It all began a year ago when Utah republican delegates met in Salt Lake City and ended Bob Bennett’s US Senate career. Earlier this month, Salt Lake County republicans met again and ignored the wishes of Utah’s republican governor. There have been rumblings among newly elected republican members of the legislature, saying they were tricked into voting for changing the open-records law. Even Carl Wimmer-R, Herriman, deemed Utah’s most conservative legislator by the Salt Lake Tribune bucked leadership by saying HB477 was a mistake.
Issues like open-records, liquor sales and store closures, the UDOT settlement, electronic signatures, redistricting and immigration have caught the interest of Utah voters, and have the Utah GOP hustling to keep it together by rewarding the faithful, and damning those who buck the system. They did repeal HB477, although they are far from giving up control on the issue. There is deep division over HB116, the guest-worker law that has some legislators calling it amnesty while others think it is a model for the feds.
Have you ever wondered what having one political party running the show can do to a government? Governor Gary Herbert is saying one party rule is a good thing, that it makes the state strong economically. But leaders of Utah’s House and Senate have considered overriding four of Herbert’s vetoes. If they try, it will be the first time since 2004.
What will it take for Utah republicans to hold on to control – of the state and of each other? Leaders in the legislature seem to know they’ll need: “A small, compact core, consisting of reliable, experienced and hardened workers (read legislative leadership), with responsible agents (read delegates) in the principal districts and connected by all the rules of strict secrecy with the organizations of revolutionists, can, with the wide support of the masses and without an elaborate set of rules, perform all the functions of a trade-union organization (read government), and perform them, moreover, in the manner the Social Democrats (read Republicans) desire.”
This all too familiar way of doing things is the organizing principle of Vladimir Lenin’s Communist party. The way things are and with redistricting on the horizon, Utah is obviously not a democracy, but is it even a republic?
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Source: A History of Political Theory, Third Edition, New York, 1961 – “Lenin‘s Theory of the Party” from Lenin’s Collective Works, Volume IV, Book II, Salt Lake Tribune