Video of the Day: The Dangers of Coming Out in Utah ... As a Democrat

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Admitting your party is highly stigmatized is unorthdoox, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

It's a common but still wrenching trope: a child has to admit to his traditionalist parents that the lifestyle and values he holds are different and even antithetical to their own, and that he intends to do things they find abhorrent. Mix in a state that's deeply temperamentally conservative and it's even worse. Even in 2012, some things just aren't that easy.

For example, telling your staunch Republican parents you're a Democrat.

That's the premise of this rather witty ad from Ryan Combe, who's running in Utah's first congressional district. The spot actually does a pretty good job of laying out the Democratic platform in broad and widely acceptable terms: social mobility, progressive taxation, equal gender rights, universal health care. As the ad closes, the parents trade recrimination over who's to blame for his waywardness. Then Combe says, "Why aren't you a Democrat? It might not be as bad as you think."

Despite the effectiveness of the message, an ad premised on your own party's stigmatization is not what one might call orthodox campaign strategy. But -- as the spot implies -- it's pretty tough to be a Democrat in the Beehive State. Combe is almost certain to lose in November to Rob Bishop. In 2004, the first district was ranked the most Republican in the nation, and Combe wasn't even born the last time it elected a Democratic representative, in 1978. The state's congressional delegation has only one Democrat, Jim Matheson, and he faces a tough race this fall against rising star Mia Love (he recently announced he would skip the Democratic National Convention). Combe wins points for courage and creativity, but that's probably all he's going to win in 2012.

Hat tip: Charlie Mahtesian

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David A. Graham

David Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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