Midterm Mayhem | Cover Story | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Midterm Mayhem 

PLUS: Prop 2 madness, awful political ads, an ode to Orrin and more!

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click to enlarge DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle

Everything is political. That truism has never been more clear than now, when politics is in the air we breathe (thanks, climate change), the water we drink (there's still lead in the water in Flint, Mich.) and the food we eat (our consumption of meat isn't exactly helping heal Mother Earth).

Your next chance to have a say in our elected leadership comes Tuesday, Nov. 6. By this point, you might have already voted, or you're so tired of all the constant chattering about the midterms that you can't bring yourself to fill out a ballot. That's where we come in.

In this special midterm election issue, we say goodbye to Sen. Orrin Hatch and help you figure out how to vote on each ballot initiative, in a fun, gently mocking, alt-weekly way. We take you behind the scenes on Jenny Wilson's campaign for Hatch's seat, and tell you what the hell gerrymandering is and why Prop 4 is so important. And we cut through the complexity and report the cold, hard numbers on how a 10-cent gas tax could help Utah's students.

We also fill you in on the latest twists and turns in the medical cannabis chronicles, and analyze the funniest, dumbest and most absurd moments of this election season's political ads.

Some of this coverage is light-hearted, meant to give you a break from the constant onslaught of negative, stress-inducing news that's published daily in national and local outlets, including this one. But don't think of us as the punks who sit in the back of a political science classroom and hurl spitballs at the professor—think of us as the old friend who buys you beers so you'll talk about what's on your mind. Because, jokes aside, all elections are important, including this one.

The midterms will come and go, and the talk will soon turn to who's running in 2020. We can't escape the chaos. But do we really want to? Has everyday life become more political, or are people just waking up, seeing the writing on the wall and understanding that it's no longer acceptable to be a passive participant in the democratic process?

As you'll see inside, Utahns have an opportunity to elect candidates who aren't stodgy, old white men. We can make our representatives look more like the people they represent. More than 40 women are running for offices involving Salt Lake County, Jenny Wilson could be the first Utah woman in the U.S. Senate and James Singer might be the first Native American congressman in Utah's history. Representation matters. Voters can send a message that just because the majority of elected officials don't look like them, it doesn't mean you need to be a straight caucasian male in order to hold public office in this state.

So, please vote. Thanks to same-day registration, you can even register and vote on Election Day. And once you submit that ballot, consider why so many of your peers chose to sit this one out and turn a blind eye toward improving the Beehive State. Then gently urge them to reconsider before the next election.

After all, everything is political.

—Kelan Lyons,
staff writer



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