Dear Mormon Voters of the American West: Maybe You’re the White Horse We’ve Been Waiting For

[Cross-posted to In Medias Res]

Just forget about the White Horse Prophecy. It’s a fun bit of Mormon folklore, but like most folklore it’s fictitious nonsense. More important is the fact that–again, like most folklore–this fictitious nonsense is revealing of, and gives us American Mormons reason to remember, what was at one time a widely shared assumption among Mormon leaders: specifically that, as Brigham Young (and John Taylor, and Harold B. Lee, and multiple others) reportedly said, “if the Constitution of the United States is to be saved at all it must be done by this people” (see, for example, Journal of Discourses 12:204, April 8, 1868).

That’s not a reference to an LDS President of the United States–not a Romney, not a Huntsman, not a Hatch, despite the weird interpretations inspired by the aforementioned ersatz prophecy. It’s not a reference to any particular person at all. Rather, that’s a reference of the Mormon people. Many of whom will be eligible to vote this November. And maybe that is where this old teaching will unexpectedly come into its own as truth.

Let’s talk frankly about the presidential election five months from now. Unless something comparable to a meteor from outer space strikes the Republican party apparatus sometime between now and their convention in Cleveland this July, the GOP nominee for president will be Donald Trump. If you’ve somehow managed not to hear much about the man up until now, believe me, you’ll hear plenty before November. What you’ll hear about Trump will depend mostly (though not entirely) upon the source, and so feel free to disregard the opinions of a leftist like myself. Listen instead to Mitt Romney, the man whom nearly 80% of you voted for in 2012: Trump is a liar, a philanderer, a man who has regularly engaged in business fraud, a man who is willing to incite others to violence, a man who is an apparent believer in (though who can really tell?) and propagator of ludicrous rumors, scandals, and falsehoods. He is paranoid, narcissistic, at least borderline sexist and racist, untrustworthy, vindictive, and ignorant. He lacks any kind of moral center or temperamental balance; he is cruel and dismissive to any whom he perceives as weaker than him, and craven in seeking the applause of those he perceives (but will never admit to being) more “manly”; he is a bully. In short, he really should not be elected President of the United States.

Having said that, let’s be practical here. In a country with a single-memberplurality electoral system and a separation-of-powers constitutional arrangement, both mathematical logic and self-protecting political inertia tends to foreclose any sustained alternatives to the dominance of exactly two political parties–and while 2016 is likely to see a large number of independent candidates on the local, state, and perhaps even national level, the presidential contest is almost certainly going to come down to Trump vs. his Democratic opponent, which will also certainly be Hillary Clinton. And don’t start what you’re about to say: believe me, I am more than happy to grant that Clinton can be accurately described by any number of the above labels (though definitely not as many!) that have been (also accurately!) pasted on Trump. I sympathize with Alan Jacobs’s comment entirely: “If you put a gun to my head and told me that I had to vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, I would but whisper, ‘Goodbye cruel world.'”

Note, though, how Jacobs follows that comment up: “But if my family somehow managed to convince me to stick around, in preference to Trump I would vote for Hillary. Or John Kerry, or Nancy Pelosi. In preference to Trump I would vote for the reanimated corpse of Adlai Stevenson, or for that matter that of Julius Caesar, who perhaps has learned a thing or two in his two thousand years of afterlife. The only living person that I would readily choose Trump in preference to is Charles Manson.” Now, that’s an exaggeration. For whatever it’s worth, I’m quite confident that Trump wouldn’t be even remotely as bad a president as Manson would be. That is, I don’t think he’s an Adolf Hitler in the making. More likely a Richard Nixon–that is, a petty and petulant tyrant, a resentful and routine violator of the Constitution, a crook. Though perhaps not; perhaps he’d be more like a Silvio Berlusconi or a Vladimir Putin: a slightly-more-than petty tyrant, a corrupter, someone who could easily leave America’s constitutional order “battered and bloody, and ripe for something even worse.” But however we imagine a hypothetical Trump presidency, the simple facts remain that, unless 1) you’re willing to trust entirely in the unknown, or 2) you’re a single issue voter who thinks that so long as Trump will, say, appoint people who hate the Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court, or follow through on his promise to build a 30 ft.-high concrete wall between the U.S. and Mexico, literally nothing else matters, then it’s hard to avoid acknowledging the likelihood that Clinton, however much you dislike her, will not actually be as procedurally criminal or corrupt a president as Trump may well turn out to be. Which is where you all, the Mormon voters of the American West, come in.

The aforementioned political norms and practices in the U.S. have resulted in a political culture than is, at least formally (if not substantively), hyper-partisan; witness the fact that the great majority of the Republican establishment, despite having viciously fought against a Trump victory for months, is lining up behind him. They clearly don’t like Trump–but they hate Clinton worse. And that’s going to be a problem, because even though the demographics favor a Democratic presidential victory in 2016, and even though Trump’s approval rating is abysmal, Clinton’s number aren’t much better. Given the electorate which Trump’s rallies are bringing out, and given all the other ways this election is cycle is proving predictions wrong left and right, is it really likely that Clinton will be able to hold on to Democratic Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Michigan, or prevent Virginia from flipping back to the Republicans? It is, in fact, no sure thing. Donald Trump really could be elected President of the United States. Unless, of course, he can’t secure his electoral base.

I live in part of that base–Kansas, which I have every reason to assume will vote Trump in November. As will Oklahoma, Texas, and probably all of the Deep South, and probably all of the northern Plains; partisanship being what it is, Republicans will turn out to vote for Trump, even if they dislike the man intensely, because everyone knows Clinton is just as bad or worse, right? (She’s not, by the way.) But partisanship is shaped by socio-economic and cultural variables…and in the Mormon Corridor, those variables are obviously different in many ways. On the crude level of national politics, those variables are not often visible: witness the way that Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, faithful Republican that he is, has lined up for Trump. (Former Utah Senator Bob Bennett, a less hackish man all around, to his credit made his contempt for the man known up to his dying day.) But if there was ever a time in my lifetime when the Mormon voters of Utah (who in theory could determine the result of 6 Electoral College votes), Idaho (4 votes), Wyoming (3 votes), and Arizona (11 votes), responding to the kind of civic imperatives and ethical principles which we members, whatever our degree of orthodoxy or heterodoxy, assume to be right and good, could make those variables actually result in a substantive political difference…well, now would be the time I’d like to see it happen.

Could American Mormons really determine the fate of the election? Perhaps not–aside from Utah, there’s not any states where Mormon voters alone could prevent a Republican majority from handing Trump their Electoral College votes. But imagine if, by reaching out to moderate non-Mormon Republicans and using their language skills to help register Hispanic voters, they did? Imagine if American Mormons swallowed their partisan leanings, uneasily remembered the story of Amlici from Alma 2 (think 2:4 in particular: “if it were possible that Amlici should gain the voice of the people, he, being a wicked man, would deprive them of their rights and privileges”), and used their informal networks and social connections to make it clear that, however much you agree with some of his claims, a man as crude and mean-spirited as Trump should not be elected…and as a result, Trump was robbed for 10, or perhaps as many as 24 Electoral College votes? Even if Trump is able to maximize Clinton’s negatives and recapture parts of the Rust Belt and the Upper South, it would be just about impossible for him to make up for losing the Intermountain West. Between the Mormons and the newly enfranchised Hispanic population (which American Mormons are already more willing to work with than the rest of the Republican mainstream), America, if all else this election goes badly, would still be spared President Trump.

And what would we get in return? Presumably President Hillary Clinton, a person that the great majority of American Mormons won’t like for reasons from the political right (in the same way I won’t like that result from the political left). But politicians–and laws, and regulations, and even Supreme Court rulings–one doesn’t like is part of life in a pluralistic mass democracy which at least aspires to operate like a constitutional republic. In the end, as citizens, we have to make the best decisions we can, standing on principle when we are able, and compromising for the greater good when push comes to shove.

Over the next five months, Trump is going to be shoving on all Republicans–which most American Mormons are–quite hard. Mormons like me here in Kansas almost certainly can’t do anything more than symbolically resist the Trump wave. But in the American West…there, you can do more. You just may be able to turn that shoving back on this potentially dangerous blowhard. And by so doing, you all just may be able to be the people that 19th-century prophets were convinced would act to save the Constitution. I’m a political scientist; I know that every election it’s always in the interest of those involved to make like the upcoming election is the most important election ever. Well, amazingly enough, this year, that just might be true. And that means maybe, just maybe, if the Mormon voters of the western U.S. do what’s right, some element of the ridiculous White Horse Prophesy might turn out to be true as well.

