How Mormons Could Matter: The Machiavellian Case for Dumping Trump

There are lots of good reasons for Mormons to vote against Donald Trump in November. For one thing, he doesn’t seem to value the Mormon vote much. His recent Op-Ed in the Deseret News was just a cut-and-paste job from his standard stump speech with no attempt to consider how Mormons, or Utah voters, might see the world in unique ways. Unlike Hillary Clinton, he could not be bothered even to pay a staffer to get the Mormon stuff right.

Or there is the fact that Trump has built his campaign by stoking resentment towards both minority religion, as Mormons once were, and immigrants from Hispanic countries, who are quickly becoming the most important constituency in the International Church.

And let’s not forget that a Trump surrogate recently ridiculed Mormons by referring to the moderate pro-immigration stance that LDS leaders have taken as an instance of “moral incoherence.”

But I am not going to talk about any of that (well, except for the fact that I just talked about all of it,  but I’m done now). Instead, I want to talk about another reason that Mormon voters should reject Donald Trump and his brand of conservatism decisively. This is a purely self-interested, cynical, Machiavellian reason to vote for Hillary Clinton (or even a third-party candidate). If Trump is defeated in Utah, Mormons will actually start to matter in the world of politics.

Let me state as emphatically as I can that, since the 1960s, neither Mormons nor Utahns have mattered to either of the two major political parties. As the most reliably Republican state in the nation, Utah can be safely ignored by both Democrats, who know that they will never win no matter what they do, and by Republicans, who know that they will never lose. The only place they ever have to take us is for granted.

Even in other states with large Mormon populations, the Mormon vote itself is rarely at play. Everybody knows how we will vote. If there are issues of particular importance to Latter-day Saints, too bad. Being a safe bet means that nobody ever needs to care enough to impress you or worry about losing your affections. If Mormons want to be taken seriously in national conversations, our best bet is to move to Iowa and plant corn.

Compare this to the way that the Mormons in Nauvoo were initially treated. Both Whigs and Democrats courted the Mormon vote because both parties saw Mormons as ss a potentially powerful swing vote in the closely contested state of Illinois. Yeah, things turned ugly after a while, but at first Mormons were granted extraordinary powers in the Nauvoo Charter because, politically, they mattered. Their vote was up for grabs, which meant that everyone in Illinois politics had to try to grab it.

This is how voting blocks get treated when they are unpredictable—and when they regularly give their vote to different parties and points of view. It is not how Mormons get treated, in Utah or anywhere else. Until now.

The fact that some early Utah polls had Clinton ahead of Trump caught the attention of the entire political class. Both Democrats and Libertarians started campaigning heavily in Utah, and Republicans, worried that they might lose in the reddest state in the Union, had to follow suit. If this goes on for a few election cycles, people might start talking about “the Mormon vote” the way that they talk about “the Catholic vote” today: something contested, or at least contestable, that needs to be carefully cultivated and taken seriously. If Hillary Clinton becomes the first Democrat in three generations to win the presidential vote in Utah, both parties will have to re-examine their current electoral calculus, which for the last fifty years has been, “ignore Mormons and focus on swing voters.”

But wait, there’s more. This is not just the normal choice between a Republican and a Democrat (and a few third-party contenders who don’t really have a chance). Donald Trump is the most unqualified, outrageous, and fundamentally dangerous presidential candidate nominated by a major party in modern history. He stokes fears and resentments for fun and profit, and he thrives on pitting his supporters against other Americans.  As a Democrat myself, I fear a Trump presidency greatly, but I do not blame him or his supporters. Fish gotta swim, Trumps gotta Trump.

But if I were a Republican I would be furious at Trump and his supporters for wrecking the party. Trump has destroyed the Republican brand for a generation and dragged the Party of Lincoln into the bigoted, xenophobic, misogynistic sewer of his campaign, where it has been wallowing for more than a year. Many senior Republicans do feel this way, in fact, and in the (extraordinarily likely) event of a disastrous Trump loss that costs the GOP the Senate, the party that emerges from the ashes will not be kind to the forces that drove them into the fire.

