Utah Politics

Utah Politics with Bryan Schott

Veteran political journalist Bryan Schott brings you conversations with Utah newsmakers, national political experts and authors. He also discusses the latest Utah political news with local reporters and other political figures.
Episode 66: Drawing the line(s) with Rex FacerEpisode 65: GOP 2.0 with Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan
Given the strength of former President Donald Trump’s hold on the GOP, it’s reasonable to believe the party’s future is leaning harder into the MAGA agenda. But Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan thinks that’s the wrong path.Duncan says Trump gave his supporters and other Republicans a “short-term sugar high” with his bombastic and combative style. But, that rush also turned off a lot of voters and caused him to lose an election that should have been an easy layup.“We forgot to remind America of the policies conservatives are really good at. We need to own the economy and the best vision for people’s next job and their career advancement. We forgot to do it,” Duncan says. “We need to own the policy lanes to get back to the kitchen tables and boardrooms across America to start winning elections again.”Duncan lays out his vision for the future of the GOP in his new book “GOP 2.0. How the 2020 Election Can Lead to a Better Way Forward for America’s Conservative Party.”Duncan also talks about his experience in the aftermath of the 2020 election as Trump and his allies furiously worked to overturn his loss to Joe Biden. Duncan’s refusal to go along with Trump’s falsehoods about election fraud led to threats of violence against him and his family.“I was down in my office at the Capitol looking out my window. There were guys with AR-15s and body armor protecting me from potentially other Republicans, not terrorists,” Duncan said. “We had state troopers outside watching us while I was playing catch with my kids.”Geoff Duncan on Twitter: @GeoffDuncanGA --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/utah-politics/message
Oct 1 2021
24 mins
Episode 64: Rep. Suzanne HarrisonEpisode 63: Grant Burningham and Ben MezrichEpisode 62: Democracy dies in boredom with Tom Nichols
Author Tom Nichols says democracy across the globe is under threat, but not for the reason you may think.Nichols, who is a contributing writer for The Atlantic, argues technologically advanced societies have increased their standard of living so rapidly, citizens are becoming bored, and care less about their fellow citizens.“People just got used to the idea that if things didn’t go the way they wanted or things didn’t happen in ways they approved of, it wasn’t the fault of some government policy, it was the fault of democracy, and they wanted to overhaul the whole system and replace it with something more rigid,” Nichols said.He says in his new book Our Own Worst Enemy: The Assult from within on Modern Democracy that this is happening across the globe as once democratic nations are abandoning protections for free speech and religion and other important institutions.Nichols says nowhere is it more evident that Americans don’t care about their fellow citizens than in our elections.“Our politics has become all about hurting other people, instead of trying to create something positive. We used to go to the polls and say, here’s what I’m voting for. Now we go to the polls to vote against something and we hope it makes others really mad. The idea that we could all work together toward something has become alien to millions of people,” Nichols said.Listen to the full conversation with Nichols below.Tom Nichols on Twitter: @RadioFreeTom --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/utah-politics/message
Sep 10 2021
28 mins
Episode 61: Cathy McKitrickEpisode 60: Redistricting 101Episode 59: Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Philip Rucker
Sen. Mitt Romney was warned ahead of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that he might be the target of violence from supporters of former President Donald Trump. That warning came from fellow Sen. Angus King of Maine, who himself was alerted to possible violence by America’s top military leaders. That’s just one of the dozens of startling revelations contained in the new book “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year” by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig.Rucker says Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was alarmed by threats of violence on social media, so he gave Sen. King a heads up. “King then thought Mitt Romney is definitely a target. He’s persona non grata for Trump world and MAGA supporters. King gave Romney a call who was at home with his wife,” Rucker says.Rucker and Leonnig spoke at length with Romney for their book. Romney told the pair he informed his wife, Ann, about the threats of violence as he prepared to return to Washington to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election over Trump. Ann Romney pleaded with Mitt not to return to D.C., because it was too dangerous and his life could be at stake.“Mitt said he had to go back because it’s his job and his duty. ‘Nothing is going to keep me from going, and by the way, I’ll be safe in the U.S. Capitol. There’s nothing that’s going to happen to me there,’ he told her,” Rucker said. Rucker says Romney was warned by his staffers on January 6 he had to get to safety as rioters broke into the Capitol. That led to the dramatic video of Romney running into Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman who told him to return to the Senate chamber because the rioters were just seconds away.“It’s a chilling reminder of how close he came to real violence and potentially losing his life. He’s the first person, maybe the second person behind Mike Pence, but one of the first people those rioters would have wanted to destroy,” Rucker says. Philip Rucker on Twitter: @PhilipRucker --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/utah-politics/message
Aug 6 2021
22 mins
Episode 58: Blake Moore's stock trades
Rep. Blake Moore violated federal law by failing to report up to $1.1 million in stock trades. But, for that he was fined just $200 by the House Ethics Committee.Dave Levinthal, Deputy Washington Editor for Insider.com, who broke the Moore story, says these laws are in place for a reason.“It was put in place to defend against potential conflicts of interest or just give the public the ability to see what members of Congress are doing in terms of their personal stock trades at a time when they’re being lobbied by the very companies they themselves may invest in,” Leventhal said. “These companies many times will have tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars at stake with the decisions being made by the government, including contracts the government hands out to them. There’s a tangled web of financial interests here, and this was put in place to shine sunlight and provide transparency,” Levinthal added. He also says the small fine Moore was required to pay shows how poorly Congress does when it comes to regulating themselves. “It’s like having two football teams take the field and there’s no referee. The two teams just sort of decide how they’re going to play the game. Oftentimes you’ll have situations where the penalties are quite low because nobody really wants to put themselves into a situation that could be precarious,” Leventhal said.Dave Levinthal on Twitter: @DaveLevinthal --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/utah-politics/message
Jul 30 2021
23 mins
Episode 57: The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board talks with leaders of the American Legislative Exchange CouncilEpisode 56: Utah GOP Chairman Carson JorgensenEpisode 55: Andy Slavitt on America's bungled response to the COVID-19 pandemic
America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was driven as much by politics as it was by science as policymakers tried to balance public health with economic health. Andy Slavitt, who headed up the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the Obama administration says 15 months on, many of the choices made by our leaders don’t look so great in hindsight.“It was a huge public health challenge, and that meant tough decisions and trade-offs. But a lot of what happened came back to politics, which caused us to take a very different approach. And it was to our detriment,” Slavitt said. Slavitt is the author of the new book Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics, and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response. He’s also the host of the “In the Bubble” podcast which examines the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, Utah lawmakers passed the so-called “pandemic endgame” bill, which ended Utah’s mask mandate on April 10 of this year. They also moved to rein in the power of public health officials.Despite those maneuvers, the number of cases in Utah is rising again as the delta variant of the virus takes hold. “I wish nothing more than a virus would respond to legislation. That would be really nice. We can fool ourselves for some amount of time, but that’s not real political leadership,” Slavitt said. Slavitt also details why the Trump administration made the cynical decision to leave the response to the pandemic up to the states, and the real story behind “Operation Warp Speed.”You can listen and subscribe to the podcast for free. Leave a rating and review for the show on Apple Podcasts or Podchaser.  --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/utah-politics/message
Jul 9 2021
23 mins
Episode 54: Ben Rhodes on democracy and authortiarianism
Last year, Sen. Mike Lee caused a bit of a firestorm on social media when he published a tweetstorm attacking democracy. “Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prosperity are. We want the human condition to flourish,” Lee tweeted. Lee’s statement was surprising, but it really shouldn’t be according to Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Advisor under President Barack Obama. “There’s always been a definition of America that says anyone can be American. You can come from anywhere, look like anything, believe anything and be equally American. But for certain people, America is rooted in a very exclusive either ethnic framework or Judeo-Christian belief structure,” Rhodes said. Rhodes was a guest on the “Utah Politics” podcast this week. He says broad demographic shifts in the country are causing a debate over what it means to be American.“A democracy in a majority non-white country kind of changes our whole conception of power. We’re really debating our national identity here. And democracy means that people who look different might increasingly be in charge, and that causes some concern,” Rhodes said. Rhodes also discusses the rise of authoritarian movements across the globe, which he examines in his new book “After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made.” He also talks about the pullout of American troops from Afghanistan and how working on the 1997 re-election campaign of New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani shifted his whole worldview. Subscribe to the podcast for free here.  --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/utah-politics/message
Jul 2 2021
25 mins
Episode 53: Drew Armstrong, co-founder of "Dragon Dads"Episode 52:  What Rep. Blake Moore told the Tribune Editorial BoardEpisode 52: Chris Matthews
The sight of Sen. Mitt Romney, who was the GOP nominee for president just nine years ago, getting booed by Utah Republicans was “just terrible,” says longtime political pundit Chris Matthews.“I don’t understand it. He didn’t do anything wrong,” Matthews told the Tribune on this week’s Utah Politics podcast. “He’s been a Republican all his life. He’s tough on taxes. He’s tough on big government. He’s the classic conservative.”Romney was showered with catcalls by Republican delegates at the state convention last month after he voted twice to remove former President Donald Trump from office in a pair of Senate impeachment trials.Matthews, the former host of Hardball on MSNBC and author of the new book This Country: My Life in Politics and History, says the GOP has changed so drastically since Romney lost the 2012 election that they’ve come unmoored from what they used to stand for.“What do they (Republicans) believe in as policy? Are they a party of free trade? No more. Are they a party of fiscal responsibility? No more,” he said.Mathews blames Trump for leading the GOP astray.“Trump says those aren’t his concerns. Sometimes I wonder what Trump really cares about. I don’t know what Trump really thinks about anything,” Matthews said.He began his career in Washington working for the Capitol Police, which gives him a unique perspective on the attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters in January.“Trump refused to say he lost. That’s the chivalrous, patriotic thing to do, and Trump refused to do it,” Matthews said. “In politics, if you lose, you admit it. It’s a hard night, and you have to do it. That’s a big part of American politics. It’s not in the Constitution, but it’s what you do,” he says.Matthews also discusses his time working for Utah Sen. Frank Moss, the last Democrat in the U.S. Senate from the Beehive State and his departure from his television show. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/utah-politics/message
Jun 11 2021
25 mins
Episode 51: How critical race theory is unfolding beyond UtahEpisode 50: Darlene McDonald on why teaching critical race theory in schools makes people uncomfortableEpisode 49: What you need to know about redistrictingEpisode 48: Does the GOP need to break up with Donald Trump?