First scores released today for new ‘Dignity Index’ for Utah’s federal candidates

Oct 7, 2022, 6:01 PM | Updated: 6:46 pm

SALT LAKE CITY— The first scores for The Dignity Index were released Friday for Utah’s political candidates for federal office.

The pilot project relies on a diverse group of 20 coders at the University of Utah to examine the level of dignity or contempt in candidates’ speeches, debates, tweets and campaign emails.

“It was pretty easy for us to find examples of both dignity of contempt from every candidate,” said Jesse Graham, the George S. Eccles chair in business ethics at the University of Utah.

The coders analyzed various messages from candidates in the four U.S. House races and one U.S. Senate race on a scale from one to eight.

“I think what a lot of people might find surprising is that one candidate can be in multiple places on the scale,” said Tami Pyfer, Utah project lead for The Dignity Index.

The leaders of the project emphasize that they are scoring the words used by candidates, not the person.

‘We are trying to fix the problem that we have in the country right now with so much division, so much contempt, by measuring the language that we use,” Pyfer said. “Especially the language that we use when we disagree.”

‘The Dignity Index’ launches pilot program in Utah to score messaging from candidates

Organizers of the index released the following scoring criteria that will be used to examine the words and messages that candidates use:

8: Each of us is born with inherent worth, so we treat everyone with dignity – no matter what.

7: We fully engage with the other side, discussing even the values and interests we don’t share, so we know where they’re coming from.

6: We always talk to the other side, searching for the values and interests we share.

5: The other side has a right to be here and to be heard. It’s their country too.

4: We’re better than those people. I don’t trust them.

3: We’re the good people and they’re the bad people. It’s us vs. them.

2: Those people are evil and they’re going to ruin our country if we let them. It’s us or them.

1: They’re not even human. It’s our moral duty to destroy them before they destroy us.

Third Congressional District Debate (October 6, 2022)

John Curtis

Well, if you know anything about me, you know I like to talk about this. I’m kind of the rare elephant in the room on climate change. Listen, I think it’s important on climate to do something which we don’t generally do in this conversation. And that is if you draw a continuum and you take people where they are on this issue, and you value everybody’s opinion, we can have a very thoughtful conversation about how we reduce emissions, and how we pass on an earth better to our children than the one we inherited.


John Curtis

But I get a unique perspective where I sit and I would, I would bring up two things. First of all, we have been in bad places before as a country. I think about of course of the Civil War, Watergate, the assassination of President Kennedy. And what’s so great about this country is in every single one of those cases, we emerged a better country than before we went into that, and part of the seat that I get to sit at right now is to see the slice of Congress of Washington DC, that most of you rarely get to see on the cable news network or in social media. And I can tell you that there’s hundreds of my colleagues on both the right and the left, who wake up in the morning and say, I want to do what’s best for this country. And they’re not part of the divisiveness. They’re not part of the screaming and shouting and the fight, but they come together every day to work to see how we can advance the will of this country. So that gives me hope and tonight I hope all of you have hope in this great country.


John Curtis

Mr. Wright, I have so much respect for your military service. And thank you. You mentioned as we were standing outside, I think if I heard it right, that you’d completed 250 combat missions. And I want you to know how much I respect that. But it comes back to the conversation you just had about we can’t keep putting money in non-discretionary spending. That $400 billion comes out of those things, veterans, Social Security, but I tell you what, I will meet you on that challenge, not to make you come back every year and ask for it and figure out a way to pay for this so you don’t have to have to.


John Curtis

“It’s about fairness. We have to be fair to these young woman. I have four daughters, I do not want men competing with them in sports period, under any circumstances. Now, if it’s more complicated than that, I’m happy to sit down and talk about it, but I don’t see there’s a place for that.”


Glenn Wright

I think it’s important not to try to make a lot of cheap soundbites, and call your opponents names and belittle them. What I’ve learned is that I truly think most people — now there’s some people are never going to agree with me on a lot of issues – but most people, we can agree on what the problems are. And what we have to do is, we may not agree on their solutions and that’s where we have to have a dialogue and figure out how to get things done. But you don’t start that dialogue by calling somebody a nasty name.


Glenn Wright

I think immigration reform is critical to that. As I said, I’ve done a lot of work on affordable housing, and looking at the cost of affordable housing over the last several years where we’ve had not enough workers to build houses. There are lots of folks outside the country that would like to come in and help us build our economy. I think we need comprehensive immigration reform. And this sense, I think representative Curtis has some good ideas in his in his pipeline. I think they’re a little strict in some places, so I think we can negotiate them. But if he puts that out, or if some if I’m in his place and somebody like him puts it out I think is a good place to start negotiating.


Glenn Wright

I agree with several things that Representative Curtis just said. And I salute his efforts to bring in a conservative climate caucus. I do think we need to be a lot more aggressive. We don’t need to sacrifice our economy. We can be energy independent by electrifying our transportation infrastructure by electrifying the way we heat our houses and creating that stuff internally, both renewable energy and carbon free energy such as nuclear and geothermal and pumped hydro and various solutions. I think we have to have hard goals that we are forced to meet.


Glenn Wright

I think the really bad part of that bill was it came from a segment of our society that is afraid of the LGBT community and just they found transgendered folks as the latest whipping person.



Mike Lee

Campaign email, September 28

“Democrats have figured out a way to make this race for Utah’s Senate seat competitive by supporting a fake “independent” who will, in reality, vote with them. Unfortunately, many are falling for it and he’s raising more than we anticipated through a system that otherwise supports only Democrat candidates. The Left is funding my opponent’s campaign.”


