James Singer will run for the United States Senate in Utah. He’s the first Native American candidate ahead of the 2018 election.
This is Trahant Reports.
Singer has already filed his paperwork, and his official announcement will be made at the Glendale Public Library in Salt Lake City. He teaches sociology at Westminster College and Salt Lake Community College.
Singer is also the first candidate to cite Standing Rock as the answer to the question, “why run?”
He said this past year has marked an awakening for Indigenous Peoples because of the struggle at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline. In his words:
“I was moved to action as I saw my Native sisters and brothers stand against an encroachment which threatened not only their inherent sovereignty, but also their humanity. These water protectors were pummeled with rubber bullets, sprayed with powerful cannons in freezing temperatures, attacked with dogs, and shot with pepper spray, while bulldozers cleared away sacred land and burial sites so that a pipeline could be pushed through.”
Singer said he stands along not just because he would be a Native voice for Utah … but because he represents a departure from the grip of establishment politics as a Social Democrat.
This is an interesting idea and it raises questions about the next generation and the rise of a new kind of politics.
Imagine: Running for office in Utah on the issues of Standing Rock, and therefore climate change, the excesses of capitalism, gender inequality, and “a vision to live more sustainably.”
And 2018 will not be an ordinary election. Even in Utah. Sen. Orrin Hatch has already raised $1.3 million for his re-election effort but he may not even run. Hatch is 83 years old. There have been several others who are considering a Senate bid, including former presidential candidates Mitt Romney and independent Evan McMullin.
It’s way too early to say this, but what the heck, a three-way race would be the ideal outcome for Singer because it could split the conservative vote and open up a path for a different kind of politician. Remember Utah is one of the “reddest” states in the country.
But it’s also true that Utah’s demographics are changing. Recent census data show that nearly four out of every 10 new Utah residents are from a racial or ethnic group. And Salt Lake County, the base of Singer’s candidacy, is 27.4 percent minority.
Of course in order to win a Senate seat a candidate must create a broader coalition. Singer says he has lived in Utah his entire life, knows hard work and understands the values that people share in common.
I am Mark Trahant.