Midterm Mayhem | Cover Story | Salt Lake City Weekly

October 31, 2018 News » Cover Story

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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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    Jenny Wilson - KELAN LYONS
    • Kelan Lyons
    • Jenny Wilson

    Jenny's Last Stand
    Inside Jenny Wilson's uphill battle against Mitt Romney for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
    By Kelan Lyons

    It's a hazy Saturday morning in September, but Jenny Wilson is spending it outside, breathing in the noxious gases and smoke as she canvasses a neighborhood in Riverton. A half-hour earlier, she'd told a handful of volunteers gathered in her Salt Lake City HQ that she and the team can't afford to take any days off, even when the air quality sucks. A statewide campaign requires discipline and sacrifice, especially when you're the Democrat running against Mitt Romney.

    Canvassing involves meandering around neighborhoods to confer with voters who might be persuaded to vote for Wilson. It's a common staple of political campaigning, but Wilson doesn't just farm out the grunt work to volunteers or professionals. She's there on the front lines, walking up to strangers to tell them why she wants to be their senator. "They're absolutely happy to talk to me," she says of potential voters as she approaches someone's home. "They don't expect a candidate for the U.S. Senate to be out knocking on doors."

    Christopher Smith answers Wilson's tapping and steps onto his patio to chat. She tells him who she is and what office she's pursuing. "That's a tough race," Smith says before explaining his family's political breakdown. "We have a split household," he says, meaning he's the lone Republican who lives there.

    Political differences aside, Smith and Wilson talk for 20 minutes. They bond over the sports their children play, then get deep into the weeds on health care and Social Security. The amiable conversation reaches a natural conclusion after they gab about that afternoon's BYU football game, and Wilson asks if she's earned his vote. "I'll definitely consider it," Smith says. "I wish I'd get the chance for a one-on-one with Romney, as well."

    In 2004, Wilson became the first woman elected to the Salt Lake County Council, where she's currently serving her second term. If she beats Romney, she'll be the first woman elected in Utah to serve on the U.S. Senate. "I'm not running on the platform of becoming the first woman senator from the state of Utah, but that would be a first, and maybe at some level would encourage young women to live their dreams, no matter what they may be," she says.

    Politics is in Wilson's blood. Her father, Ted, unsuccessfully ran as a Democrat against Orrin Hatch for his U.S. Senate seat in 1982. He was also a well-liked Salt Lake City mayor for almost a decade, from 1976 to 1985. "My dad is the ultimate consensus-builder," Wilson says. People from all different political affiliations are constantly telling her what a good man he is. Watching him work when she was young gave Wilson a framework for her own political career, teaching her the importance of collaborating with members of other political parties in order to achieve real, lasting change.

    "I think we see good government when both sides of the aisle engage and come up with solutions, especially in this day and age when we're so divided," Wilson says.

    In the '90s, Wilson was the chief of staff for Bill Orton, a Democrat U.S. congressman who represented Utah's 3rd District, one of the most conservative in the state. Working with Orton added to the wisdom she gained from observing her father's career, helping her learn how to compromise and reach across party lines. It also instilled a deep understanding of the value of balanced representation in government, a message she's spreading in her campaign.

    "I look around, I look at the dominant gender, the dominant religion, the dominant party, and I think we should make change," Wilson says. "I think I represent something very different. Clearly, returning a Democrat to a statewide-elected position in Utah I think would go a long way to support the families in this state."

    The problem is, the change Wilson envisions is a longshot. A recent Salt Lake Tribune-Hinckley Institute of Politics poll lists Romney as having a commanding 36-point lead.

    "Mitt Romney is a juggernaut," Hinckley Institute of Politics associate director Morgan Lyon Cotti says. "He has universal name recognition. He knows how to run a campaign."

    But it's also a matter of the "R" next to his name. Utah, after all, is a Republican stronghold. According to its election website, Democrats make up about 12 percent of active voters in the state. Republicans make up 48 percent.

    "Partisanship is a big driver in a race like this," Matthew Burbank, an associate professor in the U's Department of Political Science, says. He thinks Romney and Wilson share a lot of similarities, despite belonging to different parties. Both candidates have campaigned on their abilities to cut through partisan bickering to reach a bipartisan consensus, and they have similar takes on governing. "They both have a sense that politics is about, broadly speaking, trying to help people," Burbank says.

    But there are key differences in each candidate's positions. To name a few: Romney backs enhanced background checks for guns and a ban on bump stocks but, ultimately, believes gun legislation should be passed at the state level, whereas Wilson supports a ban on assault-style weapons and enhanced background checks for purchases made online or at a gun show; Romney thinks states should have the right to approve national monument designations, Wilson is against shrinking monument borders; Romney is a fan of tax reform, Wilson calls it "a giveaway to the very wealthy and corporations."

    Like an old red sweater, Romney's political preferences are comfortable for Utah voters. His politics align with "common sense conservative policies and values that a lot of Utahns are familiar with and a lot of Utahns like," Cotti says. "He's an easy vote for a lot of Utah Republicans."

    Uphill battle aside, Wilson and her team have put up a good fight. She's traveled to all of Utah's 29 counties over the past 20 months, talking to voters about her diplomatic skills in working with Republicans to get things done. "Jenny has run a really great statewide campaign. Democrats do better when they hit the streets," Cotti says.

    A fifth-generation Utahn who's now raising a family of her own, Wilson is used to packing up her car and heading to a national park or campground. "And when you do that, you gas up, you get your Diet Coke, you fill the cooler and you move on. When you go out as a candidate, you engage with people," she says. "It doesn't take long for the tears to well up."

    No tears are visible as she canvasses in Riverton. That day, Wilson winds up knocking on more than 10 doors and speaks with pretty much everyone who happens to be outside while she walks around the community. At one point, she comes across an elderly man wrangling with ghastly decorations as he strategically places skeletons and ghouls on his lawn. "The neighborhood kids demand it," the man says when Wilson asks him why he's setting up for Halloween in mid-September. "You're that Wilson lady," he says before she can introduce herself. "You're gonna make me a Democrat."

    Wilson thanks him for his time, recognizing that he's solidly in Romney's camp. "We can't get every vote, but we'll try," she says.

    As the day winds down, Wilson comes across two LDS missionaries. She runs through her usual elevator pitch and introduces herself. The two young men don't look like they recognize her.

    "My opponent is Mitt Romney, have you heard of him?" Wilson asks. "I think so," one of them says, smiling.

    In some ways, talking to Wilson is like talking to a charismatic college professor. One minute she's talking about holiday decorations or making a joke, the next she's explaining the intersection between the criminal justice system, health care and the opioid epidemic. As a candidate, she's traveled the whole state, and as a member of the Utah Association of Counties, she has a firm understanding of many issues facing Utahns in rural and urban communities.

    But in Republican Utah, that only goes so far. Wilson still is getting clobbered in the polls. At age 71, it's unclear whether Romney would be able to serve more than two six-year terms. And maybe that's not such a bad thing. "I think for a lot of Republicans in this state, they're perfectly happy Mitt Romney is not going to be there for as long as Orrin Hatch was," Burbank says.

    Wilson, who will be 53 years old come Election Day, isn't sure she would run for Senate again if she loses on Nov. 6. Campaigning statewide is grueling. But she vows to participate, in one way or another, in every federal election, even if she isn't the Democrat who's on the ballot. The limelight isn't what's important—it's fielding a new generation of leaders who will fight for values that Utah Democrats share and give a voice to on the other side of the aisle. "I do this because I want this state to remain as special as it is, and I think there are things worth fighting for," Wilson says.

    Driving back to Salt Lake City from Riverton, Wilson opines about the future of Utah's politics. Win or lose, she's optimistic. "Change in this state is tangible. You can feel it in this murky air."

    Women on Ballot - CARRIE COX
    • Carrie Cox
    • Women on Ballot

    Go Women Go
    Meet the women destroying the Beehive patriarchy one run at a time.
    By Ray Howze

    You've probably heard it before: Utah is a male-dominated state; the patriarchy makes the big decisions.

    What about the women?

    Well, if you're voting Nov. 6, you might find the answer. Utah voters' ballots are replete with female candidates for the midterm election this year, and it's not exactly new news. Names like Jenny Wilson (running against Mitt Romney), Shireen Ghorbani (running against Rep. Chris Stewart), and Rep. Mia Love (running against Ben McAdams) likely are familiar if you've been around town for awhile. They're just a few of the growing number of female candidates running for public office.

