Monday, March 21, 2016

How Much Damage Will Utah Deal The Deceitful Trump Tomorrow?


Sunday, Utah's Deseret News' published a poll predicting that if Trump is the GOP nominee, "Utahns would vote for a Democrat for president in November for the first time in more than 50 years." Even as thoroughly loathed and distrusted a candidate as Clinton might be able to beat Trump in Utah-- and the Democratic Socialist from Brooklyn via Vermont? Bye-bye Trump. (Keep in mind, Utah went for George Bush 66.8% to Gore's 26.3%; for Bush again in 2004, this time 71.5% to 26.0% for John Kerry; 62.2% for McCain over Obama's 34.2%; and 72.6% for Romney over Obama's 24.7%. That is one sick red state.)
While Clinton was only slightly ahead of Trump-- 38 percent to 36 percent-- Sanders, a self-declared Democratic socialist, holds a substantial lead-- 48 percent to 37 percent over the billionaire businessman and reality TV star among likely Utah voters.
Among independents Bernie's margin balloons to a 36 point margin in a head-to-head between him and Trump. Even Clinton manages to win among Utah independents, although with a much smaller 17 point margin.

McKay Coppins explained at BuzzFeed why Mormons hate Trump. Wherever Mormons have voted in the primaries so far Trump has lost-- and list big. Trump was crushed in Wyoming and Idaho, where Mormons are huge components of the dominant GOP coalition. The most recent poll in Utah shows Trump coming in a distant 3rd:
Cruz- 53%
Kasich- 29%
Trump- 11%
But Coppins reports that it isn't just Romney's anti-Trump activism that is driving Mormons to vote against Trump in huge numbers. Their feelings towards Trump, he writes, "is rooted more deeply in Mormon culture and politics... [W]hile Mormons make up the most reliably Republican religious group in the country, they differ from the party’s base in key ways that work against Trump."
On immigration, for example, the hard-line proposals that have rallied Trump’s fans-- like building a massive wall along the country’s southern border to keep immigrants out-- are considerably less likely to fire up conservative Latter-day Saints. The LDS Church has spent years lobbying for “compassionate” immigration reform. In 2011, church leaders offered a full-throated endorsement of “the Utah Compact,” a state legislative initiative that discouraged deporting otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants, and offered a path to residency for families that would be separated by deportation.

These pro-immigrant attitudes are common among rank-and-file believers, many of whom have served missions in Latin-American countries. Mormons are more than twice as likely as evangelicals to say they support “more immigration” to the United States, according to Notre Dame political scientist David Campbell. And a 2012 Pew survey found that Mormons were more likely to say immigrants “strengthen” the country than they were to call immigrants an overall “burden.” When Romney ran for president in 2012 on a restrictionist immigration platform, his views were widely noted in LDS circles for being at odds with his church.

Many Mormon voters are similarly wary of another Trump campaign hallmark: Muslim-bashing.

Last year, when the billionaire proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack, Trump became the only candidate in either party this election cycle to elicit a response from LDS church leadership.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in regard to party politics and election campaigns. However, it is not neutral in relation to religious freedom,” the statement read, before proceeding to quote the faith’s 19th-century founder, Joseph Smith, saying he would “die in defending the rights of … any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.” (In case the message wasn’t clear enough, the church-owned Deseret News went on to publish a story highlighting the growing alliance and solidarity between Mormon and Muslim leaders.)

During last year’s debate over the potential national security threat posed by Syrian refugees coming to the United State, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert was the only Republican governor in the country to say refugees were welcome in his state.

