Can Democrats win in Utah?

Democratic candidates have lost so often in recent years, it’s tough to keep track of them all. Progressives. Moderates. People with no name recognition. People with high name recognition. Mormons. Non-Mormons.

With the exception of Ben McAdams and a super-minority of Utah Representatives and Senators, Democrats are on a bit of a losing streak in this state, to say the least.

This is particularly troubling to me not just because I’m currently running for Congress (in Utah’s 4th Congressional District), and not just because I want my fellow Democrats to do well. It’s troubling because of the policy implications of all this Republican domination at every level of Utah government.

A powerful metaphor comes to mind, shared by Elder Dallin H. Oaks in an address he gave years ago, of a pianist who only plays a single key on the keyboard. Not only does the music suffer, but the listeners do too.

As Utah has proven, when we play only the Republican key, the listeners suffer. Conformity leads to extremism. Moderation is impossible without diversity.

I am troubled that our state has the 5th highest uninsured rate for children. Only four other states provide worse health care coverage for their children than we do. In fact, according to a recent report of Utah by Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, the rate of uninsured children more than doubles for Hispanic children. And this was before our congressional delegation got in line behind TrumpCare’s frontal assault on Medicaid. This rushed legislation will take health care coverage from even more sick, poor, or young people in this state. TrumpCare is an urgent failure of public policy. We can’t blame the children (or even their parents, in every case). We as a society need to come together and address this problem.

I have personal experience with Medicaid. My son Marcus, who passed away when he was 3 years old, got his health care thanks to Medicaid. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without that help. I was a young mom. My husband and I both worked and had insurance, but we wouldn’t have had access to the expensive care our ailing son needed without Medicaid.

My son Doug has autism, and currently benefits from Medicaid. So when I saw that my opponent, Mia Love, voted for Trumpcare, it literally brought me to tears. I know how much Medicaid has helped my family, and I know how much it continues to help families all over this state. It literally saves lives.

I don’t know if Utah Democrats will be able to turn things around in the next few elections. But for the sake of Utah children and families, I dearly hope we do.

I will do everything in my power to make it happen.

Darlene McDonald is a Democratic candidate in Utah’s 4th Congressional District.