So even if Mormons want to remain loyal Republicans—and despite my efforts I a pretty sure that most of them will—it is to their advantage to rebuff Trump the way that Mormon Republicans like Mitt Romney and Jeff Flake have already done. This will strengthen the position of the Mormon vote within the Republican party and sever the unfortunate association between Mormons and the Tea Party before the latter becomes partida non grata in the Republican world.

This is the time to make it happen. Mormons will never have a Republican candidate as obnoxious and hostile to our values as Donald Trump. The fact that Clinton is even close in Utah has made the state more politically important than it has been in my lifetime, but most of the chattering classes are betting that Mormons will turn back to Trump out of political loyalty and distaste for the alternatives. But what if we don’t? What if we actually go through with it and reject the devil we know precisely because he is a devil. We just might find that, by rejecting him, we start mattering–and that we could have mattered all along.

Comments

  1. I’m not sure if Hillary is really any better than trump on moral issues. But I do agree that the idea of trump as president is far worse than the idea of Hillary. In reality I’ll write in Ron Paul long before I vote for either of those two.

  2. No shade, but, Utahns/Mormons deserve Trump. They contributed plenty to the poison pie from which he has emerged. Trump is a walking persecution complex, and I know exactly who that reminds me of. Of the Mormons I have spoken with their biggest problem with Trump is the way he talks (cursing, bully, etc…). That is the thing that is least wrong with him!! The pervasive Hillary hate, and partisan politics will guarantee him UT. If I’m wrong, I will eat his hair.

  3. Red Black says:

    Ironically if the Democrats hadn’t nominated the most corrupt candidate since the 19th century, more LDS probably would have opted to vote Democrat. I most likely would have.

    What I have done, instead, is quit the Republican Party after 36 years. I’ll be voting for Johnson and any Liberterian candidate running against a Repubilcan who endorsed Trump.

    I’m heartened to see the schism within the Republican Party where many have refused to vote for Trump at all. On the other hand, it is disheartening that we don’t see a similar faction in the Democratic Party pushing back against such a blatantly dishonest and morally flawed candidate at the top of their ticket. The Democratic Party lost a chance this cycle to dislodge the Mormon vote by nominating a candidate so distrusted she actually gives Trump his best shot at winning the Presidency.

  4. I hate Trump. I hate Clinton. I’ll be voting 3rd party… haven’t decided which one yet.

    At this point though my hope is that Hilary wins the Presidency, but that the GOP holds both houses in Congress and that NOTHING happens until we can start over again in 2020. At this point I’d happily let the nation not exist than have either of those two buffoons in the White House.

    Anarchy 2016!

  5. Your last line was the best thing I’ve read on BCC in a decade. It would be nice to actually matter. I am a nevertrump, but haven’t decided whether i can bring myself to vote for Hillary. The 2 candidates are gemini twins. They created each other.

  6. Clark Goble says:

    Latest PPP poll has Trump up 15 in Utah

    http://www.sltrib.com/news/4270155-155/new-poll-shows-trump-holds-15-point

    I think it’s possible for Clinton to win here given the antipathy towards Trump. But Clinton is pretty hated. I made a joke on T&S that it was like a choice between Zika and Ebola. But maybe it’s more like TB and Ebola.

  7. Not to mention that if Trump shuts up, performs credibly in the debates, and captures some states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, he might actually make the race close enough that Utah could be the deciding state in the electoral college, even just with seven votes. If failure to capture Utah cost the GOP the presidency, then we would also matter. I like your reasoning.

  8. I’m a Republican and I feel sick at what Trump has done to the party. For my entire adult life I’ve spent my time explaining why conservative policies aren’t racist, sexist and so on. And here comes Trump and I realize that at least about 30-50% of the party are a bunch of racist, xenophobic, angry, morons. I’m definitely in the George Will, Bush, Mitt Romney camp wondering what happened to the party. I was going to leave, but I realized there needs to be at least one real conservative left in the party to rebuild it. (And I’m not talking about the smarmy, self interested way that Ted Cruz pretends he’s the only real conservative.) If Utah votes for somebody besides Trump it would be a rare bright spot in this crap fest of an election cycle.