Trump is off-putting to Mormons for more predictable reasons as well. His blatant religious illiteracy, his penchant for onstage cursing, his habit of flinging crude insults at women, his less-than-virtuous personal life, and widely chronicled marital failures-- all of this is anathema to the wholesome, family-first lifestyle that Mormonism promotes. And demographically speaking, Mormons tend to reside outside Trump’s base of support anyway. They have higher-than-average education levels, whereas Trump does best among voters without any college education; they are more likely to be weekly churchgoers, while Trump performs better with Christians who attend services infrequently.
Nor are Mormons the only Republicans skeptical of Trump-- and Trump, despite his onstage, buffoonish persona, knows it. His legal team is battling tooth and nail to keep his Trump University fraud trial from moving forward. His lawyers claim the plaintiffs-- it's a class action suit-- are intentionally trying to interfere with the presidential campaign. Trump's lawyer: "Plaintiffs’ request to set a trial date in June or August of this year ... is a transparent attempt to prejudice defendants’ ability to defend this case at trial while Mr. Trump is running for President. It also conflicts with plaintiffs’ acknowledgment to this Court that it would be 'foolish' to think a fair jury could be selected in the middle of the current presidential campaign." And this isn't even the really big Trump University case-- which will compel Trump, who is notoriously incapable of telling the truth, to testify under oath-- being pursued against him by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. This is the one exposing Trump for defrauding students out of $40 million, something even Trump fan boys might be able to connect the dots on. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that "A fraud trial involving a major party’s candidate for president during an election would be unprecedented. Raising the stakes further for Mr. Trump: The businessman is likely to be called to testify by the attorney general, according to a person familiar with the matter, a development that would pull him from the campaign trail to answer questions while under oath... The attorney general could call Mr. Trump as a witness. Mr. Trump could invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself if his testimony had the potential to expose him to criminal charges..."

Last month, The Economist reported on an unrelated case of Trump's deceitfulness, this time in regard to the German heritage that has helped shape the mess he's turned out to be. "Trump," the report, "is descended from German immigrants who arrived in America penniless and succeeded quickly through hard work, a free relationship with the truth, opportunism, shrewd business tactics and a great sense of family loyalty. Fred Trump, Donald’s father, who was a strict taskmaster with all his five children, told his three sons to be 'killers.' Fred Trump’s father, Friedrich Trump, came to America in 1885 as a 16-year-old from Kallstadt, a village in Rhineland-Palatinate, a region known for wine and stuffed pig’s stomach." The family, having made some money in America, tried to move back to Germany but were rejected by the German government and forced to return to the U.S., where KKK sympathizer Fred Trump was born in 1905.
When Fred Trump was 11 America entered the first world war and a period of intense anti-German sentiment followed, abating in the interwar years and then flaring up again during the second world war. German books were burnt, sauerkraut was renamed “liberty cabbage” and frankfurters became “hot dogs.” Friedrich died of Spanish flu in 1918 at the age of only 49 and left Fred and his mother a tidy sum of money, which they used to set up a company, E. Trump & Son, and invested in property. After graduation from high school in 1923, Fred started to work full-time in construction. He realised quickly that his German origins could be a hindrance, so he pretended that his parents were Swedish...

Donald was Fred Trump’s favourite child, and followed him into the building business. “Fred taught Donald a lot and he was a very good student,” says Gwenda Blair, the author of a book on three generations of Trumps. Part of Donald Trump’s success in the casino and property business was down to his early understanding of the power of branding. “Trump” lends itself to big lettering on buildings because it suggests luck and success. Like his father, though, he thought his German origins might not endear him to possible backers. He stuck to Fred’s tale and wrote in his autobiography, Trump: The Art of the Deal, that his father was of Swedish descent. Challenged on this point in an interview with Vanity Fair in 1990, he replied: “My father was not German; my father’s parents were German…Swedish, and really sort of all over Europe.”

The Trumps were typical of German-Americans, the country’s biggest single ethnic group, in trying so hard to assimilate and obscuring their origins. Yet Donald Trump has occasionally changed his story. Simone Wendel, a filmmaker from Kallstadt, visited him at Trump Tower a few years ago for her documentary Kings of Kallstadt, a portrait of this village of 1,200 inhabitants, which also produced the Heinz family, founders of the Ketchup empire. He was rather reserved at first during the meeting, says Ms Wedel, but he warmed to the topic when she showed him photographs of his grandparents and of his grandfather’s modest house. “I love Kallstadt,” says Mr Trump in her documentary. “Ich bin ein Kallstädter.

The braggadocious Mr Trump has probably more Kallstadt in him than he knows. The people of Kallstadt are affectionately known as Brulljesmacher, meaning braggart in the regional dialect. Were he to become president, Mr Trump would not be the first occupant of the White House of German descent. Dwight Eisenhower’s family was originally called Eisenhauer and hailed from Karlsbrunn, close to the German-French border. Herbert Hoover’s ancestors were called Huber and came from Baden in southern Germany. They both made little of their origins-- but they did not go so far as to invent new ones.

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