Most people who visit Saint George wonder if Saint George is Liberal or Conservative. With prominent mixtures of modern and historic buildings and art features, it can be hard for someone to figure out just by looking.
Saint George is not Liberal, the city is staunchly conservative. This is due to the population being predominantly Mormon (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or LDS), and boasting a proud historic tie to the founding of Utah and the days of westward pioneer expansion.
And yet, as the younger generation grows, so does the minority of Democratic Liberals. Read on to hear about the political makeup of America’s fastest-growing metropolitan area.
A City With History
One of my fondest memories is visiting my late grandmother every Christmas, the desert nature of Saint George making it a respite from the snowy grip of my old childhood home in the Wasatch County further upstate. My grandmother took me to a park, and a grand clock tower with stained glass depicting the LDS temple and the red rocks that our city is known for loomed over us. It was only when I was older and living in Saint George myself that I took the time to appreciate the park for what it was, a monument to the history of this old city – when I was five, I was too excited about the carousel on the other end of the park.
This clocktower, located in Town Square Park, is right next to the historic tabernacle and was lovingly restored when I moved to Saint George as a young nineteen-year-old. I still remember the excitement I felt, hearing that the tabernacle would soon be open again and remembering my grandmother’s stories about the history of Saint George. Nestled on the other side of Town Square Park, are the library and the Children’s Museum.
The culture of loving and honoring the past is clearly shown most around Town Square. Amidst the shops and the parks and museum are art pieces depicting historic moments in Saint George’s history and the history the city shares with the LDS church, alongside more modern and abstract pieces with religion and life being a constant theme throughout all the art displayed. From fathers playing with their children to children dancing, to an angel praying, to the brothers Hyrum and Joseph Smith in front of the Saint George town hall, to the giant statue of a guitar in appreciation of music, there is an undercurrent of love and appreciation for the Mormon way of life.
A Growing Modern City
Saint George is located in one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. and many locals – including my own mother – attribute it to the family values the community upholds. Why else would people face the high prices of local real estate and cost of living when the most common jobs are service and hospitality? Being conservative is not a terrible thing for those who want a good system of family values to teach their children.
Warm weather is also another boon when one considers the high growth. The states with the biggest growth rates were Utah, Arizona, California, Texas, and Florida. And what do all five of these states hold in common? Warm temperatures and scenic views and local attractions, of which, Utah boasts many.
Two national parks, Zions and Arches, the grand red rocks with the wide range of geological wonders that made my Geology professor rant and rave excitedly while on a school-run tour, and many trails to hike and explore, Saint George offers much to those who love the outdoors.
And with the historic landmarks and historic houses? Many can learn about what Saint George treasures greatly – our history.
Despite the overwhelming presence of Republican conservatives, there is a growing minority of Liberals, the pool growing from a small trickle of a stream to a small river as people move into the area from more Liberal areas of the country and younger people come of age to vote.
The Political Scene
When my family moved to Saint George to help take care of my ailing grandmother, my father had no idea that he would be one of the locally elected delegates for the local Republican party. Able to work from home even before the pandemic, my father was passionate about the local level of our politics, attending caucus after caucus and sitting in on Republican meeting after meeting. But not everyone was so passionate about what politics were occurring on a local level. For a long time, a mere ten people showed up during caucus meetings. And thus, my dad was elected representative and he went to the Republican conventions to advocate for our local city affairs.
It was surprising when my dad relayed the news to us over the dinner table as sometimes the conversation sways its way to politics over mashed potatoes and gravy. He expressed a quiet frustration that despite having many people registered as Republicans, fewer and fewer people were interested in actively participating in politics, especially on the local level.
When Trump was elected in 2016, the Republican party became divided. Some wished to keep to the Conservative Republican values and viewed Trump’s methods as a bit crass but were potentially willing to support Trump if the man was just able to calm down and act with more restraint. Some supported Trump so wholeheartedly that anyone daring to oppose Trump was labeled the enemy and to be viewed with antagonism, even if they supported the same values and were on the same side.
This split in the party has led to the strong growth of the Libertarian party’s presence, as many former Republicans became dissatisfied with the internal conflict rolling through the Republican party, even after Biden’s election. This side of the political sphere strongly values strong constitutional values and limited government. According to my mother, who is less politically active than my father, she has seen several Libertarian-aligned citizens still register as Republicans as they may be able to achieve their party’s goals by gaining people who value the constitution in the Republican party.
But despite the conflicts, or perhaps because of the conflict, my father has noticed an increased desire to interact with the politics at a local level, the most recent caucus he attended ended up having around 30 people in attendance.
Saint George has a large amount of Trump supporters, and according to my father, these members of the Republican party are incredibly antagonistic towards their own party members, which concerns him. He mused to me on the phone that people aren’t willing to hear one another talk, to have a debate that is considerate of everyone’s views. Instead, both sides feel like any opposition at all is an attack.
It worries my father, who is a man of few words and more actions. And for him to admit the concern raises alarm in me. These very loud and vocal supporters are very willing to keep ‘fighting the good fight’ when many of their party would wish to move onward with newer legislation in the face of Biden’s win for the Democratic party. If any portion of the party is quite capable of holding grudges, it’s this section of the party.
This division and strife make it hard for others to complete their goals, as a party divided cannot truly stand against their opposition. Fighting within is hardly productive and it frustrates my father that this antagonism continues, even two years after the election had passed.
Is Saint George Conservative?
Is Saint George conservative? Yes, and proudly so. Even with the political strife that current events give us, Saint George proudly boasts a culture of history and family, determined in protecting the family values the state of Utah was founded on.
Whether that’s to “Make America Great Again” or to simply uphold the Republican values that many appreciate, Saint George is proud to be considered Moderately Conservative, seeing it as a duty and honor to respect the past values of home, and family life, and tradition.
It’s evident in the historical artifacts Saint George proudly protects, evident in the art pieces honoring historical figures and events, and evident in the way those locals live their lives, encouraging growth in the area as those who appreciate family life and similar family values move into the area and find their own place in the community.
Like my family, who moved into Saint George to help my aging grandmother, and then haven’t left in the years since. We moved to aid family, and we stayed because we love the family values and culture around us. There is such a sense of community and desire to serve those around us when we are in need. A desire to connect and aid others.
Saint George is conservative and proud because it means we put family and community up as one of the most important things in our lives.