    In races involving Salt Lake City and county, more than 40 women are running for some type of office, from Congress all the way down at the county council. If you include school board races, that number is even higher. On the state level, women who filed for House seats increased from 50 to 67 from 2016 to 2018 and doubled from nine to 18 for the Senate.

    Three weeks before the midterm, Womenpreneurs, a local female leadership group, gathered nine women candidates to speak to small groups of voters.

    Rose Maizner, co-founder, says that while her group's goal is not entirely politically motivated, she understands the need for representation.

    "We don't focus specifically to train women to be politically engaged," Rose says. "But we also know it's a hell of a lot harder to access business and leadership positions if we don't have policies that have been crafted to support, protect and empower women in leadership.

    "We also know that for those policies to be crafted, we need a seat at the table."

    The number of seats at the table has been growing for women in Utah politics since 1971, according to a 2017 study by Utah Valley University's Utah Women & Leadership Project. In 1971, 8.2 percent of state legislators were women. Now, that number has risen to 19.2 percent and includes 12 Democrats and 8 Republicans. The number of women in the Legislature actually was highest in 2001, at 22.1 percent, with 12 Democrats and 11 Republicans.

    Erin Jemison, director of public policy at the Utah YWCA chapter, which operates Real Women Run, foresees more women in political office. Since Real Women Run started in 2011, two-thirds of its candidates have won, she says.

    Three counties in the Beehive State—Davis, Utah and Washington—have all-male representation in their county-level elected offices. Despite the high number of men, Jemison and Maizner both said their goal isn't just to elect women, but to evaluate all candidates' positions on public policy, not gender.

    "We're not about voting for every woman candidate over every male candidate," Jemison says. "But we are about decreasing barriers and trying to make sure our communities are represented as effectively as possible—we know that when women have roles at the table, different issues get talked about, more collaboration happens and more work gets done."

    Later that night, when Wilson addressed the Womenpreneurs' crowd, she acknowledged the elephant in the room.

    "I am the woman running against Mitt Romney," she said to a few cheers. "That has not always been my identity, but I'm happy to lose it one way or the other in two weeks."

    The race is a long shot for the Salt Lake County councilwoman, according to numerous polls, but she and other candidates say they don't let that deter them from running.

    Stephanie Pitcher, a Democrat running in House District 40, which encompasses parts of Millcreek, Holladay and Sugar House, says while she is "cognizant we need more women" in office, she wants people to see that she's the "better candidate" because of her qualifications and experience. Pitcher, running against Republican Peter Kraus, is currently a deputy district attorney who previously worked as an associate city prosecutor in Salt Lake City.

    "I prefer to be recognized for my merits, but I see the frustration as well, because seeing the type of policies coming out of a male-dominated Legislature ... our policies do reflect that to some extent," Pitcher tells City Weekly. "If more women are there, we would see more focus on child care and education issues and parental leave."

    And while it might look like man vs. woman on your ballot, the Womenpreneurs hope that idea changes, if it hasn't already.

    "If we can talk honestly and [be] open about it, we can solve it," Maizner concludes. "We don't want it to be us vs. them."

    Pivoting to Video
    Inside the election season's best ads, announcements and diatribes.
    By Kelan Lyons

    Love 'em or hate 'em, campaign commercials and announcements are the lifeblood of election season. Following is a breakdown of this year's most cringeworthy, head-scratching and downright funny political ads and ramblings:


    Shireen and the Bear
    What happens: Shireen Ghorbani goes after opponent Chris Stewart, U.S. representative for Utah's 2nd Congressional District, for not protecting national monuments like Grand Staircase-Escalante, located in his jurisdiction.
    Best part: When Ghorbani says, "We need someone who will stand up for our public lands" as a grizzly bear balances on its hind legs, implying the majestic predator will eat anyone who wants to privatize national monuments located in Utah.


    Ben McAdams' Rub-a-dub-dubbing
    What happens: The Salt Lake County mayor and Rep. Mia Love challenger uses an elaborate bathing metaphor to explain that Washington, D.C., needs to be cleaned up so special interests don't run U.S. politics.
    Best part: The moment McAdams' four kids kick their dad out of the bathroom so they, too, can shower, presumably all at the same time. Why are they all washing themselves, fully clothed, just like Ben? Is this how they do laundry?