Comments

  1. Eponymous says:

    I am flabbergasted (although I probably shouldn’t be), at the number of Mormons I talk with who declare they intend to stick to the Party even after acknowledging Trump’s deplorable character and actions. I was as conservative as it’s possible to be when Bill Clinton ran for President and actively joined both the Bush and Dole campaigns in hopes of helping defeat him. No longer quite so conservative and disillusioned by how craven the Republcan party has become I would have definitely voted for any of the other 16 Republican candidates over Hillary.

    My Mormon Republican friends claim that it’s the Supreme Court they’re worried about. That if a Democrat elected at least 1 if not 3 justices will be replaced during this Presidency’s tenure will be replaced and if Hillary is in the Oval Office then the very moral fiber of our nation will be irreparably changed. That is the mindset I see in those Mormons who are actually thinking about this and not just shrugging their shoulders and declaring anyone but Hillary.

  2. Trump is only worse than Clinton because she is corrupt in the conventional way that we have come to accept and tolerate. Sure, she won’t hasten our destruction, she’ll just keep us all mozying toward it.

    I don’t think that Intermountain West Mormons should vote Trump, but to vote for Clinton could possibly bring devastating consequences via the Supreme Court upon the church or its members. This election almost makes me wish that the prophecy had been genuine and inspired.

  3. Aussie Mormon says:

    It’d probably be easier (though also immoral) to just bribe some of the electoral college members.

  4. The Church and its members function quite effectively in countries that are far more liberal than the US, including countries with more liberal justice systems. We can certainly survive a more liberal Supreme Court.

    And you don’t have to vote for Hillary if you don’t vote for Trump. Vote for another party, write someone in, don’t vote. While it’s almost certain that there is only one of two people who will become the next president, no one has to vote for either of them. You are not actually voting for Hillary if you don’t vote for Trump.

  5. I’m a strongly left-leaning Democrat in principle with a pragmatic streak that pulls me to the center. That’s a Clinton vote without question, so I am personally unaffected by the argument. Thinking about my devoutly Republican neighbors, I don’t think you (Russell Arben Fox), or Mitt Romney, or Alan Jacobs, all of whom I appreciate and mostly agree with, are going to have any effect. The problem is that Hilary Clinton carries distinct negatives, or the problem is with the way human beings deal with uncertainty, or both in combination most likely. I think this election will be viewed by most Mormon Republicans as a choice between two evils (negatives), presenting a classic problem of comparing a known negative (Clinton) with an unknown (Trump). Even though the variance on Trump is enormous, even if the mean for Trump is much worse than for Clinton, people will do what people do which is to discount or rationalize the negative, promote the positive including with a strong confirmation bias, and simplify by applying a single issue heuristic (like Supreme Court nominees–see above). Unless Clinton can move somehow into a positive category (however slight), I predic the wild variant will win that vote.

  6. Good comments, all.

    Eponymous, yes, you’re correct, the Clinton hatred in Mormon circles is deep, and grounded in much more than partisanship; it is an entrenched legacy, I think, of the first wave of the culture wars in the 1990s, all about women in the workplace, feminism, and “standing by your man.” I strongly suspect that the current fixation on the Supreme Court as a reason to stand against the prospect of Hillary Clinton as president is, while arguably legitimate, still ultimately just as placeholder for a long-standing suspicion of the sort of person she is. If the Supreme Court had a strong 7 to 2 conservative majority, many, I believe, would just fixate on something else (Bengazhi, perhaps).

    ABM, “corrupt in a conventional way” is probably accurate. That’s not a good thing, obviously, but it’s a reality that we’re used to, and which the American system by and large has found ways to work around and recover from. Trump-style authoritarian corruption would, arguably, be a different thing entirely. And as for “devastating consequences via the Supreme Court,” see Amira’s correct observation: the church does, in fact, operate freely and well in secular societies whose legal regime is far more oppositional to the morally conservative traditions that the LDS Church and other conservative churches have long benefited from. The U.S. becoming more legally or culturally like Germany is hardly a recipe for the collapse of the church–just ask Elder Uchtdorf.

    Christian, yes, the idea that it’s better to take a chance on an unknown-and-possibly-though-probably-not-moderate-positive than a known negative. It’s hard to argue against that kind of calculus, but this post is an effort to try.

  7. I like this post, although I think it’s a bit too optimistic. Too many Mormons will always vote for the Republican, even when he is a philandering agnostic bully.

    And I think you’re vastly overestimating Arizona here. Arizona would never vote for Clinton, and Trump is spouting exactly the xenophobic rhetoric that’s so popular there.

  8. Russell, I don’t think the church will cease to operate openly as if the US was going to become like China. What I am referring to are the groups out there that want to see significant secularization in the way our laws treat churches and religion. Left leaning appointees will be much more likely to agree with them and the impact to the church, since it is headquartered here, with many members, temples, two universities and lots of property, would be worse than say, in Germany with similar laws. Active promotion of increased secularization is a hard pill to swallow for many Mormons and a high price to pay for a Clinton vote.

  9. Brother Sky says:

    Mormons’ political blind spots are legion, but that means they’re just like most Americans. I’m as left as they come, and I really don’t see much difference between Hillary and Trump on a personal level with the exception of the fact that Hillary is a more skilled and less obviously narcissistic panderer. Policy is another matter, however. And I, too, was initially surprised at how many folks in my ward declared loyalty to the Republican party no matter what, but it’s not really that surprising. The herd mentality that results from the culture of obedience infusing this church on every level means that most folks will fall lock-step into line and vote according to party loyalty because they can’t conceive of doing anything else. Sort of a shame, really, but that’s the way it is.

  10. Good thoughts, Russell. It goes a long way towards explaining why Hatch’s endorsement felt so much like a betrayal. And yes, I do believe that the election of Trump would be a disaster, and I do believe that Mormons of good conscience must oppose him.

  11. Kristine A says:

    My very conservative husband walked in the door from work when trump clinched the nomination and said “well, this will be the first time in my life I ever vote for a democrat.”

    I have found him to be an anomaly. Most Everyone else, from what I can tell, is quietly/on the down low lining up for trump via the SCOTUS argument; or they listen to so much talk radio they argue “he can’t be any worse of a dictator than Obama has been.”

    I wish your hopeful essay had basis in reality. Alas.

  12. To all who say they just won’t vote, consider that the electoral college votes from your state are decided by the majority of individual ballot votes. If a notable portion of Bernie supporters don’t vote and a notable portion of “NeverTrump” Republicans and Independents don’t vote, the result is dangerously hard to predict. Be safe (as in better the devil we know than the devil we don’t) and vote for Clinton–she is much less likely to do really stupid things.

  13. The white horse prophecy is regularly quoted in my gospel doctrine class, mostly by people I think will support Trump.

  14. I think it’s too late. I’ve been watching the facebook posts of my very conservative mormon friends. And while initially bashing Trump just as much as any liberal or democrat during the primaries, they’ve gone quiet about Trump since he’s secured the nomination. Now I’m noticing increased levels of Hillary bashing, which makes me think they’ve reluctantly lined up behind Trump and will vote for him, perhaps less conspicuously. But I’m pretty sure Utah will go Trump, especially given the huge number of disenfranchised Sanders voters in Utah who’d rather not vote than choose Clinton or Trump.

  15. especially given the huge number of disenfranchised Sanders voters in Utah who’d rather not vote than choose Clinton or Trump.

    As one of those almost-certainly-soon-to-be-disenfranchised Sanders voters, and as someone who has supported his campaign from the beginning, I strongly suspect that the number of committed Sanders supporters who do not vote Clinton in the end will be quite tiny.

  16. Nathaniel James says:

    I’m a BYU student and I have yet to talk to another student who favors Trump. Most of these people are pretty conservative, but the impression I get from most people is that he is more repulsive than Clinton. I wonder if there could be a generational difference. The only Mormon I actually know that supports Trump is like 90 years old.

  17. I’m sure there is a lot of generational significance to the way the political narratives are developing this year, Nathaniel. And I hope you’re right! Unfortunately, however, two problems: 1) lots of those BYU students aren’t from Utah or the Mormon Corridor, and 2) college students almost never vote, sadly enough.

