This came from an old friend and contributor to OpEdNews, Tom Walsh. He sent an email to his friend Lucy and copied me on it. I have his permission to reprint it here. It gives a lot of insight into Utah and Salt Lake City changing demographics. I thought our readers would find it an interesting part of the election puzzle.
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Thanks for the attached notice on Salt Lake having gone Obama in the recent election.
Having lived in the greater Salt Lake metro area for seven years in the ''70's, and within driving range for the last nine years, this isn't that suprising to me.
Salt Lake has grown tremendously over the last three-four decades, particularly with the effect of the Winter Olympics.
When we first moved there in 1972, I can remember there was actually one decent restaurant in the entire city, and if my memory serves me, it was up in the avenues, and called Finn's. It's a much more sophisticated city than it was back then.
NOW... get outside of Salt Lake (even to Provo or Ogden) along the Wasatch front, and katie-bar-the door---it is right-wing conservatism that would make the Deep South proud as heck!
Salt Lake's high profile (former?) mayor, "Rocky" Anderson, is a very visible (and vocal) liberal, which of course, drives the local church management right up the wall!
Back to Salt Lake. The U. of Utah has developed a good research base, and that, along with the climate, skiing, and general outdoor appeal have drawn a lot of well-educated, intelligent people to the area.
This vote pattern is also a mirror reflection of what has happened to the GOP. Laying in the gutter with the basic dumb-a-- far-right Christians has hurt the party mightily. I'm shouldn't have used that term, but I am just so weary of those folks! Obama won college grads by two points over McCain, and people with graduate degrees by 18 points!
Even though they will probably pay more taxes under the new administration, he won voters with household incomes over $200K.
Where did McCain do well? With uneducated voters in Appalachia and the Deep South, along with that strange nation- within-a-nation I call "WyUtAho."
Salt Lake doesn't quite fit into that craziness. Our own little Teton County, Idaho went straight Democrat, one of only three counties in all of Idaho. Again, high percentage of college-educated, attracted primarily by the ski resort and outdoor capabilities right here. Of course, Blaine County (Sun Valley) is reliably democratic...once again ...higher-educated folk.
The anti-intellectual bias in today's GOP is very real, and after eight years of dealing with perhaps the least intellectual president in modern history, people have simply rebelled against presidential disinterest and stupidity.
I was asked recently to write a column for the Idaho Falls Post Register (which appeared yesterday) regarding my feelings re the election, based on the fact that I have an African-American grandkid (actually I have three now). Great kids, all!
In this article, I said: "I don't know how we got into this, "Is he a guy I'd like to have a beer with?" mentality in picking a presidential candidate. We've seen that play out. I want a president a lot smarter than I am."
Of course, I am aware that a number of you reading this might feel that you could walk out in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, pick out the first homeless guy, and accomplish the aforementioned.
Back to the GOP. Many of today's Republicans take their opinions from some real creeps...Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity (who sounds like a modern day Father Coughlin), and even the ever-smirking Bill O' Reilly, who almost comes off as moderate when compared to those two.
As pointed out in The Economist ( not exactly a liberal publication), McCain, "in a desperate attempt to serve boob bait to Bubba, appointed Sarah Palin to his ticket, a woman who took five years to get a degree in journalism, and was apparently unaware of some of the most rudimentary facts about international politics." The Brits, God love 'em, can be so polite.
Now, as an proud progressive, I feel great about the fact that a lot of these folks celebrate Ms. Palin's general ignorance almost as a badge of honor, rather than a tremendous handicap. For my particular political hopes and dreams, nothing could be better than Ms. Palin keeping a high profile. That, as much as anything, will guarantee the dems a chance to build a little continuity here.
By any chance, did you hear Newt Gingrich's comments two nights ago? He trotted out the old crap that America was becoming "A nation of gay activists and abortionists," or something along that line. Is Gingrich that stupid? Yes and no.
He's a pretty smart guy, but he is stupid politically if he thinks that crap will still sell. He is obviously looking to run for the presidency. Sure, he'll win that 20-25% of religious-right "know nothings," but he is dumb not to realize that crew is shrinking, and doing so very rapidly. It is also causing greater resolve amongst the better-educated who have seen through this for exactly what it is.
Barack Obama could not have won without a considerable number of crossover votes from moderate Republicans, sickened in their heart by what Bush/Cheny/Rummy/Gonzales have done to our country.
I was surprised that Gingrich hasn't quite come to the awareness that the old scare and racial stuff is just not working as well anymore.
Whew! End of epistle!
Go Irish!, on Saturday.
Last time I saw Syracuse play, they had a great kid---Ernie Davis, who won the Heisman. He died the following summer of Leukemia..
Tom Walsh graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1962 with a B.A. in Journalism/Communications. After serving a stint in the United States Marine Corps, he embarked on a successful 36-year sales/sales management career with 3M Company and Lanier Worldwide, culminating in retirement and relocation in 1999 from Southern California to Driggs, Idaho, in the Teton Valley. Walsh and his wife Wynne Ann work in the wintertime as alpine ski instructors at Grand Targhee Resort, west of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He writes for several magazines, as well as a regular column in the Idaho Falls Post Register, the second largest paper in Idaho.