Here is hoping everyone is enjoying their excessive calories thanks to turkey, stuffing and potatoes and a lot of football. Thanksgiving should force reflection on the importance of tradition. After all, we have been celebrating this holiday since 1863, when in the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln called for a national day of thanksgiving.
We appear to have a new political tradition, that of despising our elected officials. Reflecting on the recent election, the very popular Governor Chris Christie won re-election by both uniting his Republican base (in a very liberal state) and doing very well among Hispanic, African-American and women voters. Christie is a winner, a fiscal conservative who realizes militant pro-life and anti-gay marriage positions are no longer supported in America. He also made points after admitting his state needed federal help after Hurricane Sandy when he embraced the president and the help he preferred. He fits the successful mold of a practical, compassionate conservative.
Recent polls suggest this is who we want to see in elected office - reasonable officials who are neither hard line conservatives nor liberals. Heck, we here in Utah have known this for years. We have a middle-of-the-road congressmen in Matheson, and until people emulating Chicago political bosses prevented us from voting for him, had a well-liked Sen. Bob Bennett. Two recent polls - Zogby Analytics and Gallup - find support for a more moderate party surging. Likely or very likely support for a new political party was at 60 percent from Zogby and as high as 71 percent among independents from Gallup. Even hardline Democrats and Republicans desire a new party at about a 50 percent rate, the highest amount ever seen.
With support for our current elected officials at an all-time low of 26 percent, the conditions seem ripe for a new political party. Some of us remember Ross Perot and his failed attempt to upset the apple cart, but today is different. I believe there are necessary elements for a new party to succeed. They include a national crisis, the failure of both parties to provide problem-solving policies and an increasing demographic insufficiently served by the current system. With the upcoming debt-limit crisis, gridlock on important items like the sequester and immigration reform, ongoing hyperpartisanship and a growing Hispanic population, we may just have the necessary precursors. Certainly we can expect more moderate candidates to succeed.
We have recognized the deficiencies hard-line politicians offer and are tired of their failures. I believe upcoming elections will be increasingly won by moderates. It is what America wants. The vast majority of voters understand we have to be more fiscally conservative and also want socially understanding officials. Utah may remain a small pocket of hard-line partisan voters for a few more election cycles, but we will find we are outliers sooner rather than later. We are seeing an influx of new blood and ideas here. I hope it impacts our social norms so we can become a part of the national discourse.