“This is a peculiar moment for Utah. I get it. Mitt Romney is to LDS people what Barack Obama was to African-Americans in 2008. We don’t want to take away from that. It does us no good to say bad things about Mitt Romney.”
So, how do you get voters to punch their ballots for Democrats this year?
“If we can convince people the ballot is sacred and these candidates deserve individual attention and the respect of an individual vote,” says Dabakis. “These added people who are coming out to the polls because of Mitt Romney...we’re not convinced they are going to vote straight ticket.”
Why does he think that?
“These are not the fanatics. Democrats like Matheson, Howell and Cooke who are moderates might appeal to this sense most voters have in voting for the person and not the party.”
Party is important for Dabakis, and he wants to change the culture surrounding being a Democrat in Utah.
“It begins with standing up and having self-respect as Democrats. I want Democrats to know there’s a party behind them and they will be supported.”
But Dabakis also knows changing that culture takes a long view. That’s hard to do when the pressure is to win now.
“I use the analogy of making steel. When we come out of this race with Romney at the top, we will have a stronger part, a stronger donor base. We’re going to be better for it.”
Does he have expectations about what will happen this year?
“My expectations are so low, if I win a race it’s exceeding expectations. If Republicans lose a race, it’s below expectations. My job is challenging. I want to raise expectations. We need to demand a lot more of ourselves. We have a responsibility to change our image of ourselves.”
It’s refreshing to hear a politician talk about focusing on a generational shift instead of a “win now” mentality.
I wonder if Utah Democrats will give him time to execute that vision - especially if they suffer big losses at the polls this year.
Speaking of Mitt Romney, I think time is rapidly running out on his campaign.
Barack Obama is building a lead in a number of swing states . Just this week he’s up 4 in Florida and 6 in Colorado. Other polls (as of Monday) show Obama leading in Ohio by 4, Virginia by 4, Pennsylvania by 7 and Michigan by 11. With just over 40 days left until the election, those leads are huge.
That’s not to say Romney can’t turn it around, but it’s going to take some seismic events to change the trajectory of the race.
Many are pointing to the debates as a potential turning point. There’s something to be said for that. In 2004, George W. Bush was leading John Kerry by 6 or 8 points depending on the poll following the conventions. It looked like Bush was headed for a blowout, but after Kerry delivered a strong performance in their first debate he closed the gap and the race was neck-and-neck the rest of the way.
There is one more historical comparison we should be aware of. The last Republican to knock off a sitting Democratic President was Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Mitt may need some of the Gipper’s magic to pull off the same feat this year.
Inside little league football:
The Jordan Maroon Mity Mites continue their winning ways as they crush the Riverton Silver team 34-0. The only first down Riverton gained the entire game came off a face mask penalty.
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” ~ Groucho Marx