The Media Expects Candidates to Know EVERYTHING

March 31, 2016

Dear Mr. Trump,

I’m sick of the nauseating attacks against you by people who think they are prophets and know the future—Mitt Romney being the worst. I’m a Mormon and am embarrassed by his awful behavior. It is not at all justified by our religion, teachings or scriptures.

When asked an unexpected question, or a new question that you haven’t thought much about, it is perfectly okay to say, “That’s a good question. I’d like to think more about that and get back to you with my answer.” Or, “That’s a good question. I’d like to give it the attention it deserves and formulate a worthy response. May I get back to you?”

Best Regards,

Robert John Stevens

Why Utah Citizen Political Participation Rates are Among the Lowest in the USA

by Robert John Stevens, March 14, 2016

“We are concerned that citizen participation rates in Utah are among the lowest in the nation, and we urge greater involvement by members of the church in the 2016 election cycle,” the LDS First Presidency wrote in a letter dated February 17, 2016 and re-read in Sacrament Meetings on March 13, 2016

Reasons for low citizen participation rates differ for each person. Polling and further study is required to statistically weigh each reason. Once known and ranked each could be addressed in descending order of importance.

Here is a list of feedback and observations I made when running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Utah’s 3rd District against Jason Chaffetz:

  1. Americans are distracted by social media, sports, TV, news, internet, phones and texting, games and pornography. In many households both parents work. Utah Mormons also have larger families and church callings. Little time remains for personal involvement in politics.
  2. Utah repeatedly re-elects the same people politicians. In 2007 Orin Hatch became the longest-serving Senator in Utah history. Chaffetz has served since 2006. Even George Washington resigned after eight years of service. Are Utah politicians really greater than George Washington?
  3. Very few delegates attend local caucus meetings, especially to hear candidates speak more than once. Once I travelled hours to hold a meeting in a rural town and just three delegates attended for an entire county.
  4. Local media doesn’t give proper attention to new candidates. I wasn’t aware of any articles or news stories discussing my platform.
  5. Most Americans know their government does not represent them; therefore, they feel voting is a waste of their time.
  6. Attending caucus meetings takes time and is uninteresting or stressful for most.
  7. Discussing politics is a known no-no among most friends, family and coworkers. Attempts to discuss politics bring out strong emotions, irrational behavior, incivility, disagreement and bad feelings.
  8. Churches refuse to allow discussion or talks regarding the political foundational principles upon which they are based, nor will they offer classes to teach these principles, especially on church-owned properties.
  9. Most people believe their vote does not count, especially at the federal level where the electoral college decides the presidency and history records they do not always represent the popular vote.
  10. Most know electronic votes can be manipulated and are being manipulated.
  11. Utah has long established a top-down, authoritative culture. The very nature of having a Mormon prophet, twelve apostles and general authorities, stake presidents and bishops, career church employment without term limits, and pre-determined lesson plans directly or indirectly disempowers the average church member. You can hear this in most sacrament talks. This extends to politics.

Additional Thoughts and Observations

  • According to my email analytics, when I ran for Congress as a new candidate, only 50% of state delegates opened my emails.
  • When citizens discuss politics, it is rather easy to guess what media network and news anchors they follow.
  • Deep thinking and study are replaced by falsehoods disseminated from propaganda news.
  • Truth versus error is no longer taught at school or church. When I served as a missionary for the LDS Church, the truth versus error discussion was one of my favorite lessons.
  • Because LDS prophets and apostles serve for life without term limits, most Utah citizens do not feel it wrong if their federal elected officials also serve for life, although they are very willing to throw out all congressmen from every other state.
  • Americans know their politicians and government lie, break the law and are immune from prosecution. They are sick of it but see nothing they can do to stop it; hence, the huge and growing interest in Donald Trump who also hates the establishment.
  • Without a solid understanding of correct foundational principles, politics has no basis to measure against.
  • Although LDS President Howard W. Hunter taught, “within God’s hands and under the direction of the Savior of the world, weak and simple things should come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones,” many if not most delegates feel it is their duty to re-elect incumbents (politicians currently holding office). A predetermination to re-elect requires little or no prayer or study.
  • Only a minority of delegates understand the proper role of government. To do so requires deep digging, reading correct materials and the ability to discern truth versus error. I was very impressed though with the students of history I met—they were actively searching for underdogs to dismantle the criminal political establishment.
  • Among those who consider voting for an underdog, some feel the candidate cannot win so they shouldn’t throw away their vote.
  • Incumbents are under no obligation to debate. Jason Chaffetz never debated me or the other candidate and refused invitations by the other candidate.
  • Incumbents use their paid office staff to campaign for them.
  • Religion teaches us to love our neighbor; therefore, it is difficult to openly express fault with a political incumbent. Without finding fault though, it is difficult to establish enough need to convince people to not re-elect incumbents.
  • Many people mistakingly believe that if the media does not attack a politician then that politician must be doing right and should be re-elected. Suppose though the politician is complicit in criminal activity, was threatened and represents special interests—if the media acts as the government’s propaganda arm, shouldn’t personal attacks indicate that he or she may be doing something right?
  • Many delegate hadn’t visited my website, ready my emails or attended any meetings and heard me speak for the first time at the Republican convention where they casts their votes.
  • Study has shown large convention booths and numerous professional signs work. Newcomers, especially those funding their own campaigns, have little time or money to compete.
  • Special interests give incumbents large sums of money to get re-elected. This is difficult to compete against when funding one’s own campaign.
  • The Utah Republican party now requires a candidate to get thousands of signatures to qualify. This makes it difficult for newcomers to run for office. One GOP candidate recently paid $8k for 2000 signatures.
  • The vocabulary in founding documents such as the Federal Papers is beyond that of the average American. It may be simply due to changes in our language, deliberate by the progressives or the result of public education.
  • For our district, evidence suggests voting may have been manipulated: Each district vote was timely announced except ours which was delayed. When the results were finally announced, the other candidate and I were given an equal fractional percentage. What are the odds of that?

Solutions to Increase Political Activity in Utah

If anyone is interested in solutions, I’ll propose some in a subsequent post.

See “Utah Mormons urged by LDS leaders to participate in caucus meetings.