Last Wednesday, 2016 Democratic candidate for governor Mike Weinholtz announced his campaign will not accept donations from corporations, lobbyists, or special interest groups. While I applaud his campaign for taking this courageous stance, I am concerned that this is merely a political stunt.
The Utah Democratic Party, its leadership, and the majority of Utah Democratic candidates have long accepted contributions from corporations, lobbyists, and special interest groups. So naturally, I was a bit surprised when the party took this announcement and tried to publicly brand itself as the only ethically adept political party in Utah — the only one that rejects corporate interests — which is frankly absurd and disingenuous not only to members of the party but to the people of Utah.
As a member of the Democratic Party myself, I of course believe that it offers a much better alternative to the GOP, no questions asked. I cannot, however, stand idly by while my party drifts further and further from its stated values and principles.
The 2016 election season is turning into one of the most consequential cycles, not only in my lifetime but in modern U.S. history. And while the national election has spotlighted many of the cornerstones of progressive politics, they are hardly new ideas, nor are they radical. I encourage both progressives and leftists to stand up and fight back, for we have the power to upend this corrupt system and bring about real, substantial change. If we stand together, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished.
So I’m personally calling out the Utah Democratic Party and its leadership; I implore the executive committee and its core leaders — Peter Corroon, Breanne Miller, Marcus Stevenson, and Zach Robinson — to release a public statement outlining its full and unwavering commitment to the people of Utah and its rejection of all corporate monies.
Randy C. Thomson, humanist celebrant
Utah Organizing Committee, Democratic Socialists of America
Former Secretary, Washington County Democratic Party