  18. I’d be interested in how BYU compares to BYU-I with Trump support. BYU may be the church’s main university, but I think BYU-I students (as a whole, and not individually) more accurately reflect the average young U.S. Mormon in various ways, including in political leanings and intelligence–which are both factors in predicting whether someone will vote for Trump or not.

  19. I think that as a people, we Mormons are, for whatever reason (I have my opinions), less susceptible than average to Trump’s spell. It has been discouraging to me to see how quickly many Republicans have fallen in line behind Trump. Surely many GOP Mormons have already or will soon follow suit. Still, I share the optimism expressed here that Mormons may play a role in preventing a Trump presidency. Even if you have opposed Hillary Clinton for years, it should be clear that she is not nearly as dangerous as Trump. To me, Trump represents the idea expressed by Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter 1:

    “There is no good or evil… There is only power and those too weak to seek it.”

    I express hope that those who believe in truth, honor, goodness, and right will fight against this idea.

  20. One more thought — while I applaud the OP and wish it would happen (and yet keep thinking about windmill tilting) I think there is a potential of lasting harm to the Mormon community in the backside rationalizing. In other words, I hear more and more Mormons rationalizing a vote for Trump and what’s said there may harm us for a long time, whatever the actual election results. Like it or not (I don’t), I am understanding of “lesser of two evils” or “my party right or wrong.” But stop there. Turning a positive statement on Trump, defending him in some way, has the feeling of making a virtue out of “liar, philanderer, . . . business fraud, . . . incite others to violence, . . . propagator of ludicrous rumors, scandals, and falsehoods . . . paranoid, narcissistic, at least borderline sexist and racist, untrustworthy, vindictive, and ignorant.” Let’s not go there.

  21. Trump is the perfect mix of arrogance and ignorance in equal measure.

  22. If anyone votes for Clinton they are voting for :

    more corruption, more deceit, more lies, more attacks on the Constitution, communism, and a North American Union where the United States loses all sovereignty and power.

    Very disturbing to see that there are so many communists in the LDS church.

  23. Trump is more dangerous than Clinton?
    Please list facts as to how Trump is more dangerous than Clinton. Many say Trump is more dangerous but fail to say how, and fail to back it up.

    Trump is called every name in the book with no actual facts. Clinton is given a free pass.

  24. e.g.g, You don’t seem to have read the post or any of the links from it. Nor do you supply any “facts” on Clinton. You simply recite a list of (ill-informed in some cases) complaints about Clinton. The same kind of comments you complain that people are doing for Trump. Those types of simplistic, off-based comments and rhetoric don’t help your case, as you note for others. If you want honest engagement with your comments, you should do the same with the post.

  25. E.G.G.,

    As a Sanders-supporting leftist communitarian who thinks the Clintonian DLC of the 1990s mostly hurt, rather than helped, the country’s socio-economic health and civic fabric, as well as someone who is enough of a classical republican to think there are important reasons not to support political dynasties, I’m kind of grateful to be living in Kansas, where there is every reason to believe I can write in Sanders and not be concerned about maximizing the anti-Trump vote, and thus don’t have to serious contemplate voting for Clinton, as I’m asking the Mormon voters of Utah, Idaho, etc., do do. But still, I’d choose Clinton over Trump any day, and believe it or not it has nothing to do with ideology. So let me take up your challenge.

    Trump is more dangerous than Clinton? Please list facts as to how Trump is more dangerous than Clinton. Many say Trump is more dangerous but fail to say how, and fail to back it up.

    So let’s go through the list.

    more corruption

    On the Clinton side, we have the Clinton Global Initiative, which is clearly at least as much a buck-raking operation as a charity, but at least is focused on the same high-level donors that keep our whole corrupting system of interest group access afloat. On the Trump side, we have Trump University, which was an out-and-out con|, a pyramid operation that Trump himself never apparently cared was being run to exploit desperate people out of their tuition dollars without giving them any kind of accredited education in return. Advantage: Clinton.

    more deceit

    Independent fact-checkers have routinely shown that Clinton, despite her reputation for dishonesty, is far more careful and accurate in her language than Trump. Advantage: Clinton.

    more lies

    Same as above.

    more attacks on the Constitution

    Many of the likely accusations against Clinton depend on a very narrow reading of Constitutional interpretation, but if, just for the hell of it, we go ahead and grant that all of the allegations made against the Obama and Clinton administrations in regards to constitutional violations are both accurate and can be placed at the feat of Hillary Clinton, then what we’re left with is abuse of the Commerce clause (through the Affordable Care Act), abuse of executive power (through immigration-related executive orders and through attempting to recuse oneself from testifying under oath by invoking executive privilege), and abuse of Congressional and departmental relationships (through bundling the Affordable Care Act with budgetary legislation and through implementing orders regarding birth control access and transgender bathroom use via the Department of Education and the Attorney General’s office). Since Trump has never held any kind of elective office he has not such track record–but he has called for banning Muslims from entering the United States, disqualifying judges of Hispanic descent from hearing cases, abandoning our involvement in NATO, greatly expanding the executive’s ability to make use of eminent domain, shutting down Muslim places of worship, tolerating violence and making use of intimidation in order to shut down opposing viewpoints. This means a hypothetical President Trump would apparently be comfortable with trashing the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 14th amendments to the Constitution, as well as disregarding the Take Care clause, the Supremacy clause, and the separation of powers system. Advantage: Clinton.

    communism

    You provide no definition of this term, but even if we assume an extremely loose interpretation of it, I cannot for the life of me understand how someone who has consistently insisted she wanted to regulate, not interfere with, Wall Street; regularly defended capitalism; strongly supported corporate-friends trade deals with other nations; and supported welfare reform with its work requirements could be called anything but a friend of free markets. No, she’s no libertarian, but she’s no Bernie Sanders either. Advantage: moot because accusation is meaningless.

    a North American Union where the United States loses all sovereignty and power

    This is pretty ridiculous exaggeration, but I understand where you’re going–Clinton favored NAFTA, is supportive of the EU and the UN, and generally likes the idea of international law and government through a soft, shared consensus, rather than strict lines of sovereignty. Trump, very clearly, is the opposite. I think your phrasing here is hysterical, but I’ll give you this one. Advantage: Trump.

    So, the answer is clear: unless you are a single-issue voter who is convinced that stopping further deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other international treaties that don’t put the interests of American workers over every other consideration, then you really need to support Clinton this November, because there is every reason to believe that Trump will be far worse on all the relevant Constitutional measurements otherwise. And in the meantime, I look forward to your contributing some money to the Sanders campaign, since you know Clinton has only pretended to be opposed to the TPP because Sanders has pushed her on it.

  26. RAF,
    Virtually all of the political and personal vices you list for Trump are had in nearly equal measure by Hillary. The only vice that has little public information available for Hillary is racism. Yet, she worked in the most racist administration of my lifetime and comes from one of the most racist parts of this country.
    I agree that Arizona is very likely to go with Trump. They are on the front lines of his original signature issue. More likely that a 3rd party candidate with narrow focus could win in UT, ID WY and perhaps a few others. Based upon primary results, OK, KS & NE could be won by a 3rd party conservative. If this 3rd party candidate got on the ballot in just a few states, but basically told his supporters in others to vote Trump, then the electoral college could be hung and the election go to the US House.
    I do not see that Trump is clearly more dangerous than Clinton. He has fewer friends and allies in power, and will find many of his policies blunted by Congress, no matter which party is in power there. Hillary as president with a democrat Congress would probably be worse than any Trump scenario.

  27. I would like to suggest that in Utah in particular, sitting this one out or voting for a third-party candidate (or, heaven forbid, writing in Mitt Romney) is the same as voting for Trump. If you really want to prevent this megalomaniac (look it up) from inhabiting the White House and imposing his vengeful, irrational, authoritarian-style rule on this country, then you have no other choice than to vote for Hillary, who by all measures would be a better president and far less dangerous to our future than The Donald, Supreme Court shift included.

    What concerns me most, however, is how many of my fellow Mormons seem to be playing a game of moral Twister, contorting their values so that they can convince themselves it is right to vote for this self-centered, morally vacuous, impulsive bully. His positions on virtually every issue (when he manages to stand by them for more than a day) would wreck this country. His promises are empty and often fly in the exact opposite direction from the specifics of his proposals (when he actually has any). One example? Look at his economic pronouncements. Based on the information he has given, we will see billionaires like himself make off like, well, bandits, while the debt will increase by $10.5 trillion over the next ten years (beyond its projected increase if things stay as they are now).