  9. Yes, the Mormon vote has been such a sure thing for so long that it doesn’t count. It was true in the ’70s when I first became politically aware, and has only become more sure with every decade since.
    The problem in my neighborhood is “pervasive Hilary hate” (EOR’s words, my present reality). It’s just incredible. I hear completely un-nuanced hate speech about Clinton every time I turn around, and in the next breath rationalizations about Trump.
    My vote has never been uncertain (Clinton), but I’ve never thought it so important as I do this year.

  10. True Blue says:

    As an Australian member, I don’t understand the attraction of conservative politics. I think the post makes good sense.
    I also have trouble understanding the hatred of Hilary. Having read various articles, I still can not understand what she has actually done or said to deserve even rational condemnation. From the outside it looks as though there is no otherchoice but Clinton.
    Ihave wondered whether the series of articles on the newsroom about civic responsibility might be aimed at Trump http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/civil-society-engaging-differences

    I hope the Leaders can bring themselves to say something clear enoughthat it gets through to conservative members, in General Conference. If Trump is elected it will be a problem for the whole world not just the US?

  11. Aussie Mormon says:

    The church will almost certainly say the say thing they always say: Find the candidate that matches your values and vote for them.
    If I was there I’m honestly not sure who I’d vote for. Both candidates are too far away (in different directions) from where I’d like them to be, and I’m not sure I could go greens or libertarian.
    If I was forced to choose between the Don, and Hillary, it’d be Hillary, purely because as a former secretary of state, I imagine that she’s less likely to say something stupid and offend an entire region of the world.

  12. As I’ve said before, I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton. I dislike political dynasties and as a New Yorker, I really hated the way the party just handed her the nomination for a Senate seat. But this idea that there is some kind of moral equivalency between her and the Republican nominee is just pure fantasy. She’s a politician like those we’ve had for decades. He’s a whole new level of disaster. It’s not even close.

  13. Bernie put up a pretty good fight, butt I think we all knew a long time ago that Clinton would be the nominee. I thought that this might actually be the election where I would vote Republican, and had they put up a Romney or Kasich, I probably would have (not that it would have mattered since, as a New Yorker, our electoral votes were always going to Hillary anyway). But they go and pick Trump. Unbelievable. I guess I’ll have to wait for another election to build my moderate cred.

  14. KevinF,

    Not to mention that if Trump shuts up, performs credibly in the debates, and captures some states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, he might actually make the race close enough that Utah could be the deciding state in the electoral college, even just with seven votes. If failure to capture Utah cost the GOP the presidency, then we would also matter.

    Yep. That was my argument, and I think it still stands.

  15. As a Utahn long since resigned to having my vote not matter above the local level (where the races are nonpartisan), I hope that this election brings the shake-up you’re talking about. I kind of doubt that it will, but I still hope.

  16. Last Lemming says:

    I generally agree with the premise of the OP–it would be great if the Mormon vote were seen as being up for grabs. But the Utah vote is still a long way from mattering. RealClearPolitics has Hillary winning a majority of the electoral college now without Florida or Ohio, which are still rated toss-ups. The likelihood that states leaning blue would shift toward Trump at the same time that Utah shifts toward Clinton is miniscule. Furthermore, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin are Clinton’s most marginal states and if she loses even one of them (and all of the toss-ups), Utah could not save her.

  17. Tired and broke saint says:

    Yes, EOR, precisely! And the thing is comparing Clinton’s ordinary political sausage grinding to the pervasive immorality of Trump and coming up with an equivalency is a deliberate choice. This is a man who has raised all the campaign expenses — which he pays to HIMSELF — 5 times since he started collecting campaign funds from others. He is BILKING his contributors while pointing a finger at someone else!

    Has no one in UT ever read their kids the Aesop’s fable of the scorpion and the frog?

    Russell Arben Fox and kevinf, respectfully, have you read any polls at all in this election cycle?

    Here is the result of Nate Silver’s aggregate of polls showing Trump with a 23% chance of winning in the most conservative interpretation possible. http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/?ex_cid=rrpromo#plus Here is Real Clear Politics election map showing Clinton with 272 likely electoral votes even without the “battle ground” electoral votes of Ohio or Florida where Trump is presently trailing badly. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/2016_elections_electoral_college_map.html Five Thirty Eight presently has Clinton up a steady 5-6% in the popular vote depending on whether you choose the most conservative or most generous analysis.

