Recently I wanted to dig up all the county-level Republican and Democratic platforms here in Utah. My interest came from the pro-life plank in the surprisingly conservative Utah County Democratic platform–I wanted to see how many other county platforms in Utah said something that conflicted with the national party platforms.
I was surprised to find that hardly any county parties in Utah have platforms. In fact, county platforms don’t even exist outside the greater Wasatch Front, unless I overlooked something. Take a look at the map at right. Counties in purple (Cache, Davis, Salt Lake, and Utah) have county-level platforms for both parties. Counties in red (Box Elder) have a county Republican platform. Counties in blue (Weber, Wasatch) have a county Democratic platform.
I would guess that a big reason so many county parties lack a platform is population. Not the county’s total population, but the population of Republicans or Democrats. If you don’t have at least several hundred Democrats in a county, you probably don’t have a very deep talent pool from which to recruit an active county Democratic chair who might bother to put together a platform committee prior to the county convention.
In the table below, I have listed the 12 counties with the most Democrats (number of Dems, not percent of Dems) and also the 12 counties with the most Republicans, always in descending order.1
|Largest Democratic populations||Has Democratic platform?||Largest Republican populations||Has Republican platform?|
|1||Salt Lake||Yes||1||Salt Lake||Yes|
|17 more counties||No||17 more counties||No|
Looks like population is the main driver of platform adoption. Still, consider some weirdness:
- Why don’t we see platforms in Washington County? They’re big enough. Same with Summit Democrats and Weber Republicans.
- Why does Wasatch County have a Democratic platform? They have about 1/10 as many Democratic voters as most of the other counties with Democratic platforms.
I should mention that I searched the state and county party websites for platforms. It’s possible that some counties have a platform but don’t post it online. If you know of a platform that I missed, please send it along.