This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Recently Paul Mero, the Sutherland Institute's former director, joined former state Rep. Holly Richardson in submitting op-ed pieces expressing emotionally charged arguments against former Utah state Rep. Chris Herrod.
They appear to be motivated more by political sour grapes than using the best arguments to make their case.
In 2011, the Sutherland Institute sponsored a debate on immigration. Mero was on the panel supporting amnesty, surrounded by Democrats. Chris Herrod represented the position of the "forgotten immigrant" harmed by those who enter illegally. He was flanked by Republican panelists.
During that debate, Sutherland's invited audience booed Mero when he called anyone who opposed amnesty a "nativist" and "racist."
Holly Richardson was similarly booed when she faced off with Herrod at a Utah county convention. The crowd found Herrod and his charming Ukrainian immigrant wife Alia wildly popular. During these immigration debates, Mero and Richardson lost credibility, and Herrod won respect.
Next Mero took his unpopular "Utah Compact" amnesty proposal to Washington, D.C. It was not received favorably in Republican circles. However, the Obama administration opened the door to him and adopted elements of that document in the infamous executive order that President Trump is now furiously working to unravel.
It's hardly extremism to bring sanity back to a national policy that has contributed to enormous national debt and harmed American workers for decades with imbalanced and unfair international trade and immigration policies. Thankfully, Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are united in curtailing sanctuary cities, counties and states.
Conversely, Richardson and Mero both joined the more extreme "Never Trump" movement. Richardson voted for Evan McMullin and is rallying the more moderate and independent voters who support a go-along style that maintains the status quo of unelected bureaucrats and lobbyists running the show.
They appear to be attempting to tie Herrod to what they call a "far-right" take over, wrongly blaming the system for producing more extreme candidates. In fact, that system has given Utah some moderate Republican legislators who vote with Democrats 90 percent of the time.
In the 2016 presidential election, Utah's voters embraced Donald Trump's Monroe Doctrine-America First message, anchored on building a wall and bringing back U.S. jobs, which Chris Herrod continues to support.
Richardson voted for Ted Cruz in the primary. It's ironic that Chris Herrod, the very candidate she seeks to redefine as the "extremist" in this race, is also the very candidate that Richardson's and Utah's favorite primary candidate Cruz chose as his Utah state director. Cruz even took time to come to Utah to endorse Herrod.
Herrod fought the good fight for Cruz and then, along with most Utah voters, showed his practical good sense when Trump emerged as the nominee. Unlike the real extremists who refused to vote for Trump, and in some cases would rather have seen Hillary Clinton elected, Herrod graciously devoted his time and energy to help Trump get elected, notwithstanding his rough edges.
Practically speaking, Herrod wisely understood the race was between Trump and Clinton. He traveled around speaking for Trump while Richardson cast her lot with a spoiler who admitted he had no chance to win.
While Mero calls for "civility," he uses pejoratives such as "rubes" (e.g. unsophisticated and naive), "radicals," "crazies" and "extremists," to arrogantly insult every Utah voter who supported the presidential candidate who actually won in Utah. He then attempts to besmirch Herrod's good name and 80 percent conservative voting record with these fake brands.
Who are the real radicals here? Surely not Chris Herrod. Being trustworthy, passionate and principled is not extremism. He has earned – and he deserves – our vote on August 15.
Cherilyn Bacon Eagar is serving her third term on the Utah Republican Party State Central Committee and was elected a 2016 Utah Republican Presidential Elector.