    Romney chose to ignore the polls and was blindsided by his defeat. However much you’re committed to keeping a positive outlook, overlooking reality isn’t helpful as Mitt might tell you now.

  18. I don’t know if Machiavelli would approve, but some are considering voting for Trump as a way to send a message that “politics as usual” is no longer desired, giving both parties the opportunity to do better in 2020.

    Then there are those who can’t decide which would bring the Second Coming faster . . .

  19. As a member living in Ohio, all I can say is ‘be careful what you wish for.’ Being in a perpetual battleground state is tiresome. Political adds dominate the airwaves starting in the summer. By September, they account for nearly all the ad space. I would happily trade you wasatch-fronters for your billboards for plastic surgery and boats. Thank heavens for Netflix and Podcasts.

  20. Mitt Romney crafted a bipartisan health plan that worked wonderfully in Massachusetts. It almost destroyed his political career.

    The Clintons brought less expensive HIV treatment to 9 million people, saved countless lives, and raised 71 billion in CGI pledges. Their efforts may cost Hillary the presidency.

    We live in a surreal world where actual accomplishment is punished while insults and bluster are rewarded. If you achieve something for the world, your achievement will be flawed, and smaller souls will attack those flaws. You’ll have to be defensive, awkward, apologetic. If you do nothing but throw stones from afar, you often wind up in a safer place.

    If Mormons were to actually back Hillary (despite policy disagreements) it would be a sign that we value courage and substance over bluster and insult. Regardless of whether one wants politicians explicitly courting the “Mormon vote” every season (and I don’t think I do) this is a good statement to make.

  21. Tired and Broke,

    respectfully, have you read any polls at all in this election cycle?

    Respectfully, I wrote the post I linked to above back in June, which must of the recent haplessness and confusion in the Trump campaign could have been predicted, but wasn’t a reality yet. Still, yes, I have and do continue to read polls. I also follow the news about Clinton’s unpopularity, and I’m conscious of the fact that 1) Nate Silver’s own predictions regarding the Trump candidacy way back at the beginning of the primaries turned out to be wildly incorrect (of course, so did everyone else’s as well), and 2) it isn’t even September yet. Overall though, you’re surely correct; there is a very real chance that Clinton will win this November is a 1984, Reagan-over-Mondale-level landslide, in which case Utah’s electoral college votes would just be icing on a cake.

  22. This is rich, someone who can support Hillary complaining about Trump. I’ll take his words against 30 years of Hillary’s deeds.

    Trump has not destroyed the Republican Party. Politicians have destroyed it…and the Democratic as well. Neither party has done well by its constituents.

    Politicians are politicians; power hungry, self centered, lying, pandering parasites. They are not our servants. And anyone that believe differently is extremely naive.

    So Mr. Democrat, you are every bit as misled and decieved as the poor Republicans. Moral self-superiority will not improve our country, and that’s what your article was.

  23. This matters because there is no national election. If Mormons in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and other battleground states do not vote for Trump, they could tip the election.

    This is not something that would ever be picked up in exit polling, because Mormons are such a minority of the electorate in such places. But the margins in those places is likely to be very thin whichever direction ends up winning. Our little bit of salt can make a huge difference there, and thus in the final tally.

    A lot of Mormons outside the intermountain west read DesNews for church news, and I got the impression that was one of the targets for Clinton’s excellent piece (have not read Trump’s).

    Utah’s tiny number of electoral college votes do not matter near as much as the decisions of Mormons who live in contested states.

  24. TC, I’d vote for you.

    Finally, someone who says something true. ;)

  25. adeviousmind:

    Hillary Clinton is not a three-time accused rapist. She may have made some boneheaded decisions regarding her emails, but how on earth does that compare with anything Trump is?

  26. Both parties have betrayed us all and put forward criminals as candidates. I’m not a huge fan of Obama’s policies or (especially) his camera-hamming quest for cameos and celebrity, but at least he seems like a decent person. At what point does “choosing the lesser of two evils” become a third, even greater evil?

