July 17th, 2008
05:39 PM ET

Democrats in Utah: Enemy Territory


Introducing the iReport Film Festival!

We want YOU to make a short film for iReport Film Festival: Campaign 2008!, an online festival of short films from the campaign trail.

Put your creativity to the test and give us a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes whether you are organizing in your community or following the campaign… Learn more


Here's a sample of what we're looking for in the iReport Film Festival from AC360° Associate Producer Jack Gray. This film isn't in the running.
Here's a sample of what we're looking for in the iReport Film Festival from AC360° Associate Producer Jack Gray. This film isn't in the running.

Jack Gray
AC360° Associate Producer

Rural, heavily Mormon and across-the-board-conservative: Utah, as it was and ever shall be, right? Well, not quite, as it turns out.

Until last month I had never been to Utah. I had heard good things from my friends who ski but had never had a reason to travel there myself (I am a disaster on the slopes). But when I was assigned to produce a sample mini documentary on the election for the CNN iReport Film Festival I decided that Utah was the place to go.

My topic was to spend some time with Democrats in a heavily Republican state. To borrow from one of my idols, Jerry Seinfeld, Democrats in Utah inhabit a veritable political "bizarro world." And yes, the state is indeed rural, heavily Mormon, and conservative. But there is also a strong, albeit small, group of Democratic activists (including Mormons) working to advance the Democratic Party platform within Utah.

By the way, to be fair, I also traveled to San Francisco to hang out with Republicans in the cradle of liberal ideals but I fractured my arm before I could get the interviews I needed. Note to Tony Bennett: You like to sing about how you left your heart in San Francisco…well, I left part of my arm there – and I guarantee it hurt way more. I’m expecting a shout out at your next concert.

Watch the short film here

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. meredith, SLC

    Love that you showed this i-Report. As a voting Utah Democrat for 30 years, I can appreciate everything the kids were saying. I raised an extremely liberal Democrat who is now the only non-Democrat, non-Mormon in his entire office in Utah County. His co-workers have great fun decorating his cubby with banners etc of our prominent Utah Republicans. He is a huge man who fortunately has a huge sense of humor. It is challenging to remain active in the party when you know that with the electrol college your vote for President will never count. But keep on voting we do as we figure it gives us major griping rights (And Bush has certainly given my son some classic comebacks for his Republican buddies!) Personally I work in public service and for life of me have never understood how 90% of the folks I work with vote for people who are pretty much guaranteed not to support our social causes...go figure? Oh well life behind the Zion curtain is never dull for the likes of us!!

    July 18, 2008 at 2:10 am |
  2. Tim Cousens

    Great sory about the democrats in Utah. I must have missed the counter point regarding the republicans in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New York, New Jersy, California, Oregon, Washington, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, New Mexico, ....ect, ect...When will it be re-aired???

    Objectivity contributes to the solution. Partisan adjendas only perpetuate the problem.

    July 18, 2008 at 12:12 am |
  3. Anita

    Well being from Texas, there is a lot of democrats here and we definately voice our opinions. I feel that if Obama was to spend some time here it would end up being a closer race than it shows. Although the primary race was so close I do feel that with the frustrations that the citizens of this state is feeling he would have a chance to pull some votes from the republicans.

    BTW in the state of Texas on your voter's registration there isn't a party affiliation. It is just which party you claim to be apart of; changing your mind here is very easy.

    July 17, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  4. Annie Kate


    You need to come to Alabama where being Republican is more or less the norm. In the years I've lived down here I haven't met many Democrats – they are probably doing what I do – keep quiet and keep your head down. I have had the practices of not talking politics and not talking religion re-enforced many times. So much that some days its best not to say anything at all.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 17, 2008 at 9:03 pm |
  5. Larry

    Who said that? The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco'? 🙂

    July 17, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  6. Mari, Salt Lake City

    Well, its refreshing to hear that Utah is being visited! And that someone has noticed that we are not ALL Republicans! For example, Salt Lake City, is a Democratic stronghold. As I drive through the streets of SLC, I see many Obama signs and sticker on cars. Sen. Obama has an office here and in Park City. Which is brilliant!

    July 17, 2008 at 6:07 pm |