as much as Trump does. She looks unhealthy too…Its up to all of us to stand up as one and make change happen. Obviously politics never have our best interests in mind.

19 07 2016

Thanks Joceline. Hope you are well:)

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