  27. I recall sitting in a Zone Conference on my mission with a visiting Area Authority. He was speaking on the importance of reading your scriptures, and the necessity of knowing them for the rest of our lives. He said that we wouldn’t have time to study them when we were Bishops or Stake Presidents.

    He then paused, and remarked that it would be especially necessary to know our scriptures when we became Stake Presidents because at the Second Coming the Stake Presidents would be responsible for the temporal affairs of the Earth. “Because, and I don’t want to offend anyone here, but there won’t be very many politicians left at that point.”

    The real fear to me isn’t that we have bad candidates — a healthy nation can survive four years of bad leadership from either side of the aisle. The real fear is that we have the candidates that we desire and deserve, which is indicative of a substantial moral decay at the heart of our society on both sides of the aisle. That is a more serious issue to be than the issue of which dishonest individual happens to take control of the levers of government.

  28. MikeInWeHo says:

    “I made a joke on T&S that it was like a choice between Zika and Ebola.”

    So Trump must be Zika. From the look of his rallies, there is a correlation between his presence and an terrifying increase in microcephaly.

  29. Tired and broke saint says:

    Thank you for that belly laugh, Mike!

  30. I’m not sure how knowing your scriptures helps keep the power on or provide clean water to the masses, but a mission president said it so who am I to question it?

  31. Lucky for me, I’m a woman. I don’t have to worry about being a Bishop or a Stake President so I’ll have lots of time to read my scriptures during the apocalypse.

  32. One year ago everybody knew it would be Hillary as the Democratic Nominee. One year ago the smart money was on Jeb Bush – even Romney was scared of losing a third time at the hands of Jeb Bush. Trump was a joke and I think even he didn’t know the vein he’d strike. The other club members (candidates) weren’t smart enough to see it – they laughed him off and he doubled down on the rhetoric and devoured them. Fast forward one year – Hillary is the Democratic Nominee – as predicted (the wikileaks show how orchestrated that was) but there has been nothing short of a civil war on the Republican side with Trump garnering more votes – from real people – than any other candidate in history. He took all-comers down – decidedly and fairly. Everybody laughed him off as a joke. He has waged a brilliant campaign with a fraction of the staff and money – he’s no joke. He’s brash, narcissistic, unpolished, off-the-cuff and anti-establishment. He owes no favors and he has everybody scared – even republican, white-bread, Title of Liberty-carrying Mormons (who all know Trump is pro gay and same sex-marriage and employs women who are given actual authority within his organizations). Given the liberal bent of this board I would have thought that most of you would be jumping with glee at the prospects of such a disrupter. Guess what? Trump is exactly what this country needs now and most of you are so offended that he doesn’t check off every box that you are blind to see what a crazy, unforeseen and momentous time this really is. Go to the Trump website and actually read his positions. As to your Jello Corridor delusions that church members and Utah’s massive haul of electoral college votes will swing the election – well, just get back to debating the things you are really good at like women and the priesthood, same sex sealings and the BYU Honor code – oh wait – your hang-wringing there doesn’t have an effect either – my bad.

  33. “your hang-wringing [sic] there doesn’t have an effect either – my bad”

    Turns out it does. Are you aware of the ongoing results of BCC’s breaking the story about the conflict between Title IX and HCO? Among other things? You’re right. Your bad.

  34. Sorry for the typo Anon. and you’re correct. My apologies to you and whatever “Deepthroat” revealed the conflict between the Title IX and the HCO to BCC (I’m thinking these were clandestine, late night meetings in the vacant JDawgs parking lot). Keep up the great investigative reporting – the world is waiting. And hey, I did credit the collective “you” in acknowledging the things you’re good at debating.

  35. Eventually you live long enough to witness your extremely young second mission president reveal his whacko side for all the world to see on Facebook and you realize how right you were to be highly skeptical of his methods even back then.

    Mission President worship is almost as bad as the idolatry we’re warned about in the 10 commandments. Beware the false gods you worship whether they be politicians or plutocrats (not sure there’s a difference today in presidential politics).

