Is Springville, Utah a Liberal City?

View of snowy mountains in the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains, from Guardman’s Pass, near Park City, Utah

It can be difficult to find a place where you fit in. There are many potential concerns you may encounter while moving; will you find a nice home, is your new neighborhood safe, and do your neighbors agree with you politicly? All of these are legitimate questions and can cause worry, and in the case of Springville you may wonder, is it a Liberal City?

Springville, Utah is not a liberal city. About two-thirds of the city identifies as a member of the Republican Party and the city has voted for a Republican president for the last 20 years. Only about 26 percent of the city voted Democrat in the 2020 Presidential Election.

Now, this information may not reveal everything about Springville. There is more to being a liberal than a political party and you may find as you continue to read that Springville is the correct place for you to move.

What is a liberal city?

You might have heard the word liberal used to like, “they’re a liberal” or, “that’s a liberal idea”, but aren’t quite sure what it means. Understanding this word is the first step in understanding what a liberal city is. A common association that people make is that a liberal is someone that is part of the Democratic Party. While this is an easy assumption to make, it isn’t completely accurate. In a study done by the Pew Research Center, we can see that there more groups within the Democratic Party than just liberals.

About half of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters (47%) describe their own political views as liberal, including 15% who describe their views as very liberal.

Pew Research Center

Looking at this information we see that political affiliation is not an end-all-be-all. While there were liberals who were members of the Democratic Party, over half of the democrats surveyed did not consider themselves to be a liberal. While looking at a political party could be a good start we need to look at other factors to determine what a liberal city would look like.

In another survey Pew explored the idea that those who hold the strongest views of a political ideology are the most active in expressing that view. Based on this idea we can gain additional insight into what a liberal city is. Some of the most common liberal ideas are that the government should play a bigger role in society. Whether this is through the creation of laws or regulations, the expansion of government programs, or an increase in taxes (increasing the amount of money the government has access to help citizens with), liberals generally agree that the government should do more. We can look at how the city has voted on these issues to explore why Springville is not a liberal city.

What type of city is Springville

Springville is a town in central Utah. It is on the outskirts of two large college towns Provo and Orem. Having been born in Springville and growing up there I am familiar with many different aspects of the city. I still live close to Springville and have watched it continue to grow over the years. Springville has 35,000 people making it a mid-sized city in Utah. According to the US census, around 80 percent of the city identifies as White with the second largest group being Hispanic at 15 percent. There is not a ton of diversity of people in Springville which is typically a mark of a liberal city.

There continue to be stark divisions in partisan leaning by race and ethnicity: Fully 64% of blacks identify as Democrats, compared with 25% of whites. Whites are far more likely than blacks to describe themselves as independents (40% vs. 26%) or Republicans (30% vs. 5%) …More than twice as many Hispanics either affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic than identify as Republicans or lean toward the GOP (56% vs. 26%)

Pew Research Center

In this research by the Pew Research Center from 2015, we can begin to make assumptions about a city based on the makeup of the population. Based on this information from Pew it would seem these numbers align with the numbers of registered voters. Out of all the voters in Springville, two-thirds of them identify as members of the Republican Party. In the data above around 70% percent of Whites in the United States either describe themselves as Republican or lean Republican.

Springville has a similar makeup to the neighboring cities of Provo and Orem with 76 and 75 percent identifying as White respectively. While this is a complete look at the city by any means, it helps us begin to frame a picture of Springville and the citizen’s potential political affiliations.

Who is a politician from Springville

Another thing we can look at is what political talking points or policies are being developed in Springville. To do this we can look at Representative John Curtis. Representative Curtis is one of the congressmen from Utah. While this could be difficult to use a member of Congress to represent a city, I believe that he displays many of the opinions found in Springville.

He served as a mayor of Provo, having lived in both Provo and Springville, the cities are quite similar politically. That isn’t his only connection to Springville. Before he served as Mayor he started a small business in Springville. In his current position as a congressman, he represents the city of Springville as well as the surrounding cities. In his first year as a member of Congress, he held over 100 town hall meetings with the people that he represents, gathering their opinions. By looking at his priorities I believe we can reveal the political makeup of Springville.

Second Amendment

While looking at his website one of the first things you see is Curtis’s stance on the Second Amendment. He says that he is a, “I am a strong supporter and protector … [of] the Second Amendment.” Before serving as a politician he started and ran a business, a gun firing range. While he appears to be a proponent of gun rights, a strong conservative position, he has also made steps to limit citizens’ access to firearms. In legislation he proposed with other congressional members, seizing firearms from dangerous or violent induvial would be easier, an increase in a government role, a liberal position.

Small Business

As a former small business owner himself, it would make sense that Curtis would be interested in this topic. A large portion of Springville is made up of small businesses. Many local people choose to live and work in Springville because they want to support these businesses. Curtis’s work in Congress reflects this belief as well. On his website, he talks about being a part of the recent large tax cuts directed mostly at business owners. Many of his legislative proposals are directed at cutting government regulations on business and opposition to large infrastructure spending by the Federal Government, both conservative positions.

Defense and National Security

Curtis places a large focus on the military and America’s role on the international stage. In my experience, Curtis’s opinions about these topics are shared by the majority of people in Springville. He supports increasing funding for the military, actively using the military to combat terrorism, both at home and abroad, and a strong foreign policy. Some specific policies he has introduced are not recognizing governments made up of terrorist organizations and increasing funding to efforts to prevent cyber attacks on the US.

Public Land and Energy

While serving in Congress, Curtis has had a particularly strong focus on these two issues. Both of these issues could not be considered part of a liberal approach to politics. Public lands refer to land mostly in western states that are controlled by the Federal Government. Sometimes this is done to protect an area of wildlife or natural structures in a national park. Other times it is so that the government can limit the usage of the land and what, if any, development can be done with the land. Many of Curtis’s proposed bills on his website are about limiting the amount of land the government controls and increasing the public access to the land, both a decrease in government influence and an anti-liberal position.

Other statements have been to criticize the government for limiting the amount of development and production of fossil fuels that can be done on these public lands. The production and use of fossil fuels is a position that is opposed by many liberals who want to encourage the development of alternative forms of fuel or the limiting of fossil fuels due to their impact on the environment.

In Summary

Springville cannot be considered a liberal city. In fact, it must be considered a strongly conservative city. To see this all we need to do is look at how the city has voted on issues that are linked to the liberal ideology. Springville chose to strongly support Curtis in the most recent election with him getting almost 70 percent of the vote.

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