Friday, August 12, 2016

Is The Idea Of Utah As A Battle Ground State For Real?


Since 1948, when Utah voted for Truman 54-45%, there was just one time when the Beehive State went Democratic. In 1964 only the 5 most racist states of the Old Confederacy plus his home state voted for Goldwater. The the rest of the country, Utah included, went blue. Utah gave Johnson an even bigger margin than they had given Truman-- 55 to 44%. In 2012 Utah only gave Obama 24.75% of it's vote, his worst performance of any state. So could Utah really go for Hillary in November?

Short answer: no. More nuanced answer: Trump won't get 50%, not with Clinton out-performing, Gary Johnson doing well and native son-- this far unpolled-- Evan McMullin likely to take more votes from Señor Trumpanzee. The last poll I saw, at showed Mr. T leading with 37%, followed by Hillary with 25%, Gary Johnson surging with 16%, Jill Stein with 1% and other and "don't know" at 21%. A Salt Lake Tribune poll actually showed Hillary and Trumpanzee tied at 35% each and Johnson at 13%. A report in the NY Times this week asserted that Mormons' distaste for Trumpanzee is putting Utah up for grabs (and speculates that large Mormon voting blocs in Arizona and Nevada, normally reliably Republican, is making those two states lean away from Trump as well.
The first signs of Mr. Trump’s troubles in Utah date to early March, when Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and a Mormon who is beloved in the state, gave a speech here warning that Americans were being duped by Mr. Trump. Later that month, Mr. Trump was throttled by Senator Ted Cruz in the state’s caucuses, winning a paltry 14 percent of the vote. In June, two polls showed Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton deadlocked in Utah, making it increasingly plausible that its six electoral votes are really in play.

...Voters such as Angie Melton, who has never voted for a Democrat, are feeling deeply torn.

“I’m upset by this turn of events,” Ms. Melton, 41, said as she sat in the shade with her family next to the towering Salt Lake Temple, the center of Mormonism. “I’ve always voted Republican, but my thought has been that she would be less damaging in terms of world politics,” she said, referring to Mrs. Clinton.

“It doesn’t mean that I agree with much of anything she says or her as a person,” Ms. Melton added, “but I would rather that she win.”

Such hand-wringing is common as trepidations about Mr. Trump grow. On substance and style, he evokes an antipathy among many Mormons that is rooted in culture, religion and history. For a religious group that was driven to Utah during the 19th century in the face of persecution, Mr. Trump’s calls for religious tests and a ban on Muslim migration echo a painful past, leaving some wondering if they will be next.

“The issue of religious liberty is an important one in the state, and the notion of a religious test for immigration raises deep concerns,” said Chris Karpowitz, a director of Brigham Young University’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. “Mormons are sensitive to issues like this because of their own history.”
Clinton is sensitive to these arguments and penned an OpEd Wednesday for the LDS Church-owned Deseret News hitting on them all.
I’m running for president to make sure our country continues to live up to our founding principles. Those timeless ideas teach us that we’re stronger together when we work in unison to solve our problems, no matter what we look like, where we come from or how we pray.

That last one is important. As Americans, we hold fast to the belief that everyone has the right to worship however he or she sees fit.

I’ve been fighting to defend religious freedom for years. As secretary of state, I made it a cornerstone of our foreign policy to protect the rights of religious minorities around the world-- from Coptic Christians in Egypt to Buddhists in Tibet. And along with Jon Huntsman, our then-ambassador in Beijing, I stood in solidarity with Chinese Christians facing persecution from their government.

We stood up for these oppressed communities because Americans know that democracy ceases to exist when a leader or ruling faction can impose a particular faith on everyone else.

That was true all the way back in 1786, when Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion.” One year later, that idea was enshrined in our Constitution forever. It’s one of the sacred ideals that defines us as a country. And it’s something that Donald Trump doesn’t seem to grasp.

Every day, Trump continues to prove he lacks the morals to be our commander-in-chief. In just the last couple of weeks, he’s attacked the parents of an American soldier who gave his life for this country. He’s all but proposed abandoning our NATO allies, and we recently learned he even mused about the possible first-use of nuclear weapons.

With a new, outrageous headline seeming to pop up every day, it’s easy to forget that Trump showed us his true colors early on, when he proposed banning all Muslims from our shores.

Trump’s Muslim ban would undo centuries of American tradition and values. To this day, I wonder if he even understands the implications of his proposal. This policy would literally undo what made America great in the first place.

But you don’t have to take it from me. Listen to Mitt Romney, who said Trump “fired before aiming” when he decided a blanket religious ban was a solution to the threat of terrorism.

Listen to former Sen. Larry Pressler, who said Trump’s plan reminded him of when Missouri Gov. Lilburn Boggs singled out Mormons in his infamous extermination order of 1838.

Or listen to your governor, who saw Trump’s statement as a reminder of President Rutherford B. Hayes’ attempt to limit Mormon immigration to America in 1879.

Instead of giving into demagoguery, Gov. Gary Herbert is setting a compassionate example and welcoming Syrian refugees fleeing religious persecution and terrorism. Once they’ve gone through a rigorous screening process, he is opening your state’s doors to some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

Americans don’t have to agree on everything. We never have. But when it comes to religion, we strive to be accepting of everyone around us. That’s because we need each other. And we know that it so often takes a village-- or a ward-- working together to build the change we hope to see.
There's much more, but that's one heck of a lot of pandering already. Clinton actually has a staff on the ground in Utah and Bill Clinton is doing an event in Salt Lake City tomorrow. She may even do a rally there herself, though I wouldn't count on it.
“There is no doubt that Donald Trump’s offensive rhetoric has made Utah more competitive than before, and we will continue to assess our options in the state,” said Marlon Marshall, the Clinton campaign’s director of state campaigns and political engagement.

Young Republican Mormons such as Mary Weidman give Democrats hope. Sitting outside a soda shop in Provo, Ms. Weidman explained that after supporting Mr. Romney four years ago, she would vote for Mrs. Clinton in November.

“I think it’s the lesser of two evils,” Ms. Weidman, 27, said, expressing dismay over how Mr. Trump talks about women. “When you think of a leader, he lacks every trait.”
The chairman of the Utah GOP, James Evans, gets the last word: "Republicans at this point are a little unhappy with Trump, but they’re going to vote for him." Some will; some won't. But it would be even more exciting if Trump melts down further-- perhaps at one of the debates-- and says something that freaks out somany Utahans that Misty K. Snow beats Mike Lee in the Senate race. Now that would be the story of the year! (You can help Misty's uphill campaign here.)

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At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read that Gov. Hebert endorsed the Trumpster.


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