Representative Mia Love of Utah’s fourth district has a hometown problem and is running out of time to turn it around.
Love ran on bringing positive change to DC but as with so many before her she has become part of the problem. Her campaign funding e-mails have been viciously derogatory of the Democratic Party which makes it look like she has been co-opted into the hyper partisanship led by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and that sits very uncomfortably with Utahns. Love has talked about being bipartisan but actions speak louder than her empty words, her fundraising still seeks to enforce and exploit divisions within our communities to raise money.
More in Utah voted against President Trump than for him but Love continues to support his agenda and curry personal favor with him, her one notable departure was when he attacked Haitians.
For three out of her four years as my representative she has not held an in person town hall for her constituents –instead substituting with, “Tele-Town halls”, where screened callers are un-muted to ask approved questions before being silenced to allow Love an uncontested at length response that’s more often a stream of party talking points –it’s essentially a useless podcast.
Her recent office hours have left constituents waiting hours for a short time slot to speak with her and have sometimes been cancelled at the last minute. This has left her constituents frustrated and with limited ways of interacting with her –leaving them with social media as their only outlet.
And this leaves constituents with Love’s experience part of Rep Loves out of state problem.
Facebook allows users to have a constituent badge to show they’re in her district.
I looked into Love’s social media posts, here’s what I found:
- 66% of commenters’ had constituent badges or were located in Utah
- 14% of commenters’ profiles showed from out of state
- 20% of commenters’ profiles didn’t give a clear location
What I found shocking but not surprising was the split in tone between in and out of state comments.
Despite being 66% of the commenters, in state people made up only 33% of positive comments and a whopping 80% of the negative comments.
Meanwhile 14% of the people -all from out of state- made up 30% of the positive comments.
To add to the problem, constituents who’ve disagreed with Love are being blocked from her campaign Facebook page –myself included.
This leaves Love in an awkward position where she avoids interaction with her own constituents in person and relies heavily on out of state support for cyber interaction. This is the online equivalent of busing in out of state attendees for a town hall –a, “rent a mob” if you will.
In this increasingly important online political environment it’s clear that Love does not have the support of Utahns and relies heavily on support from fans in other states. It extends beyond optics and seeps itself into the money she’s raised for this race.
Here are the numbers:
- >97% of campaign funds come from outside her district
- 83% from outside Utah
- 60% come from PACs, corporations or wealthy individuals
That’s right…. only about 2% of Rep Loves campaign finances come from her district.
Constituents justly ask if she works to represent them in DC or if she is representing DC, her President and corporate interests.
She has a few weeks to turn around the well-earned image of a hyper partisan DC insider putting party ahead of district and country, from one of a disconnected DC elite, and of an unrepresentative public official who avoids her actual constituents in favor of party insiders and out of state money.
Hopefully now that campaign season is in full swing she will have spent enough time in Utah to remember we are different and deserve to be represented as we are -moderate and bipartisan-, who put country and character ahead of party.
However the flurry of attack ads indicates otherwise and I doubt much will change.
In-State vs. Out-of-State and In-district vs. Out-of-District
Breakdown of social media commentators:
Study done by myself
Number of Facebook posts checked – 21
Total number of comments analyzed – 374
Time span of posts – First 6 months of 2018
Tony Benn is an obvious pseudonym. I’m an active LDS constituent of CD4 in real life who wishes to remain anonymous due to employment sensitivity.