    Any way you slice it, Trump would be a disaster of horrific proportions. If he is elected, I fully expect a Republican Congress to impeach him within two years. But in the meantime, go ahead, play Twister with your values. Vote for him. Play Russian roulette with our future. But you won’t be able to blame me. I will vote for Clinton. And so should Mitt Romney, if he is serious about keeping this egomaniac out of the White House.

  28. $10 says Utah and Idaho vote for Trump despite the above fluffery. Having witnessed LDS voters during Prop H8 in California, expecting decency from this demographic is a risible fantasy.

  29. As someone who was married to an LDS return missionary, born in the covenant Mormon, who also happened to suffer from a personality disorder, may I ask each of you to take some time to study Narcissistic Personality Disorder. When you watch and listen to Donald Trump, ask yourself if you are seeing an arrogant inconstant man or a man suffering from a severe and basically untreatable mental illness.
    Please do not believe that people with these mental illnesses cannot be successful at work. My husband was a corporate CEO and self-made millionaire. He rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, sat on community boards and was called to serve in a bishopric.
    But he was seriously ill and extremely unstable. He attempted suicide, had sex with total strangers simply because he thought they expected it and he could not disappoint them, created elaborate lies to convince his second wife to name their children after my sisters in order to spite both her and me, had sex with prostitutes and visited strip clubs. At the same time he took his wife and children to visit the people he taught as a missionary and wanted to “climb the Church ladder” of position.
    The truth is that I never knew what he would do next, and neither did his second or third wives, his parents or his children.
    Can you count on Donald Trump to fulfill a single promise he has made? No. He might nominate conservative or liberal nominees to the Supreme Court. He might build a wall on our southern border or bring in millions more immigrants to work in jobs such as those for the companies he owns. Mitt Romney is correct in assessing him as a danger to the very survival of the country.
    That said, I also cannot vote for Clinton. She is just too dishonest. So I will write in Condoleezza Rice, someone who matches Hillary in experience, but far surpasses her in integrity.
    Do I believe in the White Horse Prophecy? I do. But I think maybe we will save the country by having food and skills and tools to share with our neighbors so that civil order does not break down in panic when the disasters of the Last Days strike.
    I understand your point. I really do. But I cannot agree with your conclusion. In a contest between Hitler and Stalin, I choose Churchill.

  30. Sister Chris says:

    This is the point in the conversation when I am grateful for the electoral college. As a libertarian/conservative in deep blue Oregon, the odds of my vote mattering an iota are slim–unless the Eugene and Multnomah country Bernie supporters can’t pinch their noses and vote for Clinton, theoretically putting Oregon in play. In that case, I will pray for a Clinton indictment and for the DNC to swap out someone more palatable like Joe Biden. I would vote for Joe Biden. I would vote for Bernie. #nowhitehorsesthisyear

    Utah and Idaho will totally go for Trump.

  31. Mary Roberts says:

    Here’s a prognostication: Nothing will change, Blue states will vote blue. Red states will vote red. The election will be decided in Ohio and Florida, same as always.

    It is not a matter of qualification anymore. It is a matter of tribe.

  32. Jared vdH says:

    I’m in Texas. My vote will likely not matter, though I will vote for Hillary Clinton well before I vote for Donald Trump. The fact that this election has come to this choice is very sad. I also sadly expect sufficient voters in Utah to stick to the party line to make it not matter there either.

    I think we may very well have entered the late Roman republican period and will likely see our Caesar appear in our lifetime. At the very least we have already seen the appearance of the Gracchi and their conservative Sulla & Cato backlash in the Bush & Clinton dynasties.

    If you want a Book of Mormon parallel, we’re probably in the midst of Helaman 3 & 4, and I can certainly see myself amongst those who “migrate to the land northward”.

  33. I too have had experience with personality disorders. I believe Donald Trump suffers from one. Therefore, everyone who thinks he is just performing for the crowd and will settle down to govern if elected will be sadly mistaken if that happens. He will continue to speak and act in any way that focuses approval on himself and viciously attack anyone who belittles or challenges his feelings of self worth. The programs he supports eill change regularly and without apparant thought. It is a chemical problem in his brain. He simply does not produce enough of the proper neurotransmitters to self-regulate his emotions. And just losing the election is not going to remove him from the stage.
    I would not be so quick to discount the White Horse Prophecy. The prophecies of the Jews returning and reestablishing Israel seemed ridiculous. What sane person could have for seen Hitler’s Final Solution? How likely did the melting of the ice in the north countries seem in the 1950’s? A passage opened across the deep? Right. But here we sit in a world with melting glaciers and China regularly shipping goods to Europe across the long sought Northwest Passage.

  34. Mark Brown says:

    With meaning to be cynical about the motivations of my fellow voters who claim to be unable to vote for Clinton “because she is too untrustworthy”, I will make the rather routine and unsurprising observation that many LDS voters in Arizona will reject HRC on grounds of trust or corruption, but have no problem whatsoever in voting for John “Keating Five” McCain.

    I suggest that all of us are susceptible to the (mistaken) idea that our motivations are as pure as the driven snow when we are actually driven more by ideology than anything.

  35. Mark Brown, spot on.

    Cleary, politics is a soul-sucking endeavor which not even Saint Romney could escape with his intregity intact. (unless one is wearing blinders). Politicians are adept at avoiding questions, dishing out misrepresentations, untruths and yes–lies–then promising the moon. They are the consummate salespeople.

  36. I have been solidly against Trump from the beginning. However, after a recent conversation with a dedicated Democratic friend who tried to convince me to vote for Hillary so she could choose any needed Supreme Court nominees, I have just changed my mind. I truly would vote for anyone to keep Hillary from picking our Supreme Court justices. Even Donald Trump.
    I know Trump is insane. But Hillary is evil incarnate.

  37. God protect us from all the Georges out there.

  38. Amen

  39. SantiagoLuis says:

    Gary Johnson 2016!

  40. Those sentences that conclude with “is evil incarnate” showcase the hatred.

    HRC is a power politician with a 30 year career of compromise behind her, lots of it not pretty. She is not evil incarnate. Context imparts different narratives; those narratives lead to the negatives about her.

    Trump, running as an anti-establishmentarian, is a facile, puerile hypocrite. An intelligent simpleton with money. Every context he’s in, he’s that guy. This is not because of anything he’s said or done. It’s because he’s so much a part of establishment politics as a purchaser of influence that his saying otherwise ought to make your head explode from that dissonance alone, letting alone the fraud, deceit, narcissism, and enthusiasm for force that exist in him as givens, not as conclusions.

    Who is worse, the person whose behavior permitted emergent falsehoods its power, or the person who drives it with his ambition, lying reflexively and openly without a concern for personal consequence, because he can tie you up in court as an act of revenge?

    And then, there’s Gary Johnson. I cast a vote for him last time. Look into that, it’s not a bad way to cast a rightist’s vote.

  41. It was a conversation with a dedicated California Democrat that convinced me to vote for Trump despite all the reservations I have about him. She blithely excused the violence anti-Trump protestors visited on people who attended Trump’s San Jose rally. After all, California was a Democratic state, she said. I guess that means a Republican presidential candidate should not be allowed to give campaign speeches there.
    With that I realized that liberals were now giving up even the pretense of supporting freedom of speech or assembly. Those rights were to be restricted to those who believe as they do.
    I hate Trump and everything he stands for. But if he has become the last bastion to protect free speech I will have to stand with him. Perhaps the Mormons will save the Constitution by voting for Trump.

  42. I’ll go on record here along with the vast majority of people who despise Trump and say that the violence by protestors at Trump rallies, is inexcusable. By the way, Trump himself has excused violence at his rallies when it was taken out against those he disagreed with. But I guess if people are looking for reasons to feel okay about voting for Trump, they pretty much have to ignore what Trump says and does.

  43. Angela,

    It was a conversation with a dedicated California Democrat that convinced me to vote for Trump despite all the reservations I have about him. She blithely excused the violence anti-Trump protestors visited on people who attended Trump’s San Jose rally….With that I realized that liberals were now giving up even the pretense of supporting freedom of speech or assembly. Those rights were to be restricted to those who believe as they do.

