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Robert Gehrke looked at Utah’s future for 2022, here’s what he saw

From redistribution to Mitt Romney and the Real Housewives, Robert Gehrke offers his annual forecast for 2022.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Robert Gehrke.

Like every year around this time, I spent the last weekend lighting incense and sage, reading tea leaves, consulting maps, and shaking a magic eight ball.

I even killed a chicken to try to guess what to expect in Utah in 2022.

OKAY. It was a chicken sandwich, and I ate it. The point is, I am committed to helping each of you prepare for what lies ahead in the coming year.

First, a recap of my predictions for 2021, in which it was predicted that former President Donald Trump would spend the year ranting, expressing grievances and generally slamming (it’s nailed down); the legislature would ignore the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission and Gerrymander Salt Lake County (of course); President Joe Biden would restore Utah’s national monuments and the state would go on (yes); and selfish vaccine deniers would prolong the pandemic (and, boy, have they ever done that!).

I also predicted that Senator Mitt Romney would be key if Congress is to do something (see also: the Infrastructure Bill); the legislature would avoid large-scale tax reform, Rep. Burgess Owens would say something bizarre and embarrassing (a giveaway, really).

There were a few hiccups. I didn’t think Democrats could win both Georgia Senate elections and hope no one wasted too much money on my prediction that the Utah Jazz would advance to the Western Conference Finals (they lost in the semi-finals).

Still, a decent record proving that I am listening more and more to the universe. So as long as the chips in my vaccines don’t cause too much interference, here’s what’s in store for 2022.

From the “Hope I’m Wrong” files, Senator Mike Lee will be re-elected.

I’ve said before that Ally Isom and former Rep. Becky Edwards are good candidates and would be a big improvement over Lee, but Lee is popular with the fundamentalist Republican wing and beating him will be very difficult, especially s ‘they split the dissenting vote. . I don’t see any challenger giving up at this point.

On paper, it’s safe to say that anti-Trump independent challenger Evan McMullin has a shot at beating Lee, but it feels a bit like hitting a hole in a blindfold. He will fight well, but despite clear differences between Lee and McMullin, he will fail to convince Democrats who see it as a trade of Lee for another Republican.

In the aftermath of the redistribution, Republicans will win the US House, but I think Democrats barely manage to keep the Senate – if you consider what they have now, it’s the Senate’s “hold”. The divided Congress means nothing will be done and Biden’s presidency will be mostly inconsequential.

Better Boundaries continue to send emails asking for money for a possible lawsuit challenging the Legislative Redistribution, but my magic ball doesn’t predict that they actually pull the trigger. The legislature will not empty the independent commission, at least not right away. They have nine years to do so and voters have short memories. The Utah Democrats will lose two House seats within the redesigned boundaries.

Right-wing activists pushing a voting initiative with a host of terrible ideas to make voting more difficult – restrict registration, end postal and early voting and revert to hand-marked paper ballots – don’t will not even come close to doing it on the ballot. The Legislative Assembly’s audit of Utah’s voting system will come back perfectly, proving that state elections are up. It won’t matter for the aforementioned crowd of tin foil hats. And, despite positive reviews from voters, ranked voting will not be extended (at Mike Lee’s request).

• Utah will experience another severe drought, which is evident since we have experienced drought for the past 25 years. Lakes and reservoirs will remain low and large fires will burn. But some initial, late action will be taken in water conservation.

• In the face of a host of lost rights for transgender Utahns, critical racial theory and anti-government bills, Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and the recently formed Silicon Slopes Political Action Committee will be pushed. to take a leading role as the voice of reason and perhaps provide a little cover for Governor Spencer Cox to push back the legislature.

• One of Salt Lake City’s real housewives will file for divorce, but she won’t be the one you expect!

• In the sports world, The University of Utah will shock Ohio State in THE Rose Bowl; this time, the Jazz will really make the final of the Western Conference; Salt Lake City will attempt to host the 2030 Olympic Winter Games; and my Detroit Lions will make the playoffs next season (no, really).

• This one’s more of a wish than a prediction, but we’ll finally put COVID-19 in our rearview mirrors (mostly) and we can stop worrying about what anti-vaxxers or anti-maskers or merchants think. conspiracy. We can return to a semblance of pre-pandemic life, filled with well-deserved peace and prosperity.

Happy 2022!


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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion