The governor's race is on the ballot in Utah this year. Despite the vitriol commonly seen spewing between candidates in races across the country, the two major-party candidates here, Republican Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox and Democratic challenger Chris Peterson have linked arms for an unconventional campaign ad, displaying a united front.
The promotion provides a look at civil discourse between two opposing candidates and the ideas they share on how to move the state forward. The candidates both agree that, through the commercial, Americans can see that those with opposing views can still tackle the toughest problems without being disrespectful toward one another.
“It really is the foundation of our country and these democratic principles that we hold so dear," Cox told Cheddar. "For 240 years we’ve been figuring out ways to get along, even when we disagree; and it just feels, in the current climate, like it’s more important than ever that we remind people that we are Americans first.”
While civility between politicians is not at the level it had been in some previous years, these candidates hope to inspire other lawmakers nationwide to take a more active approach to restore it in politics.
For Peterson, the divisive path America has traveled down is a threat to democracy.
“I worry that we're losing sight of the fact that we’re all one nation and not separate political tribes,” he said.
Spencer is calling on Americans to practice the same civility they expect from elected officials.
“That means being more civil on Facebook, on Twitter. Not surrounding ourselves with voices like ours. Not degrading and demeaning the other side but really trying to listen to learn and listen to understand,” Cox said.
The pair’s unconventional method of reaching the voters in Utah has even opened up the possibility of the two working together once a winner is declared — the results both have agreed to accept once announced.