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George Pyle: If Joe Biden’s election is fishy, so is Chris Stewart’s.

If voting were fair in Utah, the state would send one Democrat to Congress every election.

(Susan Walsh | AP photo) Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, holds up the transcript summary of the call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as he questions top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, and career Foreign Service officer George Kent, at the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019.

After serious thought and consideration, I will not recognize Chris Stewart as my representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. I believe there are critical matters of deliberate gerrymandering that need to be answered concerning our Utah elections.

Hey. If Stewart can keep a straight tweet while announcing that he will not vote to accept the results of the Electoral College vote Wednesday because of doubts about the fairness of the presidential election, then I can decide, through logic that’s less twisted than Stewart’s, that his claim to speak for me in the U.S. Capitol is wholly illegitimate.

As I have pointed out before, that Stewart continues to represent Utah’s 2nd District in Congress, as well as the fact that Ben McAdams no longer represents Utah’s 4th, is a result of overt and obvious efforts by Stewart’s fellow Republicans in the Utah Legislature to draw me and all the other University/Avenues/Harvard-Yale/Liberty Park/Rose Park liberals out of power.

Only the fact that Salt Lake County has been carved up into three different congressional districts — with each of those slices slathered in a sauce of much more conservative suburbs and rural areas that stretch all the way to the Colorado and Arizona borders — leaves our neighborhoods so poorly represented.

In the part of the 2nd District that lies in Salt Lake County, political novice Kael Weston more than doubled the ballots won by the better-known and much-better-funded Stewart, 76,254 votes to 36,003 votes.

Add up the Salt Lake County votes in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th districts, and Democrats beat the Republicans, 53% to 43%, with the rest going to Libertarian and United Utah candidates. Altogether, that’s 278,572 Democratic votes in Salt Lake County that, in effect, lost to 223,982 Republican votes.

The total of Democratic votes in Salt Lake County alone is more than the number of votes — in some cases, significantly more — than the winning candidate in any of the state’s four congressional districts. Enough that, if voting were fair in Utah, the state would almost certainly send one Democrat to Congress every election.

And, given the nature of the electorate in the state’s most populous county, it would not be a sort-of Democrat like McAdams or the last Democrat from Utah, Jim Matheson. It would be a real Democrat, like Luz Escamilla, Erin Mendenhall or Derek Kitchen.

Stewart and Rep. Burgess Owens and too many other Republican member of Congress claim to be worried about the 74 million people who voted for the current chief executive. They’re worried these voters were ignored just because there were fewer of them than the 81 million people who voted for Joe Biden. So why aren’t they just as concerned about the Salt Lake County voters who outvoted the Republicans and still were left with nothing?

A rhetorical question.

Stewart couches his political cowardice in the language of fairness, expressing concern for “the sanctity of every vote” and including some garbage about Biden being able to begin his administration without a cloud hanging over it.

But the only clouds hanging over Biden’s election and his legitimacy as president were hung there by the outgoing administration, its bald-faced lies and the support it has won from the Jar Jar Binks Caucus in Congress. (Named after the Star Wars character who went from merely annoying in Episode I to a tool of the evil emperor in Episode II.)

What makes Stewart’s capitulation to this coup attempt extra galling is that it was announced after that recording of the president trying to shake down — Tony Soprano style — the secretary of state of Georgia for a phony recount became common knowledge. An act that is very likely a violation of election tampering laws on the books of both the United States and the state of Georgia.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney stands with the Constitution and the rule of law, calling out the other members of Congress who are willing to give even a moment’s life to this attempt to bring down democracy in favor of a fascist uprising. He was joined Monday, in slightly softer terms, by Rep. John Curtis.

If Congress was controlled by people who really believed in the Constitution and the rule of law, two of Utah’s four congressional districts might be without any representation at all, at least for a time, after all the members who took part in this attempted overthrow of the United States government were expelled from office.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) George Pyle.

George Pyle, editorial page editor of The Salt Lake Tribune, prefers the theory that Jar Jar Binks was really evil rather than foolish. It makes him much more interesting.

gpyle@sltrib.com

Twitter, @debatestate


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