    It must have been a real privilege to speak to a (the only? one of many?) particular political partisan whose comments just happened to correctly reveal the secret mindset of tens of millions of other people and the inevitable inner logic of an whole global worldview. I wish I could stumble on to someone who could reveal the real hidden truth of things like that. All the folks I meet just tend to speak for themselves and don’t reveal anything about masses of others, annoyingly enough.

  44. RAF,
    Are you hiding your head in the sand? If the CA political protests have been instigated by the Clinton campaign, the DNC, or a close affiliate, this is a scandal worse than Watergate. The connection I hypothesize is not yet known, but there is smoke there. Where is the widespread political outrage that should accompany such brazen usurpation of basic rights? The reason the outrage is not so widespread is that tens of millions of other people just do not care. Probably because of the reasons that Angela gives, or closely related ones. Do you have a better reason for the minimization of this monumental crime?

  45. Or at least as bad as deflategate.

  46. I actually signed the Never Trump pledge and planned to vote for Hillary. But this post and these comments have convinced me to cast my ballot for a man for whom I have no respect. When someone uses my religion to try to convince me I should vote a certain way, my hackles rise and I dig in my heels. I hate Donald Trump and everything he says. But I will now be voting for him in November and I live in a state where my vote will count.

  47. I was on the fence about who to vote for before reading this and all its accompanying comments. I was a voter without a candidate. I could not in good conscience support either.
    But your arguments have convinced me. Trump 2016 is now my banner.
    The Hillary supporters here are people I do not want to know. Their logic is flawed; their arrogance completely offputting. I guess they remind me too much of all the things I hate about Hillary Clinton.

  48. Flake is still waffling on backing Trump. Maybe he will refuse to endorse. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/jeff-flake-donald-trump-223958

  49. Looks like there are a lot of people who ar looking for an excuse to do something that they know is wrong. They want to vote for an evil demagogue of a man that they know they shouldn’t. They want to vote for him because he is republican. They use silly excuses like a blog post pushed me to vote for him, or some person excused violence at a trump rally, or he is really just as bad as all politicians.

    They remind me of those who didn’t really want to go to church any way so they blame someone at church like the bishop as the reason just so that they can make someone feel bad as they head out the door in righteous indignation.

    It must be nice for some people to be able to choose who to vote for on such a small whim. I’m an independent and it usually takes me months of research and watching the debates and understanding policy before I make a decision on a presidential candidate. Although I do have to say that this will be the easiest election ever. Donald Trump is the personification of every warning that the Book of Mormon makes about civilization. Greed and pride will destroy us and he is the embodiment of that. After watching Trump for quite a while I have decided that I will vote for whoever is most likely to beat Trump. I usually yawn at partisan attacks on both sides of the aisle about how evil another candidate is but his heart goes beyond partisan attacks. He cares about only one thing, himself.

  50. Imma just leave this here…

    “We urge Church members to register to vote, to study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully, and then vote for those they believe will most nearly carry out their ideas of good government. Latter- day Saints are under special obligation to seek out and then uphold leaders who will act with integrity and are “wise,” “good,” and “honest” (see D&C 98:10).”

  51. ” If the CA political protests have been instigated by the Clinton campaign, the DNC, or a close affiliate, this is a scandal worse than Watergate.”

    Or,
    perhaps it was instigated by Trump–supporters pretending to be opponents and then starting a conspiracy rumor that it was organized by HC campaign, the DNC ?

    Or,
    perhaps Trump just brings out the worst in people?

    Or,
    perhaps there are just immature losers who use any excuse to cause mayhem and chaos?

    My money is on the latter.

    I know people love to paint CA with the broad brush of liberalism, but actually, CA is very diverse. It has very liberal counties as well as very conservative counties. Republicans, not Democrats, have dominated the governorships in CA going back to at least the 1960s. The current U.S. House Majority leader is Republican Kevin McCarthy from Bakersfield, CA.

    As for me, I’ve been watching this slow train-wreck of the Republican Party for the past few years, but it gives me no great pleasure. We have real problems that need to be addressed and the current environment in Congress is completely dysfunctional. They couldn’t even get their act together to appropriate money to fight Zika. If you are voting for people who vow not to compromise and who attach “poison pills’ to legislation you are voting for dysfunction and the destruction of this great country. Wake up please.

  52. There is a distinct difference between the dislike of Trump and the dislike of Clinton. If you hear Clinton talk, she is extremely lucid and believable. In order to dislike her you have to have heard the narrative concocted by her enemies. Most of that narrative is fictitious, like the Benghazi story or the Vince Foster story, or the supposed damage she has done with her private email server. Her negatives and narrative have been carefully crafted by her enemies, It also helps that she is a woman.

    If you dislike Trump,it is because you have heard him speak. (He does have a narrative, but that just confirms what comes out of his mouth.) What is concerning is that the Republican base does not care and cannot see. How is the party going to continue now that the secret is out that appealing to the most base fears and hatreds of the base will get you the nomination.

  53. I seriously considered backing the Democratic candidate this election. But I cannot. There has been a steady attempt to undermine my constitutional rights for decades pushed by liberals. I cannot vote for that.
    The mean spirited attacks on people who disagree with the Democratic Party, voiced here and in general, convinced me that the only way to protect my freedoms is to back the Republican ticket. Who would have thought the comments on your piece would have convinced me to vote for Donald Trump?

  54. it's a series of tubes says:

    In order to dislike her you have to have heard the narrative concocted by her enemies.

    Brotha, please.

  55. To all the people who are voting for Trump:
    I really do want to understand why. If you have good solid reasons for voting for him, I am all ears. I don’t like either candidate and I am currently hoping that a viable third party candidate will show up. I have heard valid arguments from many people on why they are voting for Hillary, but I honestly don’t understand what compels people to vote for Trump. Please explain this to me. Also, “I’m voting for Trump because of 50 comments by uppity liberal Mormons on a blog post” does not seem like a valid reason.

  56. I want either Trump or Sanders to win. I don’t like or agree with either of them. HOWEVER, I want the current “cult of the President” or “President as Strongman” lies to be snuffed out. If a horrible or just unrealistic person gets in the White House, the ship of state will move along unperturbed because they legally can’t do tons of things they claim they’ll do, and there could even be an upside.

    If someone with strong opinions that run counter to most of the country gets in office, Congress will have a chance to get its spine back and start to roll back the 70 years of President-worship and deferring to usurped Congressional-Constitutional power. The Presidency has taken more power to itself (unchecked by a craven Congress) for the last 70 years and Congress has been happy to let it, in the hopes of deflecting blame for their corruption and failures.

    The problem with a Clinton win is that it will perpetuate the cycle. She’s a garden-variety left-leaning authoritarian who has spent years consolidating power and influence. These are the primary skills of a strongman President, and Congress will just cower and roll over again and again during her tenure, and the next President will have even MORE power and influence, and the people less.

  57. Oh, also people voting for against a candidate based on a perceived advantage or disadvantage to the Church or our religious liberties:
    ” …the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

    Don’t worry, it’ll all be OK regardless of who gets to wear the fancy hat or carry the title.

  58. Something actually reasonable in today’s hate pages (the Wall Street Journal’s opinion pages):

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-gops-mexico-derangement-1465254607?tesla=y

    “America’s neighbor isn’t a failed state or a threat—despite what Donald Trump says.”

    It’s behind a paywall, unfortunately, but a very decent and informative debunking of Trump’s hate and fear mongering about Mexico and Mexican immigrants. The facts simply aren’t on Trump’s side. Unfortunately, those who support Trump don’t care at all about facts. The reason they support Trump is because they feel aggrieved by “political correctness,” which to them means they can’t say the racist, uninformed, hypocritical things they want to say without incurring social repercussions in polite society. Since Donald Trump says these things reflexively without a second thought and does not ever face the same consequences for them that any normal American would (and should) face in their workplace, churches, or social circles for saying racist, fabricated things, they support him. Because he’s not “politically correct.” And they think that’s a good thing.

    When Church leaders like Dallin Oaks inveigh against “political correctness,” they are not seeking the ability to voice racist lies in polite society or decrying the civility that makes statements and opinions like Donald Trump’s anathema among decent human beings. Instead, they are lamenting that, in their opinion, elites in society are exerting pressure on opinion leaders not to call sin what it is — sin. So, for instance, the “political correctness” that Mormon leaders sometimes criticize would perhaps influence a politician or celebrity not to denounce adultery or certain kinds of fraud morally wrong.

