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Purple: A Cure for Political Gridlock?

Michael Feuerstein

Posted on March 23, 2018 12:48

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If individuals are inherently purple in their politics, why are states Red or Blue? The United Utah Party makes a new effort at finding common ground.

I’m described by those who know me as leaning left politically, and while that’s mostly true, it’s not 100% accurate. I wonder how many other people in this country feel the same way. For example, I support the death penalty for egregious capital crimes where the evidence is incontrovertible. Although the proposed border wall is an awful idea, I do support control of our borders – we’re not a sovereign nation without it – as well as a comprehensive immigration policy that serves the interests of US citizens and is also fair to immigrants from all countries. I see that Denver actually has a taxpayer funded budget item for a legal defense fund for immigrants. That’s going a bit too far in my opinion. 

So these positions would color me more purple than blue. I see news stories about families with a member with a pre-existing condition that favored Obamacare and still use it. Indeed, several states that were Trump strongholds in 2016 show high signup rates of Obamacare today. I doubt that every abortion in this country is performed on a female Democrat, so I think it’s safe to say that when an issue becomes personal, traditional political boundaries are crossed.

For many issues, the common thread seems to be personal impact vs. the impersonal. If I’m asked to vote for policies for others to live by, it becomes an abstract question and human nature drives me to apply more rules. If I know the rules will apply to me, then it’s personal, and I take a more balanced approach. This leads to the observation that while states vote Red or Blue, individuals seem to be Purple when the issue has personal impact. So if this is true, why can’t we find common ground in our politics? Is it that state and national politics are so impersonal that no group of any size can agree, absent a crisis atmosphere? Does money in campaign financing or term limits play a role? I pose these questions for your consideration. 


I close with an encouraging item I found online from the Salt Lake City Tribune.  The new United Utah Party (UUP) recently held caucuses in 18 locations, attended by 900 people.  A summary from the UUP website: It's time for a fresh look at how we govern ourselves. It makes no sense to stay locked in an endless battle between "conservative" and "liberal" ideologies when we have real problems that need solving. The United Utah Party promotes key reforms that will end our bickering status quo and create a space for solutions that work for everyone. 

The UUP  list of reforms lays what may be a solid foundation for moving forward: 

<> Education Investment

<> Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)

<> Independent Redistricting

<> Campaign Finance Limits

<> More Non-Partisan Elections

<> Open Primaries

I don’t live in Utah, so I'm intrigued by how initiatives based on the UUP model might be incubated elsewhere.

Michael Feuerstein

Posted on March 23, 2018 12:48

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