    As the Wheels Turn
    What happens: Friends of Mia Love mocks Ben McAdams' campaign bus in a nonsensical video that accuses "Big Spendin' McAdams" of extravagantly paying his aides and opposing tax cuts.
    Best part: "Ben is not my friend," one gray-haired man declares, as if he and the congressional candidate were locked in a schoolyard squabble, not a political disagreement.


    Bill and Ben: BFFs?
    What happens: Friends of Mia Love tries to connect Ben McAdams to the Clintons by simulating a voicemail from Bill on Ben's phone.
    Best part: The "Actor Portrayal" disclaimer beside the picture of Clinton's voicemail. If any voter believes that recording was actually Clinton, the Russians should hire Friends of Mia Love to spread disinformation in the 2020 presidential election.


    Mitt's Medals
    What happens: Mitt Romney declares he's running for U.S. Senate in a glossy vid that hits all the classic campaign staples: standing alone in a large room, telling people their state is awesome and, of course, hanging out in a diner.
    Best part: When Mitt posts a selfie he took with young voters. Problem is, it only depicts the top half of his face, making it look more like a ransom demand than an earnest showing of how down young people are with his politics.


    Cox Votes Utah
    What happens: Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox laments Utah being ranked 39th in national voter turnout in the 2016 election and urges residents to "get registered, get educated, get voting."
    Best part: When Cox employs a host of U.S. clichés—catching a football, lighting a firecracker—to inspire Utahns to get off their asses and participate in our democratic republic. If Uncle Sam on stilts doesn't inspire you to cast a ballot, nothing will.


    Sweet Release
    What happens: Utah 1st Congressional District third-party candidate Eric Eliason encourages voters to "Release the Bishop," referencing the 16-year incumbent Rob Bishop.
    Best part: Because Bishop's not being held hostage, this must be a swipe at the congressman's and voters' religion. Only in Utah.


    Mitt to Bishop: Put Me In, Coach
    What happens: Rob Bishop employs the tired "Vote for me because I represent Utah values" shtick while using a lot of baseball metaphors.
    Best part: Romney's cameo. He appears out of nowhere on the ole baseball diamond, to throw his support behind Bishop, "a well-respected all-star and a team player who shares Utah values." What values? A love of watered-down beer?


    Reed's Rants
    What happens: Reed Clair McCandless, a little-known candidate vying with Jenny Wilson and Romney for Orrin Hatch's seat in the U.S. Senate, uses a YouTube Channel to ramble to voters about his political opinions.
    Best parts: McCandless' tiny nuggets of wisdom: "A spoiled spouse really wreaks havoc on a companionship," he says in one video. "Finances are tough, dreams are not always met, but we stay positive and we move forward," he says in another.


    What happens: Tim Aalders, a conservative radio host and U.S. Senate candidate whose website tells voters they "don't have to be stuck with progressive Mitt Romney in this upcoming election," pledges to represent all Utahns.
    Best part: Two words: prairie dogs. Aalders says the disease-carrying ground squirrels invade farmers' lands because they're "smart," then implies a cull might be needed: "There's more prairie dogs out there than need to be protected."


    Will an independent commission help Utah's political boundaries?
    By Ray Howze

    Are our political boundaries gerrymandered?

    That might depend who you ask. But take one look at Holladay and you might get an idea.

    The city of about 30,000 is split up into four state House seats, two Senate seats and two congressional seats.

    "It [the city] could fit into one district," Blake Moore, Republican co-chair for the Better Boundaries initiative, says. "But why? That's the question. I believe that has been done in order to unduly favor a potential candidate, creating a safe district ... you're not going to keep Salt Lake together but there's no reason for a place like Holladay to be cut up."

    The Better Boundaries initiative, also known as Proposition 4, would create an independent citizen-led commission to recommend new political boundaries to the Legislature following the 2020 federal census.

    The hope is that it would encourage transparency and avoid gerrymandering, Natalie Gohnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, told a voter-education panel in October.

    "I think there's considerable evidence that political bodies draw these boundaries in ways that favor people they like," she said at the panel. "Better Boundaries is saying, 'Let's not try to cut out Summit County; let's let it stay whole rather than divide up all the Democrats'—this is the kind of nonsense that goes on."

    That "nonsense" could be diminished by the seven-member redistricting commission, proponents say. Members from both political parties would be appointed by lawmakers. But the Legislature would have the final say in drawing any new boundaries. Would that create better boundaries? Moore, who acknowledges he's in the majority when it comes to Utah politics, says the change would reduce public criticism of the Legislature.