  36. Until those last poll results, I was thinking Utah could actually go to Hilary. Personally, I’m astonished at how much hate she attracts from Christians and Mormons. I don’t like her and don’t want to vote for her, but her Benghazi and email scandals just don’t seem sufficient for the outright hate. It’s very easy for me to explain why I would never vote for Trump. He’s verbally threatened to violate the 1st Amendment, both freedom of religion and freedom of the press. He’s demonstrated an ignorance of and disrespect of the rule of law (even going so far as to advocate bombing the families of terrorists). He has no affinity for either the truth or reality (not sure which) in saying things which can easily be proven untrue with simple Google searches. He enjoys attacking minorities, both ethnic and religious. He’s made claims, both to his business prowess and charitable contributions (to veterans) which I think will be proven untrue, should he ever release his taxes. He’s threatened to drop NATO, be buddies with Putin, bully Mexico, and essentially alienate every foreign friend the US still has. He doesn’t feel answerable to God and his personal life repels me. But probably most importantly, given the president’s virtually unchecked power with respect to foreign policy and the use of military force, Trump’s demeanor and character seem to make him as serious a long term national security risk as probably anything in my lifetime. Consequently, I will not vote for him and cannot understand how anyone else will. But I don’t hate him.

    I’d love to see the list Hilary’s detractors have about her. Most of what I’ve seen is invective, and it doesn’t help me understand why she is so hated. I’ve seen rage from the left that I’ve felt was excessive and irrational (eg., from feminists about dress codes in schools, black lives matter protestors, etc.), but those on the left generally claim they’ve been hurt personally in some way. I’m not sure how the right feels Clinton has hurt them personally, but the rage is still there.

    I hope that even if Trump wins UT, it’s at least very close. I want the Mormon vote to matter.

  37. Diane Kunz says:

    I live in Utah and found all three parties sudden attempts to appeal to Mormons deeply offensive. Since when have either Trump or Clinton cared about religious liberty or other Mormon concerns? I found Hillary’s quoting of one of our women’s leaders particularly rich. We all know these appeals are simply politics. No one here expects any of the parties to actually respect or act on any concerns important to Mormons as a group if they are elected. They see us as rubes who can be easily manipulated.
    But appealing for the Mormon vote in this way reminds me of an election that took place in Utah about 40 years ago. All the candidate advertised about himself was his family and his church positions. He was scorned and roundly defeated. People here are not as stupid as others see them.
    People here may end up going for Trump, but that is mainly because they fear Hillary’s positions on abortions, limiting religious rights when they conflict with LGBT policies, and other currect hot button issues important to Mormons. They certainly did not choose Trump; they were the strongest Primary force against him.
    But they also will not be manipulated into voting for Hillary with such a transparent ploy as appealing to their desire to be important on the national stage.
    Come up with a better argument.

  38. Goodness. The lack of any sort of political knowledge/insight in some of these comments is scandalizing and disheartening. Trump has run a brilliant campaign? I clutched my pearls so hard. Also any and all mention of Trump and Clinton as if their respective “sins” were even comparable would be laughable if it weren’t so concerning.

    The country doesn’t have to just weather 4 years. Whoever becomes POTUS will be picking at least 2, if not 3 justices to SCOTUS which is a lifetime appointment. The arch of this nation’s history will be changed for a generation or more. Changed for the better (Hillary) or changed for the nuclear worse (Trump).

  39. Does anyone remember the Old Testament story where a man set fire to the fields in order to get the attention of people who were no longer listening? I think that is what many of the Trump voters are doing. And quite frankly I do not blame them. Their concerns have been pushed aside too long. Candidates rush to Hollywood and Silicon Valley to raise cash, catering to the mindless acting community who wish to think their ability to memorize lines and look good half dressed gives them astute thoughts and to the tech wizards who believe they have found the Holy Grail of running an economy that includes industries totally different from theirs. Real concerns of coal miners, manufacturers having to compete in a global economy and people who did not excel academically but still wish to work and support families in America are ignored or passed over with platitudes and promises of expanding green jobs. Then Trump arrives and actually addresses their concerns. Is it any wonder they believed?
    I personally feel Trump is mentally ill, suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Thinking about that scares me beyond belief.
    But I shudder to imagine the horrible choices Hillary Clinton will offer us for Supreme Court justices. How could someone who has made a career out of lining her pockets with speech money and treating rules as something that other people need to obey be trusted to pick people who will safeguard our constitution? And she either is hopelessly naive about why people were willing to donate to the Clinton Foundation or she and Bill are corrupt. Neither speaks well of the qualufications for the Presidency.