    Guess what? This is *not* the kind of “political correctness” that Trump is crusading against. To the contrary, Trump is the prime example of the type of “political correctness” against which Mormon leaders sometimes preach. Every word he says shows that he is incapable of calling sin by its name or naming evil what it is. Sexual immorality, gambling, grinding the faces of the poor (his father’s fortune, which he inherited, was obtained through being a slum lord shaking down the most downtrodden for overdue rent — which is how Trump started out in the family business by making those visits and calls for his father), racism, blatant lies, persecution of the disabled, greed, ignorance — the list goes on and on of moral and social ills that Trump would never call out as sin or evil precisely because he embodies them precisely.

  59. pconnornc says:

    Contrary to the accusations and name calling, the good news is it sounds to me that people on this thread a) are not taking any choice lightly or on a whim, b) struggle to find a candidate they truly support and c) are trying to make the best decision they can.

    In that light, I hope we can respect one another enough to appreciate they are thoughtful and probably even prayerful in trying to make a decision. My guess is that at best we “hope” we are making a good choice and probably don’t “know”.

  60. John Mansfield says:

    Who would have thought in 2004 that only a dozen years later there would be a choice of candidates so much less palatable than Bush vs. Kerry? I hold with those who believe that more of the same but even worse with Clinton is preferable to a whole new level of public depravity with Trump, but that those are the options we’ve given ourselves leaves me feeling that the country is already lost regardless of which edges out the other.

  61. N.: As a strongman candidate and a socially intelligent demagogue (he makes Sarah Palin look like an 8th grade bully) I don’t imagine that Trump will have to endure any impeachment.

    Trond: I think the Brethren will have to blow a very strong wind at General Conference to draw that distinction. It wasn’t that long ago (around 60 years) that all of Utah, including Church leadership, felt the way that Trump’s supporters do, as they’ve reacted to rapid change.

  62. tbennion says:

    I am mystified by the “Trump is unfit, I must vote for Hillary” and the “Hillary is corrupt, I must vote for Trump.” Both of them are unfit for office. Trump’s myriad of odious character flaws doesn’t need repeating as it makes me depressed, angry, and frankly, still a little confused. But…

    Hillary’s record is abysmal, and since she is faring better in this discussion, I feel compelled to summarize. Ignoring her seemingly fortuitous ability to lose her law firm’s billing records when in private practice, she presided over a failed healthcare reform effort, while also publicly trashing any woman who dared to accuse her husband of cheating, much less abusing his authority and committing sexual harassment – and there were multiple such accusations. A regular feminist champion. She then went to the Senate where as a New York Senator she sat on committees overseeing the budget and the armed services just in time to vote for the Iraq War, which did damage to both. As a Senator from New York, she was a strident opponent of any attempts by the Bush administration to question or tighten lending standards in the 2005 time frame, questioning whether the administration had racist motives – the same loose lending standards that almost collapsed our financial system a few short years later. As a Secretary of State she presided over: the Russian “reset”, advocating the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi (there she is going to war again…), and of course Syria (…and again). Well done! This is ignoring the Clinton machines pay-to-play approach that has earned them something around $160 million since Bill left the White House (source Business Insider) getting paid to speak for people, companies, or foreign governments looking for favors from government (or the State department). The question has been asked many times, and it remains powerful because her advocates always struggle, what is Hillary Clinton’s greatest achievement? What makes her fit to be President?

    At the risk of using language that will get me blackballed by the administrators, you don’t have to eat a turd sandwich just because your other meal option looks inedible. We are a people who fast. I believe this would be a good November for a fast.

    I will vote libertarian this year for the first time. I have always consider the libertarian vote “wasted”, I don’t consider myself a libertarian – although I am sympathetic I have some profound disagreement with the more extreme views. And, I understand that voting is usually an exercise in selecting the lesser of two evils – it always has been in the 29 years since I got to voting age. But when an options are such that I can no longer imagine some day in the future having to justify to my daughters why I voted for such a foul and loathsome person, that is when it is time to vote libertarian (or whatever equivalent suits you). I cannot imagine having to explain why I voted for either of these two. My next choice would be to write in someone more qualified, and I believe I could come up with roughly 330 million options that would be more qualified than the two major candidate choices that we have.

    Good times.

    Side note, because the press focuses on the failed state aspect of the Libya decision, let me raise on more that doesn’t get its due. Hillary (with Sid Blumenthal…apparently…it’s hard to tell since Hillary created a system to hide her correspondence from Freedom of Information requests) led the charge to overthrow Gaddafi, the one dictator that had handed over his nuclear and chemical/biological programs to the US! Lesson learned, never, EVER, hand over your weapons of mass destruction programs to the Americans because then they can overthrow you. Instead, keep stockpiling! North Korea and Iran didn’t, and won’t, make that same mistake. Thank you Hillary.

  63. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    Hillary Clinton, in spite of her actions toward the women accusing her philandering husband, has worked to empower women during her hundred plus travels as secretary of state, made gender equality a priority of US foreign policy, created the position of ambassador at large for global women’s issues, and gave a memorable speech on women in China.
    Donald Trump respond to women by citing menstrual flow and failure to compare in physical looks to the women that married him for his money as reasons why they and their political causes should be ignored.
    In spite of the unsuccessful health-care initiative of the Clinton administration, she teamed with Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch as a White House insider to win approval of the SCHIP program which expanded health care to millions of lower income children.
    She is credited with bringing Russia, the European Union, and China together in sanctioning Iran, forcing Iran to the bargaining table.
    She had a role in the capture and execution of Osama Bin Laden. If you are blaming her for supporting the Iraq war, what about the Republican president who acted prematurely and with false information in charging into a regrettable war?
    I read her recent comment about Donald Trump not having the temperament to be president and thought to myself, ‘isn’t that obvious?’ I guess that isn’t.
    I would much rather have had Marco Rubio, but since we don’t have that choice, I am leaning towards taking my chances on supreme court Justices’ health being preserved for 4 more years than electing someone who is rash and divisive just because he can be.

  64. Going with Trump. I hate him and everything he stands for. But look who the Democrats have given us as their golden nominee. With two such terrible choices, I will hold my nose. Maybe whomever we choose can be impeached.

  65. Jared vdH says:

    Jeff, and if they’re impeached then their VP choice gets to become president. Yay?

  66. John P. says:

    That’s a great idea. I will chose who to vote for based on who the VP pick is, hoping that the main candidate will get impeached.

  67. As long as we’re spinning unprovable narratives about people we barely know, why not get in on the game?

    Y’all who are calling this a pivot point don’t convince me. I think you needed a reason to stay voting Republican, and you found it when Russell dropped the word “Amlici”. How dare he? I know what you mean!

  68. Lindsey Graham- Republican Senator from South Carolina said yesterday hoping to dissuade people from supporting Trump:

    “There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”

    I do hope that this is the case but I’m not holding my breath.

  69. Wilhelm says:

    As “a single-issue voter who is convinced that stopping further deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other international treaties that don’t put the interests of American workers over every other consideration” is the paramount issue in this election, its an enthusiastic Trump vote for this Utah Mormon.

  70. I believe many commenting here on the Democratic side have missed why Mormons are willing to vote Trump despite giving him a resounding defeat in the Rocky Mountain corridor. It is the Supreme Court and it is because causes important to the LDS world have been overturned by court decisions again and again in recent years. Twice the people of California voted against the legalization of gay marriage. According to the Constitution, power is reserved to the people. There was a forceful debate in both cases and the people chose. Not acceptable, those who lost proclaimed. If we cannot win a fair vote, we will overturn the decision in the courts. Will the current protections for religious freedom be overturned if Hillary Clinton gets to appoint any new justices? Will BYU get to maintain the restrictions its leaders have determined are important, restrictions on whether transgender students can pick which sex they wish to room with, which restroom they use, which locker room they shower in? Will people be able to speak freely in Church about how they feel about gay marriage? In San Francisco, one man was fired from his city job for what he said in Church on Sunday. Two more were forced to resign because they took the “wrong side” of the debate.
    I have come out of a stall in Barnes and Noble in the women’s restroom to find young man and his girlfriend smirking at me, daring me to complain. I have had to share the women’s dressing room at Macy’s with a man dressed as a woman trying on women’s clothing. The office buildings in big cities issued keys to the women’s rooms years ago because men were slipping into them and waiting to attack women who worked late. If a man dressed as a woman grabs the door behind you as you enter now, you are asking for a lawsuit if you don’t let him follow you into the restroom. For women in general, and especially women who have been sexually assaulted, these are difficult times.
    These are not imaginary situations, but real experiences the LDS members have been fighting in California for some time. But heaven help you if you complained. You were labelled a bigot. You were called out for public shaming.
    There are many more, detailed by Dallas Oakes, in the speeches he gives. President Obama has been leading the charge on these changes. People expect Clinton to do the same and activists to follow her lead in the courts. Mormons supporting Trump are not stupid people. They are trying to preserve the things that matter to them.