    "You've removed the conflict and you've added in governing principles," Moore tells City Weekly. "You're doing the opposite of eight years ago or what's been done for the last century."

    Following the 2010 census, Utah's four congressional districts were cut into what some describe as a pizza or pie, splitting up Salt Lake County and effectively diminishing Democrats' ability to win a district in the heavily-red state. In September, the Salt Lake Chapter of the League of Women Voters held a "Gerry-Meander" 5K that crossed Utah's four congressional districts nine times, trying to show people how the city has been divvied up. While Moore says the commission would still be predominantly Republican, Rep. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, has said he thinks it's a way for Democrats to gain a U.S. House seat.

    "I don't think this is about political gerrymandering. I think this is about the Democrats getting a seat in Congress—a guaranteed seat that they can't lose every election cycle," Weiler told KUER 90.1 FM. (Meanwhile, Democrat Ben McAdams could beat Rep. Mia Love for a congressional seat Nov. 6)

    Frank Pignanelli, a Democrat and political advisor, however, told the October panel that idea can go both ways.

    "It's not just Republican or Democrat," Pignanelli said. "What it is is that the state is changing—Salt Lake City is a Democratic city and the east bench tends to vote predominantly democrat—but I don't care what commission you have, I don't care what happens, they're [Democrats] going to get nailed."

    Whether the new boundaries result in a Democrat winning a congressional seat state-level office, though, might not be known for years and it will come down to Utah's changing population, as Pignanelli points out. And as Moore says, "Republicans are in control of everything statewide." But he emphasizes Prop 4 would at least add more input to the process.

    "I want voters to know that the group behind this is nonpartisan and bipartisan," Moore concludes. "What we literally just care going forward is that we can be proud about what's going to be done [to boundaries] in 2021 and 2031 and say a state like Utah was definitely willing to do this."

    With information from Kelan Lyons

    click to enlarge Mark Madsen, second from right, in his new home country , Peru. - COURTESY MARK MADSEN
    • Courtesy Mark Madsen
    • Mark Madsen, second from right, in his new home country , Peru.

    Five Stages of Prop 2 Grief
    Angry by political thwarting? Upset by Utah's definition of separation of church and state? You might be experiencing these feelings.
    By Ray Howze

    Voters, rejoice! The time has finally come to let the Legislature know how you really feel. For years, it's dragged its feet on medical cannabis but finally, you get a chance to vote on it with Proposition 2. There've been radio ads sharing iffy information, accusations of shady tactics to remove signatures during the approval process and even an 11th-hour "compromise" with lawmakers. How did we get here and how best to handle the situation? Here are Utah's five steps of acceptance:

    Denial and Isolation
    Remember former Sen. Mark Madsen? He's the state lawmaker who proposed a whole-plant medical cannabis bill more than two years ago. That bill went nowhere at the Capitol.

    "I was never able to have a substantive conversation with anyone in authority or anyone ordained, so I had no idea what their positions were on these issues," Madsen told City Weekly in July.

    The inability for the state to make any progress on medical cannabis left many upset, including Madsen. He soon retired from public office and decided it was time to leave the country altogether, moving to Peru earlier this year. Some Utah families with members who benefitted from medical cannabis moved out of state to Colorado and other areas.

    If there was a silver lining from the failures on the lawmaker level, it might be what you see on the ballot with Proposition 2, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act. Groups worked endless hours to gather more than 130,000 signatures across the state and get it on the ballot. The people were essentially fed up with any negotiations on Capitol Hill and took the issue into their own hands.

    With some polls showing that as many as 66 percent of Utah voters approved of Prop 2, opponents started using propaganda campaigns to turn the tide. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also came out in opposition to the proposition. Until ...

    Last month, lawmakers, representatives with the Utah Medical Association and others including Madsen, gathered at the Capitol to announce a medical cannabis compromise bill. The announcement included news of a special session after the election to discuss a medical cannabis plan slightly different from Prop 2, possibly signaling medical cannabis is on its way to Utah.

    But to be sure, Madsen says, voters still need to vote on Prop 2.

    "I hope people will vote for Prop 2," he says. "Because 1. It's a better bill. 2. It's an insurance policy. And 3. It sends a message that 'Yes' on Prop 2 is a 'No' to business as usual. Send the message."

