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Situational awareness: Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Welcome to Wednesday. Seek higher ground (the mountains) if you want to stay cool.

Top of the news:

  • Gun control laws pick up momentum in Congress and some states
  • Bernick analyzes survey research showing GOP has challenge to attract young voters.
  • Governor's race gets more interesting as Webb wonders why Cox beats Huntsman among Republicans.

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Today is the 219th day of the year. There are 146 days remaining in 2019.

6 days to the 2019 Utah primary elections (8/13/2019)

90 days to the 2019 municipal elections (11/5/2019)

148 days until candidates can begin to gather signatures to get on the 2020 ballot (1/2/2020)

173 days to the first day of the 2020 Utah Legislature (1/27/2020)

180 days to the 2020 Iowa Caucuses (2/3/2020)

209 days to the 2020 Utah presidential primary (3/3/2020)

218 days to the final day of the 2020 Utah Legislature (3/12/2020)

219 days to the opening of candidate filing for the 2020 election (3/13/2020)

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Today At Utah Policy

images/mugs-300/Jon_Huntsman_02.jpgHuntsman brings intrigue to gubernatorial race

The likely entry of Jon Huntsman Jr. into the gubernatorial race is going the shake things up dramatically. But perhaps Huntsman won't be a slam-dunk winner like most pundits (me included) thought he would be. The popular Huntsman may not be invincible, after all.Huntsman's apparent vulnerability, and the prospect of a Huntsman/Spencer Cox battle, might actually encourage other candidates to get into the race. In a free-for-all, with no "anointed" candidate, anything can happen.
Survey research: GOP has challenge to attract younger voters

In this spring's county and state Republican Party conventions, leaders stressed time and again that the party needs to attract more younger voters, and keep them as they grow older.Now a new UtahPolicy.com/Y2 Analytics poll shows why party leaders are worried about the future: Younger Utahns are less partisan and less Republican than their elders.
Gov Herbert appoints new policy & communications directors

Gov. Gary R. Herbert has announced the appointments of Gordon Larsen as policy director and Anna Lehnardt as communications director, following Paul Edwards' move to Brigham Young University's Wheatley Institution. 
images/mugs/scott-simpson.jpgScott Simpson is contemplating a run for Congress

One of the people considering a run in 2020 for the now-open 1st Congressional District seat is Scott Simpson who may not be a household name to northern Utah GOP voters, but is certainly well thought of inside Utah Republican politics.Simpson for the last 16 years has been the head of the Utah Credit Union Association, and has lobbied on Utah's Capitol Hill for that group.
images/mugs/Jon_Huntsman.jpgHuntsman likely to come home & seek governorship

In criticizing a story about former Gov. Jon Huntsman, now ambassador to Russia, on CNN, former Utah First Lady Mary Kaye Huntsman confirmed what UtahPolicy.com first reported some time ago: That the Huntsman family will leave the ambassadorship this fall.
Communications tip: Use this methodology to create PR plan

In both business and politics, when we have something important to communicate, we sometimes brainstorm and toss out things like, "We should send out a press release" or, "Let's do a social media campaign." Rather than shooting from the hip, it makes a lot more sense to follow a proven methodology to create an effective communications plan and strategy.  Follow these seven steps to create that plan:
images/mugs/LaVarr_Webb.jpgOpinion briefs: A tribute to Norma Matheson . . . Is climate change or federal debt greatest threat?

What's greatest threat to your family? I don't really like the word "existential", as in "existential threat." The definition has been perverted to mean a threat to one's very existence, rather than its original reference to the individual as a free agent responsible for his or her own actions.But because the word is so commonly misused, I'll further exploit it with what I think is a very interesting question: Which is the greatest existential threat: Climate change, or the federal debt? Which one will most damage your family, your children and grandchildren in the next 10, 15 or 20 years?

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune


Aftermath of mass shootings. McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation (The Hill). 'Red flag' gun control bills pick up momentum with GOP in Congress (New York Times). Some useful steps to identify and deter dangerous individuals (Wall Street Journal opinion). Trump to visit Dayton & El Paso, creating mixed feelings (The Hill) (New York Times). Obama throws down challenge to Trump (The Hill).

Stock Market: U.S. and European stocks climb despite lingering trade worries (Wall Street Journal).

Trade Wars: Beijing digs in to outlast Washington and Trump (Wall Street Journal). U.S. collects $63 billion in Chinese tariffs through June (Wall Street Journal). Chinese crackdown in Hong Kong could be the end of  a trade deal (Wall Street Journal).

2020 election. Sanders, Warren gain on Biden in New Hampshire (The Hill). Warren has big operation and big crowds in early-voting Nevada (Politico). Booker's strong debate performance shows no sign of moving voters (Politico). Some Democrats are frustrated with the news media (Politico). Trump remains underwater in critical battleground states (Morning Consult).

Obituary: Remembering Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, who "bent language to her will" (New York Times).


1782  General George Washington creates the Purple Heart to honor "any singularly meritorious action" by soldiers.

1912  Teddy Roosevelt is nominated for the presidency by the Bull Moose Party, which called for the direct election of U.S. senators.

1942  The U.S. 1st Marine Division invades Guadalcanal, one of the Solomon Islands, in the first U.S. offensive of the war.

1959 -- The first U.S. satellite to photograph the earth is launched.

1990 Pres. George H.W. Bush orders the organization of Desert Shield in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

Policy News

314 Action endorses Erin Mendenhall for SLC mayor
314 Action, the nation's largest resource for scientists and STEM professionals running for public office, announced its endorsement of Erin Mendenhall. Erin is running to be mayor of Salt Lake City. Now in her second term on the City Council, Erin entered public service as a clean-air activist. She co-founded a non-profit organization, Breathe Utah, to create educational programming for Utahns and advocate for better policy, and now chairs Utah's Air Quality Board. Erin earned a master's degree in Science and Technology from the University of Utah and has made improving Salt Lake City's air quality through practical, evidence-based solutions the centerpiece of her campaign. 
Strata creates new initiative called Stratasphere
The free-market think tank Strata, based in Logan, has embarked on a new initiative called The Stratasphere, which publishes short articles and seeks to find common ground with critics.Randy Simmons, president and co-founder of Strata, issued this statement:
Ambassador to China praises Utah's efforts on trade relations
While participating in the National Governors Association Summer Meeting held in Salt Lake City, U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad met with WTC Utah as well as local business leaders and legislators with strong ties to China. The luncheon provided a forum for the group to discuss the importance of engaging with China on a state level despite international trade disputes.
Press release: American Dreams Ideas Challenge seeks innovative policy ideas
 The University of Utah, in partnership with Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, is sponsoring the American Dream Ideas Challenge. The challenge calls for innovative policy ideas or investable concepts that have the potential to increase net income for 10,000 middle-class households in Utah by 10 percent by 2022. 

More National Headlines

Wise Words


"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." Ernest Hemingway

Lighter Side

Debate Diatribe

"The election is still 16 months away, you have to have a lot of people at first, right? It's like sea turtles hatching on a beach, O.K.? Lots of birds circling overhead but there are thousands of them, one of them has to make it to the water. Plus, it's going to be so fun to watch those birds drag off Bill de Blasio." - STEPHEN COLBERT

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