Howard Dean? Seriously?

Howard Dean01Look, I admire Howard Dean. I really wish he had been the Democratic nominee in 2004 over John Kerry. But he is exactly the wrong person for Utah’s Democrats to bring to Utah to kick off their voter registration drive.

Associating themselves with Dean basically confirms every single stereotype the average Utahn might have about Democrats and, by association, Utah’s minority party.

Sure, the former Vermont Governor, Chair of the DNC and erstwhile presidential candidate will make Utah’s Democrats feel good about themselves, but his appearance may do more harm than good outside of their little political bubble.

An east-coast liberal who is most famous around these parts for the “Dean scream” is probably not the image Utah’s Democrats want to pop into the minds of the average Utah voter.

Dean has been mocked relentlessly by conservative media – which is very popular ’round these parts – so his public perception here is basically in the toilet. I just don’t think too many Utahns watch MSNBC (where Dean is a frequent guest and treated with more respect than he is on more right-wing outlets).

I get it. It’s difficult to get big-time Democrats to come to Utah. When they do make their way to the Beehive State, it’s usually for private fundraisers in Park City or at the Alta Club.

It doesn’t hurt that Dean and former Salt Lake County Peter Corroon are cousins – making Dean an “easy get” for the party.

But, putting forward an unabashed progressive as the face of your 2014 voter registration drive really isn’t gonna win you many converts in Utah.


  • Jesse Harris

    Utah’s Democrats seem to prefer to double down on the base than go for the big tent. It plays right into their victim mentality.

  • Donald Lewin Nelson

    If anyone would have asked me, I would have suggested Democratic Congressman and House Whip Steny Hoyer. Hoyer understands the importance of building an active Democratic Party in all of the fifty states. He represents the more conservative wing of the Democratic Party which has shown a willingness to work together.

    In addition, I would have recommended that the Democratic Party bring Linda and Loretta Sanchez to encourage Hispanics to promote voter registration and political participation. The growth of the Democraic Party in Utah is entwined with the growth of the Hispanic population.

  • Ryan Darby

    But Howard Dean is also the guy who helped the Democrats gain the House of Representatives during his DNC chairmanship, and he’s had a very energetic national organization with Democracy For America. I don’t think anybody will care about the optics of him coming to Utah. Plus, if he can get the 40,000 new voters he’s promising, I don’t think anyone will mind that he’s a east-coast progressive.