Washington Times op-ed September 20, 2022

No matter their national origin, children need to be treated with the utmost care, respect, and reverence. We should take every precaution to safely return children attempting to cross the border. Currently, we return unaccompanied children from Mexico and Canada quickly and safely.   Children from other countries, however, are placed in a lengthy removal process. In the interim, we release them into the United States with the same adults that smuggled them into the country. Consequently, the policy incentivizes the enlistment of couriers to smuggle children across the border. We can end this incentive by extending the same seamless process available to children from Mexico and Canada.


Evan McMullin

Campaign email, 9/5/22

My name is Evan McMullin. I’m running for U.S. Senate in Utah to replace

obstructionist Senator Mike Lee and I’m asking for your support.


Twitter, @EvanMcMullin, September 24

I was undercover in the CIA for 10 years. The men and women I served alongside never asked each other who they voted for or what political party they were a part of. We all knew we had the same goal: Protect our democracy. Those shared values must continue to bring us together.


First Congressional District

Blake Moore

Op-Ed for Deseret News, September 27

Here in Utah, I look forward to casting my vote for Lee in his reelection campaign. We know what’s at stake. Out-of-control government spending and crippling regulations are hurting Utah families. We need to return to a pre-2020 American government that puts people ahead of bureaucratic red tape. We need to get our country back on track.


Congressman Blake Moore Statement on Impeachment Vote – Jan 13, 2021

Without a single hearing or investigation, I simply cannot reach the high bar of impeachment….. Other members of my party will vote to impeach, and after countless conversations with them, I know their motives are pure, and I believe we share the same desire for a more productive and unified America.


Rick Jones

Statement from website

“Something is fundamentally wrong when self-proclaimed billionaire Donald Trump can in one year spend 350 times as much paying prostitute porn stars as he does paying federal income taxes.


Statement from website

Recipients of tax cuts worth tens of millions do not use the saved money to support local businesses and eat out more often. Instead the money is used to purchase assets, such as land, contributing to asset price inflation which makes housing less affordable or even out of reach for many.”


Second Congressional District

Nick Mitchell

Twitter, @Nick4Utah, September 21

You’ll never guess who voted against The Presidential Election Reform Act.  If you guessed

@RepChrisStewart you’re absolutely right. You should ask him why he hates democracy but I don’t think he’ll reply like always. I wonder why he hates Democracy so much.


Twitter, @Nick4Utah, September 20

We have a chance to unseat @RepChrisStewart I’m putting in the work, but it means nothing if we don’t vote whether for me or against me your voice needs to be heard.


Chris Stewart

Facebook, Congressman Chris Stewart, September 20

New data shows the 9-8-8 Suicide Prevention Hotline may have saved more than 150,000 lives in its first month. Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) and I are thrilled to see our bipartisan bill making a difference. Now let’s keep working to fight our nation’s mental health crisis.


Facebook, Congressman Chris Stewart September 29

Families in Utah are facing inflation costs of more than $8,000 over the next year. Can you afford to lose one month of your yearly salary? Because that’s how much Joe Biden’s spending spree is costing American families…and he wants you to give him credit for it.


Third Congressional District

John Curtis

Twitter, @RepJohnCurtis, September 27

It is an honor to be working with Rep. Lowenthal (D-CA) and recognize Congress role in harnessing the power of free market and government collaboration to create jobs, expand our economy, strengthen America’s national security, and preserve our environment.


Twitter, @RepJohnCurtis, September 21

No one can argue, right or left, that what’s happening at the border is acceptable. We need a secure border and a fixed immigration system. I continue working with my colleagues in Congress to find solutions that bring the best and brightest to the U.S.


Glenn Wright

Twitter, @summitcodem, September 18

We can work together across the aisle. A lot of us know what the problems are. We may not agree on the solutions, but we can no longer afford to be a divided country and state. We must work together.


Twitter, @summitcodem, September 18

I am a 2 tour #vietnamveteran. It took us 2 decades to get Agent Orange protections enacted. Rep Curtis disrespected veterans by voting against the PACT Act, which will provide similar protections for Iraq/Afghanistan veterans. Vote for me, a veteran protecting veterans.


Fourth Congressional District

Owen Burgess

Twitter, @BurgessOwens, September 23

Our Commitment to America brings a future of hope after 2yrs of failure by the Biden Administration and leaders of the Dem party


Facebook, Congressman Burgess Owens, September 21

Inflation is costing the average American an extra $717 per month – on top of the $8,607 families have shelled out over the past year on groceries, gas, and rent. Basic necessities are unaffordable in Biden’s economy.


Darlene McDonald

Tweet, @VoteDarlene, September 21

Burgess Owens has proven that he has no qualms throwing people under the bus to get what he wants — voters in PA, veterans, women, his constituents, contributors to his ‘charities’ and ‘PAC,’ the Black community, his family, and the American people. It’s time to send him back to Florida with DeSantis where he can proudly wave his Betsy Ross flag and hang out with Matt Gaetz, TFG and all his friends from FOX at Mar-a-Lago (if he gets an invite after becoming an EX-Congressman).


Tweet, @VoteDarlene, September 27

In a R+31 District, should a Democrat run? The question should be, why would #CD4 re-elect MAGA Republican @RepBurgessOwens, who is more comfortable on FOX with the Betsy Ross Flag behind him than he is talking to or showing up for constituents?


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First scores released today for new ‘Dignity Index’ for Utah’s federal candidates