The candidates for Utah governor, Spencer Cox, a Republican, and Chris Peterson, a Democrat, made a highly unusual 30-second video ad in which they appear -- together -- arguing for civility, mutual respect, and a willingness to work together in our divided nation.
We've all seen lots of political ads over the past few months, but we've never seen anything like this: both major party candidates for governor of their state appearing together in a 30-second video, trading lines back and forth and asking viewers for a different approach to managing our political differences than we've seen in recent years.
Here's some of how it goes:
Peterson: "We can debate issues without degrading each other's character."
Cox: "We can disagree without hating each other."
Peterson: "And win or lose, in Utah we work together."
Cox: "So let's show the country that there's a better way."
The ad ends with each saying his name, and then, in unison: "We approve this message!"
In a second ad, again speaking in turn, they talk about their mutual commitment to democracy and pledge to support the results of the election and the peaceful transfer of power, something President Donald Trump has thus far declined to do.
As several political observers have noted, this kind of unity is easier to achieve in a race that's not at all in question. Utah is a very red state, and Cox won easily, as polling predicted he would. Would we have seen this kind of cooperation in a closely contested fight? Probably not.
And yet, to the millions of people (including me) who are weary of the bitter, scorched-earth disputes between opposing political groups both in the U.S. and elsewhere, the videos are as refreshing as they are unexpected. Shark Tank Shark Barbara Corcoran made a similar plea on Sunday, after a Corcoran Group broker was caught on video destroying Biden signs and yelling obscenities at the woman who'd placed them. Corcoran tweeted this in response: "Hate and divisiveness must be stopped if this country is to move forward again as a united family." It seems Utah's next governor agrees with her.
Here's Cox and Peterson's ad: