The Point: Why that viral Utah ad is so incredibly appealing


(CNN)On Tuesday morning, the two candidates running to be the next governor of Utah — Spencer Cox, the Republican, and Chris Peterson, the Democrat –appeared in an ad together.

Yes, you read that right. The Republican and Democratic nominees for governor of Utah were in the same ad — just 14 days before voters have to choose between them.

The ad, which you can see here, features the two men trading lines.

“We can debate issues without degrading each other’s character,” says Peterson. “We can disagree without hating each other,” says Cox. “And win or lose, in Utah we work together,” says Peterson. “So let’s show the country there’s a better way,” says Cox.

    Yes! To all of that!

    (Short but cynical bit of context: Cox is heavily favored to win this race. Would the candidates do this sort of ad if the race were really close? I doubt it!)

    What’s interesting about the ad is that it went viral. After racing across political Twitter on Tuesday morning, it had racked up more than 628,000(!) views in the first five hours it was posted on Cox’s Twitter account.

    That’s a heck of a lot of interest in a governor’s race in Utah, where the Republican candidate is cruising to victory.

    So why did so many people find the ad so compelling?

    Obviously, there’s a bit of a novelty effect here; you don’t often see the two major party nominees for governor appearing in an ad together this close to an election (or, really, ever). But I think there’s more to it, too. What is on display in the Utah ad is an antidote to Donald Trump’s view of politics (and human nature).

    According to the current President, people who disagree with him are losers and idiots. They hate America. They are evil.

    This worldview is fueled by anger, resentment and personal pique. It’s exhausting. And the public feels it: Agree or disagree with Trump, it’s hard to argue with the fact that the last four years have felt a LOT longer than four years.

    What reveals itself in the Utah ad is a glimmer of hope. A sense that politics doesn’t have to be the way Trump has conducted it over the past four years.  That reasonable people can disagree — and can do so without being disagreeable.

      And most importantly, that regardless of our political affiliations, we have a LOT more in common than Trumpism would like us to see.

      The Point: The Utah ad — and its immediate popularity — speak to the fact that politics is not hopelessly broken. It just needs some good people to commit to fixing it.