Spencer Cox, Chris Peterson say their call for civility is targeted at people who have turned politics into a religion

Screencap via Grabien

The contest between Republican Spencer Cox and Democrat Chris Peterson is being hailed as one of the nicest campaigns ever after the two men released a series of joint ads calling for a return to a more civil tone in our politics.

The ads have gone viral, with one racking up more than 2.5 million views in less than 24 hours. The message many have latched onto is the two men agreeing to honor the results of the presidential election, no matter who wins or how controversial the outcome may be.

Cox says that message is targeted directly at President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly refused to say he would abide by the results of the election, but also at others who have stoked partisanship and tribalism.

“We know our country is on the brink. If we expect politicians in Washington, D.C. to set the example for the rest of the country, it’s never going to happen. We need to remember we’re Americans first and Republicans and Democrats second or fiftieth,” Cox said.

“Politics have become a religion to people. We have to tear other people down. We believe Utah can show the nation a better way, and we hope people in Washington, D.C. are paying attention,” he added.

It’s curious that Cox, who leads Peterson by at least 20 points, would agree to do such ads because they elevate his opponent in a race he’s almost sure to win. Why give a rival campaign any oxygen? Cox said he realizes it’s something the “political intelligentsia” would frown upon, but he believes the moment transcends partisan differences.

“We disagree on lots of things, but the one thing we both agree on is the political atmosphere has gotten too toxic in our nation. We have to do better,” said Cox during a joint appearance with Peterson on MSNBC Wednesday.

“We have policy agreements, but we came together because we recognize there are some real challenges our country is facing,” added Peterson. “People are craving some kindness and decency back in their politics.”