There’s one issue that’s been largely absent during the 2014 campaign season...The alleged misdeeds of former Attorney General John Swallow.
This would be a perfect opportunity to have a meaningful discussion about campaign finance reform and corruption in politics.
But it’s been basically radio silence.
Sure, it’s been an issue in the Attorney General race, but both candidates are running against the legacy of John Swallow, so it’s not an advantage for either side.
But why aren’t Utah’s Democrats shouting from the mountaintops about this?
It’s a tailor made issue for them. Swallow is a Republican, and it would be very easy to make the case of guilt by association.
Republicans have enjoyed the spoils of one-party rule for years. John Swallow is their problem, Democrats are naturally insulated from the topic.
That’s why I’m astonished they’re not using this to their advantage. It feels like everyone simply wants John Swallow to go away. It feels like Utah’s political community doesn’t want to talk about it. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.
Democrats constantly talk about bringing “balance” to Utah’s Capitol Hill. That argument drives me crazy because, for the most part, voters really don’t care about balance. But, in this case they might. Why not point out that one-party rule kept lawmakers from passing any sort of meaningful campaign finance reform? Why not say that legislative Republicans repeatedly failed to pass ethics legislation with teeth? Democrats have been pushing these issues for years, but now they’ve gone strangely silent.
2014 is the only time John Swallow can be used as a weapon in elections. He won’t be an issue in 2016 and beyond.
If I were a Democratic candidate this year, I’d sautee my Republican opponent in a lovely John Swallow reduction, with braised John Swallow on the side and finish it with a stunning John Swallow torte. I wouldn’t even mention my opponent’s name unless it was followed by “and John Swallow.”
But it’s not just individual races that are missing the Swallow boat. This would be a perfect opportunity for a statewide campaign by Democrats to superglue John Swallow to the Republican party. Much like the albatross in Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Democrats could punish the GOP for the sins of one of their own.
Ah! Well a-day! What evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the albatross
About my neck was hung
Republicans might get mad, but so what? They really have no defense. In elections you play to win. If that means hurting some feelings, then so be it. Why not score some easy (some would say cheap) political points? If ever there was an issue begging to be politicized, it’s this one.
It will going to take something dramatic to shift the electoral fortunes of Utah’s Democrats. Even if it’s not enough to cause major upheaval, it might just help them create a narrative that the GOP can’t be trusted. The John Swallow/corruption issue is a gift wrapped and laid tantalizingly at their feet.
It’s puzzling why they refuse to open it.