    Burn Baby, Burn!
    The sickest disses candidates have landed during this election season's debates.
    Kelan Lyons

    We should all aspire to be respectful when we engage in civic discourse. But sometimes the cracks show, and candidates find inventive ways to tell their opponents to shove off. Here are a few noteworthy examples:


    Ben McAdams, to Rep. Mia Love
    "... I did something I've never seen Rep. Love do: I held a town hall meeting."


    Rep. Mia Love, to Ben McAdams
    "We've seen Mayor McAdams, with the help of D.C. Democrat allies, come after and try to destroy a fellow American in pursuit of political power."


    Jenny Wilson, to Mitt Romney
    "I guess we're gonna play Multiple-Choice Mitt, because you've said one thing when you went to run for governor, another thing as governor, then you went off to run for president, and now you're seeking to serve us in the U.S. Senate from Utah. I don't know if it's A, B, C or D, but I see that it does change."


    Eric Eliason, to Rep. Rob Bishop
    "I'm glad, as of 2017, that Mr. Bishop has acknowledged climate change. Upton Sinclair said, 'It's difficult for man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it.'"


    A debate heckler, to Shireen Ghorbani and Chris Stewart
    "Vaccines cause autism. Autism is caused by vaccines."


    Orrin You Glad I'm Leaving?
    Remembering Orrin Hatch's reign at the (merciful) end of his 41-year senatorial career.
    By Kelan Lyons

    In his first U.S. Senate campaign, Orrin Hatch castigated his incumbent opponent with a joke: "What do you call a senator who's served in office for 18 years? You call him home."

    Hatch won that race in 1976. More than four decades later, he's still serving.

    Hatch—a walking, breathing, living (?) argument for term limits—is calling himself home at the end of this year, ending the political career of the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history. It's difficult to conceptualize just how long 41 years is, so City Weekly is eulogizing Hatch's run with a list of fads, inventions and cultural touchstones that his politicking has outlived.

    click to enlarge tl_1.jpg

    Thing: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
    Year: 1977
    How long Hatch had been in office by that time: 4 months
    Notable event from that year: Elvis' death.


    Thing: Sony Walkman
    Year: First released in 1979
    How long Hatch had been in office by that time: 2 years
    Notable event from that year: Iran Hostage Crisis.


    Thing: Care Bears
    Year: First painted in 1981
    How long Hatch had been in office by that time: 4 years
    Notable event from that year: Sandra Day O'Connor becomes first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

    click to enlarge nes-console-set.jpg

    Thing: Nintendo Entertainment System
    Year: Released in North America in 1985
    How long Hatch had been in office by that time: 8 years
    Notable event from that year: Route 66 is removed from the U.S. highway system.

    click to enlarge nwa.jpg

    Thing: Straight Outta Compton, NWA's first album
    Year: 1988
    How long Hatch had been in office by that time: 11 years (he probably hasn't listened to it)
    Notable event from that year: George H.W. Bush is elected president.

    click to enlarge friends.jpg

    Thing: Friends TV show
    Year: Premiered in 1994
    How long Hatch had been in office by that time: 17 years
    Notable event from that year: Nelson Mandela becomes president of South Africa.

    click to enlarge charizard.jpg

    Thing: Pokémon cards
    Year: Released in the U.S. in 1999
    How long Hatch had been in office by that time: 22 years
    Notable event from that year: Senate acquits Bill Clinton.

    click to enlarge clog.jpg

    Thing: Crocs foam clogs
    Year: First public appearance in 2002
    How long Hatch had been in office by that time: 25 years
    Notable event from that year: Salt Lake City hosts the Winter Olympics.

    click to enlarge straight_outta_compton.jpg

    Thing: Straight Outta Compton, the movie
    Year: Released in 2015
    How Long Hatch had been in office by that time: 38 years
    Notable event from that year: Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage.

    click to enlarge president_donald_trump_visits_roland_r._wright_air_national_guard_base.jpg

    Thing: Pokémon Go
    Year: Released in 2016
    How long Hatch had been in office by that time: 39 years
    Notable event from that year: Donald Trump is the 45th man elected president of the United States.

    Choose Your Own Adventure,
    Midterm Edition Overwhelmed by the complexity of each initiative on your ballot? City Weekly made these handy reference guides to help you make your decision. Just answer the questions and follow the arrows to see how you should vote.




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