Utah's incumbent Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, a Republican, and his gubernatorial opponent, Democrat Chris Peterson, just released a new joint campaign ad, where they both commit to civility and a peaceful transition of power, despite their political differences — all while standing six feet apart from each other.
Watching this the first time through, I was admittedly torn. The cynic in me knows that it is absolutely, frustratingly easy for two straight white men — both Mormons, no less! — to virtue-signal towards the vague platitudes of political civility, when they're not constantly under systemic siege by virtue of some immutable characteristic.
At the same time: it is quite a refreshing sight to see. Negative attack ads are so common in US politics, largely because of their effectiveness — not in changing minds, but in disillusioning people from the entire system, which ultimately discourages them from voting, and makes it easy for the parties in power to stay in power. Negative/attack campaign ads are one of the cleaner methods of voter suppression, and unfortunately, they work quite well.
In that context, this sort of ad is particularly inspiring. It might actually have the impact of making people excited about politics, because it makes them feel and think that their vote will actually contribute to a productive conversation between well-intentioned politicians.
Again, the cynic in me recognizes how horribly naive that sounds. But it certainly isn't worse than the alternative we've been living with.
Spencer Cox, Chris Peterson unite to plead for civility, a peaceful transition of power [Fox 13 News Salt Lake City]