  71. David Elliott says:

    “Twice the people of California voted against gay marriage.” Yes, and three times the state legislature passed bills legalizing gay marriage, only to have them vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger, who said he thought the issue should be decided in the courts.

  72. David Elliott says:

    “I have come out of a stall in Barnes and Noble in the women’s rest room . . .” So what, pray tell, were YOU doing in the women’s rest room, Mark?

  73. Jared vdH says:

    David, perhaps Mark K is a person with two X chromosomes who identifies as male but believes that people should use the restroom based on their genetic makeup rather than their identified gender.

  74. Jared vdH says:

    Also, concerning the Supreme Court picks – there’s no guarantee who Trump would nominate should he have the opportunity to. The list he released isn’t full of strictly conservative judges and it’s not like he’s bound by that list anyway. He could easily just nominate another Anthony Kennedy or David Souter. It’s fairly evident that Trump himself is not a strict constitutionalist, why are you so certain that his nominees would be?

  75. PassTheChips says:

    Three words that should settle the debate.

    Commander in Chief

    I’ll take moderately corrupt, sometimes inept, and more often than not strategically deficient over looney any day.

  76. Mark K a nickname for Marthakay. I am a woman, which was of course clear from the comment I posted but obviously beyond the intelligence of those responding. Maybe David Elliott could get funding to help him cope with his mental disabilities, his inability to recognize anything not spelled out in capital letters for him.
    They might also teach him that power in the USA is reserved to the people, not the courts, not the legislature. And certainly not the opinion of one state’s governor. When any if these seek to overturn the expressed will of the people, we are suffering dictatorship. Thus the Trump revolution. Brought to us all thanks to the progressive liberals.

  77. In the US, the people, who hold the power, nevertheless cannot trample the rights of minorities through majority legislative tyranny. The independent federal courts are intentionally countermajoritarian precisely for this purpose. It is one of the checks and balances built into the framework of our government through the Constitution. Thus, even if the people of California decide to trample a minority group’s rights, federal courts are within their exact constitutionally prescribed role to strike down such legislation or even referendum outcome. (That federal courts can do this — strike down a referendum decision in which a majority tramples the rights of a minority — is part of what it means when the Constitution guarantees a republican form of government.)

  78. Quentin says:

    I, like most people, understand it is a risk to assume Donald Trump will appoint to any Supreme Court vacancy a constitutionalist. But with Hillary it is a sure thing that she will not. So most of us consider it worth the risk to try Trump.
    Of course Trump will make a terrible commander in chief. But it was Hillary who pushed Obama to get involved in Libya. The fault that country is broken and an ISIS stronghold can be laid squarely at her feet. She is a hawk on war. I do not want that.

  79. David Elliott says:

    Ah, yes, we all suffer from mental disabilities because we can’t recognize there’s a gender bending woman posting with the unambiguously male name of “Mark”. Also, you realize, don’t you, that as early as three years ago 61 percent of Californians supported gay marriage?

  80. Jared vdH says:

    Well, Marthakay, you were not outwardly stereo-typically female, so we went ahead and assumed you were a man using the womens’ restroom. Like many actual women who have been questioned inside and outside restrooms in North Carolina. Now you get to see what that feels like!

  81. Jared vdH says:

    Sorry, that was needlessly sarcastic and mean. I would delete the comment myself if I could, but I can’t. Mods, feel free to delete my comment on June 8, 2016 @ 12:10pm.

    Marthakay, my apologies for my hurtful comments.

  82. David Elliott, you obviously suffer not only a mental disability but a social disability called lack of good manners. I would blame your parents for not teaching you but it is obvious you were either raised by wolves or disowned at 18. No respectable parent would claim you. Anyone with any respect for others would apologize when proven wrong.
    One poll taken after the law was changed despite the expressed wishes of the voters of the state does not convince me. The issue was thoroughly debated twice. I live there and I assure you there were ads running all the time. Both sides had full opportunity to make their arguments. Some opponents of the proposition even stole signs off people’s yards and burned them on the lawn at a Mormon Church. Please explain to me how any of this represents democracy?
    People forced others out of their jobs because they gave money to a political election the progressives had decided was “the wrong side of history”. Others were threatened at their places of work. One man I know had people call his business repeatedly to harass his employees because he donated money. Since when does choosing to donate to a political proposition before the voters of the state cost you your job? Amazing how democracy is only supposed to be used to promote liberal causes, never conservative.
    Why do you think Dallin Oaks and Jeffrey Holland are spending so much time giving speeches about threats to religious freedom?
    We all will vote trying to make the best choice possible out of what I consider very poor choices. But do not try to tell me the issues I choose to base my decisions on are not as serious as those you chose to base yours on.
    And would all the liberals on this site stop telling themselves people are just making up excuses because they wanted to vote for Trump anyway. Spend some time reading National Review and see how thoroughly they have fought Trump.

  83. One of my favorite things about BCC is how rarely the comments devolve into name calling and insults. I’m sad that this comment thread has failed that.

  84. I too have not liked the fact this thread contains so much mockery of the opinions of others, ascribing reasons the writer just knows motivates someone else’s decisions (which of course are the exact opposite of the writer’s), followed by angry defenses. Name calling follows. Being mocked or misjudged or belittled stings; defense seems essential.
    I believe I may be older than most posting here so I wanted to bring up something I learned decades ago from a talk given by President Benson about the last days. He told us to read carefully the chapters in the Book of Mormon that immediately precede the appearance of Christ following his resurrection. He told us to look for why some people survived the destructions and lived to greet the Saviour at the temple. I followed his advice. While I am sure I missed much of value in those chapters, what stood out for me was the verse about becoming firmer and firmer in humility and not returning railing for railing. I have thought of it often in the decades since, not always successfully following it but knowing I want to be here to greet my Saviour if I am fortunate enough to live that long. So I apologize to David Elliot; railing for railing is wrong, unChristlike, a denial of our most important covenants.
    On a more personal note, I travelled to the countries that were once Yugoslavia immediately after one of the wars that broke it up. UN troops were just deploying in the streets and some cities still had snipers shooting people. As I met people and spoke to them about their war experiences, I was surprised to learn how they had not wanted this war. One war widow I met whose husband had died in the fighting told me about how they were a European country and had lived in peace for her entire life. She and her husband belonged to two of the groups that had just gone to war with each other. She was now living in the wrong country but needed her husband’s pension to survive, life as she knew it gone. Another young man, a schoolteacher, told me about being recruited to man a machine gun on a tall building in his city. He had no military training at all but found himself fighting just the same.
    At the end of one of his books, Orson Scott Card devoted a chapter to an essay about how polarized this country had become and how people will always take up arms if their neighbor begins shooting at them, the very message the people I met in Yugoslavia shared with me. The essay was a warning to look at the ways we are subverting our Constitution, the ways we are using the laws and courts and press and government mandates to control others. Civil discourse was disappearing. We are no longer willing to allow others to think differently. We must label them racist or bigot and drive them from the public square.
    As a senior citizen, I am frightened by what I see and hear. So many of the younger people do not know what freedoms we have lost. They grew up without them.

    No matter who wins this election, they will not be able to solve the problems we face. No one is willing to do the hard things that are required. The finger pointing and disrespect and using lawsuits and executive orders to force people to obey are now the only way we know to get things done. Admitting error, paying for our mistakes and sacrificing are foreign concepts.
    But, as Latter Day Saints, we are called to build a Zion people. Can we practice here?

  85. So many of the younger people do not know what freedoms we have lost. They grew up without them.

    I think we are freer now than in the 1950s and 1960s (pre-1968, which still remains the date for many in the baby boomer generation in which they identify the loss of the country to unsavory “liberals”). In the 1950s and 1960s, racial segregation was still the law of the land in many states, vigorously, vehemently defended by “conservatives” in society, including many Mormons whose racist views found a doctrinal basis in statements by Church leaders at the time speculating that people of African descent were racially inferior and deserved their lower social position because of choices they made to be “less valiant” in the preexistence.

