Webb’s Wrap: Do Cox & Peterson have the luxury of being nice?

Competing gubernatorial candidates Spencer Cox and Chris Peterson continue to receive accolades and national publicity for their joint advertising campaign encouraging civility and respect in politics. On Monday they were on Fox News with Dana Perino, who praised them.

Their relative lovefest is striking a nerve because it is so different than the campaign nastiness being displayed all across the country, and even in Utah, as candidates take their final shots at opponents as the election winds down.

I applaud their sentiments and creativity. They really are both genuinely nice people. But I wonder if they would be as respectful if the election was extremely close and could go either way. If the election might be decided by a point or two, would either, or both, of them be tempted to pull the other down with some pointed and personal criticism?

It’s easy to be nice when the election outcome is not in doubt. Neither has anything to lose. But, generally, even nice candidates engage in negative campaigning when an election is on the line. Both Ben McAdams and Burgess Owens, for example, are genuinely nice people. But their campaign battle is about as vicious and personal as we’ve seen in Utah.

Are Cox and Peterson just plain nicer than McAdams and Owens? Or are the election dynamics just different?

To give Cox some credit, he did not engage in negative advertising in the primary, despite taking some heavy fire from opponents. He was, of course, leading in the polls most of the way.

I’m being something of a cynic, of course. I really do applaud civility. Perhaps we ought to just celebrate niceness when we see it and not be skeptical. Just forget I wrote this.

Good Read. Will Amy Coney Barrett transform America’s Supreme Court? The Economist takes a look at what impact she will have.

Parting Shot. Even many Republican never-Trumpers, who wish Trump had never been elected, are praising the selection and confirmation of now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett. For all of Pres. Trump’s character flaws and failings, his selection of three outstanding Supreme Court justices is a remarkable achievement and his greatest legacy. Had Hillary Clinton won the election, and had appointed three liberal, activist judges, consider how different the outlook would be on numerous issues critical to the future of the country.

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