Dignity Index releases ratings from First Congressional District debate

The Dignity Index has released scores for select passages from last night’s First Congressional District debate between Rep. Blake Moore and challenger Rick Jones. The selected passages showed lower scores in general than last week’s Third Congressional District debate between Rep. John Curtis and challenger Glenn Wright, with the most notable difference between the two debates being the level of engagement between the candidates. Overall, candidates have avoided contempt and scores through two debates remain generally positive.

Debate analysis

Last week, Rep. Curtis and Mr. Wright frequently responded to each other’s comments, often with agreement, and then adding a point of difference.  In some cases, it seemed like the event was less a debate than it was an exercise in problem solving.

The debate between Rep. Moore and Mr. Jones, by contrast, seemed more like a series of free-standing statements, with little attempt to engage each other in a discussion of issues, either to find areas of agreement or to clarify points of difference.

As noted last week, dignity in public debate involves making proposals, declaring values, stating goals and discussing decisions, actions, and outcomes. It includes listening carefully, and asking for more information. It means debating why something worked or didn’t work, whether it will work or why it won’t.

The higher points on the Dignity Index are marked by the essential skills of problem solving.

  • At four – still on the contempt side – there is no real engagement. People often won’t even say what they believe because they don’t trust the other side.
  • At five, people state their views, explain their arguments, and listen to opposing view.
  • At six, people engage the other side, sorting through their differences to find common interests and values that can serve as a basis for cooperation.
  • At seven, people are willing to discuss even their deepest disagreements. They’re open to admitting mistakes, learning something new or changing their minds, because they know that’s where the breakthroughs are.

Both of the Congressional debates so far have been largely free of contempt. On the dignity side of the scale, the Curtis-Wright debate had more highlight moments.

Scores from First Congressional District Debate

Nick Jones (D), CD1

I’d like to mention I think one of the solutions to reducing costs actually came out of Utah a number of years ago with Utah Governor Mike Leavitt helping to create Western Governors University.  In 2015, my daughter called us and said she had a nice surprise for us and she was going to graduate from Western Governors with a degree in nursing instruction. And she was able to get a job at BYU with that, but the total cost of that was $3,500. And some people spend $50,000 for a master’s degree.


Nick Jones (D), CD1

I really do feel like we’re at a very unique juncture in our history and very much democracy is on the ballot. And that Kevin McCarthy, who would likely be Speaker of the House if there’s enough Republicans elected, has made it very clear that he has pretty much no commitment to government by the consent of the governed.  And his power Is the result of gerrymandering and other shenanigans. So I would like the voters to consider that.


Blake Moore (R), CD1

Yes, we absolutely do have a role to play, and I was excited that on July 31st, right before the August sort of district work period, I co-sponsored legislation with Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) out of Northern California. It’s called the Saline Lakes Ecosystem Great Basin Program Act. It’s a long name, we call it the Great Salt Lake Bill, colloquially, in our office.


Blake Moore (R), CD1

So it’s one of my biggest frustrations and criticisms of President Biden is there was plenty going on that was going well.  You didn’t have to just repeal everything that was going on. You could have actually looked at a lot of the things that were in place, and regulation was something that was moving in the right direction. And we had very smart regulation that actually targeted some of the issues.


About The Dignity Index project

Powered by UNITE, a national movement to encourage Americans to reject “us vs. them” thinking and stand together in common purpose, The Dignity Index was developed in partnership with behavioral scientists and other experts, and the demonstration project is being guided by researchers  at the University of Utah. Learn more at dignityindex.us