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Stay Confused 

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Stay Confused
This should be amusing. Some Utah Republicans are out of their minds—still—over the law allowing signature-gathering for candidates. And now they're not happy that the governor suspended the person-to-person process during the COVID-19 outbreak, either, according to The Daily Herald. It's just not "fair," they whine. What is fair to the right wing of the party is the caucus-convention model in which delegates pick their candidates. That's because caucuses and conventions tend to draw people from the fringe of a party, often shutting out moderate candidates. Enter the 2014 law that opened candidacy to anyone who could collect so many signatures. The state GOP has been suing and trying to overturn it ever since. At Jon Huntsman's request given the pandemic, the governor is allowing a form of online signature-gathering that retains actual signatures. This year, it's all about Huntsman, the former governor who left mid-term and now wants his job back. The conservative Grassroots scores Huntsman dead last in the field of six, with a 36% rating. Spencer Cox at No. 5 gets 45%. In the real world, those two poll highest among Republicans, according to the Deseret News.

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Stay Safe
Everything's spiking right along with the COVID-19 virus. Gun sales are up, unemployment claims are up, domestic violence is up, and apparently our mental health problems are exploding. Psychiatric Times is warning psychiatrists to watch for patients with panic or distress, depression and anxiety. The Salt Lake Tribune reported on an increase of domestic violence calls since self-isolation has become a thing. It's not just that couples aren't getting along. They're facing financial issues, too. And if a spouse has been abusive, they might feel there's nowhere to turn. Shelters are near capacity, but if your abuser is around all the time, you may not be able to seek a shelter. The Marshall Project shows a decrease in overall crime, probably because people with guns are staying home. But that staying home with a gun spells danger for abuse victims.

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Stay Home
Yes, Utah is way down on the list of COVID-19 outbreaks. Whew. But let's not get cocky. As of March 29, only 718 cases were reported. USA Today tried to explain the exponential spread of the virus, but it's mind-boggling. We are sitting pretty, away from New York, Seattle and California, but things are likely to change quickly. Thus, Gov. Gary Herbert's Stay Safe, Stay Home Directive. Here goes: Stay Home, but if you don't want to, OK. Work from home, but if you can't, don't. Herbert's four-page directive is full of good-sense and yet minimum statewide standards, like don't go touching your face, social distance yourself, wash your hands and more. Herbert probably knows that anything stronger than a "suggestion" will cause an uproar in a state that still wonders if this is just the flu. And so he says, "These directives are not to be confused with a shelter-in-place order."

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

More by Katharine Biele

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