    Segregation, anti-miscegenation, discrimination were in the air. Make no mistake, white Americans suffered as a result of this as well, not just African Americans, because it was a moral blight and stain on our society as a whole that made all of us less free, not just the African Americans who suffered most directly.

    Also, coverture was not abolished in some U.S. jurisdictions until the 1970s! Imagine that! Women were not considered legal and moral agents in their own right until such a late date. Instead, they were subordinates of their husbands. All of us were less free under such a system, not just the women who suffered most directly.

    The list goes on and on. These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg about the moral evils that society has been able to banish, but not without much strife and struggle against those who vociferously defended the status quo, often based on arguments grounded in their interpretation of religion, which religious requirements they wished to impose on their fellow citizens through the legislative process.

  86. Betty R says:

    Trond, even invitations to peace are wasted on you.
    You could have asked, what freedoms do you feel were lost. But no, why ask questions to learn from another. Why ever assume someone has something to teach you. Perhaps that is why we are commanded to become firmer in our humility, our teachableness.

  87. Betty or Mark,
    What freedoms, specifically, do you have in mind? I’m genuinely curious.

  88. Yes, please say what freedoms we’ve lost, what freedoms I grew up without (born in 1976).

  89. I work for the Defense Dept. If not for the e-mail issue with Clinton, I would vote for her. But if I did even a fraction of what she did with her e-mails, I would be fired. I can’t vote for her, and I won’t vote for Trump. I’ll just stay home.

  90. Mark K,

    All I would say is, I don’t condone people doing hurtful things–like harrassing people over the phone etc. But I would say this, whatever harrassment the supporters of Prop 8 suffered, it was small compared to the years of torment our LGBT sisters and brothers have suffered and continue to suffer. Why don’t we think about that?

    People can and do think differently. But we shouldn’t expect everyone to approve of what we think.

  91. Betty R says:

    One freedom lost comes immediately to mind, that of a community wide sabbath day. Before you object, let me explain.
    When I was a child, Sunday closing laws were still in effect in many places in the US. Of course a minimal police force, fire department and hospital staff still had to work. Pharmacies took turns opening, with the name and location of the one open that week published in the paper. But grocery stores, department stores, restaurants, theaters, factories, and places of entertainment were closed.
    Not everyone went to church. My family did not. My father owned a business that included animals so he always needed to go in for an hour or so to feed them. He would never have considered asking the employees to sacrifice their family time.
    Peace settled on our town every Sunday. Not quiet, but peace. Some went to church, some rested, some visited family, some practiced personal recreation such as fishing or taking a drive. But there was time set aside each week when families could be together if they chose. There was respect for that right, respect enforced by law for most all people, not just those rich enough to call the shots.
    There was a rythm to the week, a beginning and an end. It gave structure to people’s lives in a way that is missing now. I cannot stress enough the peace that came to our town, replaced now by a frantic scurrying to get more done, generate more income, crowd in more entertainment.
    There were no Moslems in our small city but there were Jews. Some closed their businesses on Friday evening. There was respect for that in the community.
    We have not lost that right, some might argue. But we have in reality. The government no longer dictates, but our employers do. Try to get Sunday off in many of our jobs now and see if you can stay employed there. For many workers, try to get Thanksgiving or Christmas off now. Even my friends who work in customer service in banking work either Christmas or Thanksgiving now because we all know how important it is to be able to check your bank balance on Christmas.
    Other employers now insist on employees coming in to finish projects or just to show they are devoted and worthy of promotion. I had an employer once who was outraged that I would not work on Sundays. “Was that an arrangement I had made with the boss before him?” He certainly was not obligated to honor it. We worked in the stock market, which is never open on Sunday, but he tried to force me to come in anyway.
    The Sunday closing laws did for workers what the original commandment was supposed to do; it protected them from economic exploitation. We have traded away government protection for company profit seeking. The freedoms associated with a sabbath day have been lost.

  92. If the loss of the Sabbath is a lost freedom, then American Mormons helped lose it by voting for people who think that the government has no business regulating commerce, except lightly against fraudulent activity. One freedom lost in trade to gain another.

    And frankly, our anxious and activist outlook also contributes to a sabbath without rest. Sundays are my most tiring days. From Church work.

  93. What makes people think Trump would pick conservatives for the Supreme Court? He’s been quite liberal. And you do know his current wife has posed for nude photos?
    If Utah and Idaho go for Trump, it will embarrass the Church. Aside from that, Trump’s temperament could get us into World War III.

  94. Jared vdH says:

    Betty R, What would you do for those who are not of the Christian faith, namely those of the Jewish and Islamic faiths who celebrate the Sabbath on Saturdays and Fridays respectively? Would they have the freedom to celebrate the Sabbath as they wish?

  95. Being Jewish was not much of a problem because most of the Jewish sabbath was still on the weekend, which many have off work. Being Muslim is more of a problem in the US because Friday is part of our normal work week. Also, the needs of Seventh Day Adventists, for whom a Saturday sabbath is a central tenet of faith, would need to be accomodated.
    I know the LDS Church modifies their sabbath to match the day of the country in which it is located. I also know this is not acceptable to many other faiths.
    I do not have the answers to what would I suggest doing for this problem. But I bet others could come up with suggestions that would mitigate some of the downsides of a lost sabbath day if not restore it to the way it once operated. Perhaps we could just start with a basic respect for the religious needs of others.
    As for church work turning the sabbath into an exhausting day of just other work, I agree it can be that if we let it. When I chose not to let it, I find I am happier. I also find that much of what is handed to me as essential church work is not really. Too often I become Martha, serving elaborate meals when Christ offers something designed to fill other needs. So I have learned to prune unessentials from my callings, fitting what I can give to my time and energy and reserving for myself what I need.
    I would love to hear the suggestions of others on how we might meet the sabbath needs of Moslems and Jews. But perhaps that discussion belongs on another thread.

  96. You want the government to pass a law prohibiting work on one religion’s sabbath day? That leads to less freedom, not more freedom.

  97. California law:

    “requires employers to accommodate religious beliefs and observances if reasonably possible without undue hardship. The undue hardship definition that applies to other types of discrimination, also applies to religious discrimination.”

    I worked in a hospital (not as a nurse) with the wife of a Seventh Day Adventist pastor. We were required to work rotating weekends. After a few years, the Seventh Day Adventist employee told our boss she could no longer work on Saturdays so that she could observe the Sabbath. Her request was granted. Being LDS, I considered doing the same, but ultimately decided I was observing the Sabbath by serving others. Hospitals don’t have the option of closing on the Sabbath.

  98. I’m back. Did you miss me? Anyway, Romney, to his credit is, standing firm upon–even increasing–his criticisms of Trump:

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/10/politics/mitt-romney-donald-trump-racism/

    It would, of course, from my perspective, have been better if Mitt had reached in and grabbed the populist flag which Trump is weakly flying and used his money and media-attention to attempt to steal it back in what I consider to be a proper populist-egalitarian direction. But that would have required Romney himself to have been a populist-egalitarian, and I doubt even HE could flip-flop that far. Still, since a Sanders endorsement was never in the cards, by talking up the Libertarian ticket, and doubling-down on Trump’s wink-wink-nod-nod racism and sexism, Romney is doing the next best thing—and maybe, simply in terms of practical political possibilities, the very best thing: he’s making it harder for Trump to count on winning certain parts of his electoral base…specifically, the part filled with thoroughly modern, civic-minded, conventionally conservative Mormons. Good for him!

  99. I missed you.

  100. What a great way to spend a churchless Sunday (give me a break, its Stake conf. today) reading about the evils of religion and democracy. Didn’t read through all of the posts, but of those I did peruse, I don’t think I heard anyone make note of the fact that Josh Earnest confirmed this week that the FBI investigation into Hillary is in fact a criminal investigation. I take it you all believe that the Obama appointed FBI director is part of the “vast right wing conspiracy”? Hillary or Trump, either way people, we’re not voting for our own personal Jesus. If we’re going to Make America Great Again, I think I’d prefer to attempt it with someone who is not under an FBI criminal investigation. Okay, so Trump said some stupid things about the judge in his Trump U case, innocent or not, its still a civil case and didn’t involve government bribery or top secret emails being left on a private server for the whole world to have access. If you want to attempt to make a moral equivalence argument between the two cases, just don’t. Because if you do, there are 4 dead Americans from Benghazi that would argue otherwise.