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News » Private Eye

GOP Algorithms

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In the late 1970s, I was a bartender at two immensely popular clubs. By day, I poured drinks for the fern bar crowd at the classic bar, The Wasatch Front. Until the "Front" came along, there were no outdoor patios in Utah. None. Or windows. The Wasatch Front paved the evolutionary chain that results in today's great local patio clubs such as Gracie's, The Green Pig and the patio perfect Hog Wallow. It was Salt Lake's place to be seen—and for those in the know, to ask for boxed matches.

By night, I worked at the Sage Supper Club on State Street in Midvale (now A Bar Named Sue). It was a smoky haven for all kinds of people, and no matter who entered—judge, cop, politician, construction worker or hairdresser—everyone got along. Although there were occasional fights at the Sage, in all cases, the bad guy had it coming. The owners of the Sage were George Boutsis and Reed James (his brother, Arlo James, a staunch Democrat in the Utah Legislature). The club manager was Mike Kampros, who was my next door neighbor in Bingham Canyon growing up.

Mike and George thought it was a good idea to open a new club way out south in up-and-coming Sandy. They soon opened Club 90 on 90th South, which had a tiny dance floor, a huge fireplace, but seated fewer than 100 people. They quickly learned there wasn't enough money for both of them, so they flipped a coin to see who would buy the other partner out. As the joke went, George won the coin toss and sold his share to Mike. Thus, Mike began decades of expansions that resulted in Club 90 being one of the largest capacity clubs in Utah.

Not long after it opened, I began working at Club 90. The waitresses hated me. That's all I remember. Since my first poured whisky soda, Club 90 has witnessed about as much drinking, smoking and debauchery as any self-respecting anti-liquor, anti-fun, anti-Democrat Utah Republican legislator could ever imagine. Therefore, I was surprised when I read a Salt Lake Tribune column by Utah's only other columnist worth reading, Robert Gehrke, that revealed that Club 90 was recently host to a "cabal of die-hard Donald Trump loyalists"—among them state Rep. Steve Christiansen, R-West Jordan.

WTF? Steve Christiansen at Club 90? Have you ever seen his portrait? If he walked into the Club 90 I knew, everyone would be screaming "Narc!"—including those fearing to be seen by their LDS bishop. Christiansen formerly would never enter such a den that pioneered scantily clad fashion shows, the Nuts and Bolts party (use your imagination) and where the ribald Kip Attaway always sold out. With few other choices, Club 90 was the go-to weekend hotspot for every big haired blonde and every mullet male living in Utah County. When chronically self-righteous men like Christiansen sat at my bar, I honored the bartender code of silence, but I always thought: Ah, this guy is on a recon mission.

Ducks Unlimited used to raffle guns and such at Club 90, but to be the location for a confab focused on the asinine proposition that the 2020 election was a fraud due to algorithms (of unspecified nature) that rigged elections nationwide? Yeah, sure. Times change. The featured speaker, a side-kick of My Pillow Guy Mike Lindell named Douglas Frank, produced all kinds of yahoo data that proved nothing and didn't explain why Utah Republicans still dominated in Utah. As well, for the algorithms to work, wrote Gehrke, voting machines need to be connected to the internet—but, voting machines are not connected to the internet.

It used to be that people sobered up and recognized the craziness they'd engaged in. But today's culture of drunk-on-nonsense bullshit knows no cure. There's not enough caffeine or brains and eggs for such folks. Their algorithms are not connected to reality.

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