  40. Not Drinking the Cool Aid says:

    MAllen,

    For the nearly half century I’ve been alive, I could never understand how the German people allowed Hitler to rise to/assume power. But the MAllens of America have made it abundantly clear to me how it happened. You’re right, Trump took down all comers decidedly and fairly, by stirring up fear and hatred of foreigners and a religious minority. Fortunately for the Mexicans, their border is close by or they would have to join the Muslims in their Trump ghetto way-stations before being shipped off to the concentration camps. I suppose you’ll be handing out the green crescent patches when the pogroms start. “Make Germany, errr, America great again! Sieg heil to Trump’s Final Solution.”

    And no, I’m not a Hillary loving leftist. I simply took seriously my oath to defend the Constitution and the country from all enemies foreign and domestic when I enlisted. If Trump spent more time reading the Constitution than his ghost-written books, at least he wouldn’t sound like such an arse when addressing the powers of the presidency. I always thought the Oscars were an embarrassing display of public ego masturbation, but at least those are only one night and I don’t have to watch them. But Trump’s has been on display for a year already and the thought that I’d have to endure it until Trump goaded someone into turning DC into a glowing slag heap (probably one of our allies just to shut him up) if he won the election…

  41. As someone who is thinking about voting Trump in order to light fields on fire, i totally understand the feelings of powerlessness. Rationally I know this is not the best course. But sometimes it seems the only course.Amazing what a legacy globalization and financial fraud have given us. Amazing what intellectual pride and political correctness led to.

  42. EOR,
    It is the thought of the Supreme Court that is convincing many Mormons to hold their noses and vote for Trump.
    You might also stop labelling people who disagree with you politically. It causes them to dig in and fight harder to oppose you. Why do you think the Church keeps telling us to disagree without being disagreeable.
    But you made one convert. I was going to sit this one out. You convinced me to vote Trump.

  43. Glad we could scandalize you EOR. You can always tell people who are living in a bubble of people just like them when they actually have to confront opinions they disagree with. Scandalized!

  44. anon nona says:

    You Trump haters better get your heads out of your arses. If Clinton wins, America as we know it is finished. Clinton is a flaming Communist. She has stated the Constitution must be changed, she will abolish the 2nd Amendment. Communism is antithesis to the Gospel. Her heros are Karl Marx, Mao, Alinsky. She was fired from the Watergate investigation for lying, hiding files, stealing files, hiding evidence that would help the Defense, and trying to deny Due Process to the defendants. That is when she went Democrat Communist.

    She had sold us out to corrupt dictators of countries that kill gays and deny any rights to women, rape the defenseless and torture animals and people. Clinton Foundation is a pay for play operation , especially when she was SOS – very unethical and illegal. She sold, to a Russian company, illegally, 20 percent of the raw Uranium in the United States and personally pocketed the $145 million for the Uranium. The Clinton Foundation gives less than 4 percent to charity. She raped Haiti of its gold and other natural resources and her brother mafe millions from the Haitian gold. The Haitian people hate her and her family and their minions. Her biggest donor and personal friend, as well as Obama’s, is a Nazi and Jew killer George Soros. Soros is an International criminal and has caused many wars, bankrupted nations, controls Clinton and Obama, influenced the Supreme Court illegally, and works for the downfall of the United States.

    Clinton helped cover up her husband’s rapes and sexual assaults. She harassed the women who were raped by Bill Clinton. She called the families of the dead from Benghazi Liars! She lies about everything – private email server, not having classified information, wiping the server clean, did not turn over all emails, and the list is long.

    If you people would bother to investigate you would find Clinton is the real racist and hates America. The body count in her wake is up to 79 dead people.

    Where is the proof Trump is a three time rapist?

    The real bullies are the leftist regressive and social injustice wimps. Trump has a right to fight back. Political Correctness is a tool to stifle free speech, a Communist tactict.

    Obviously everyone on this site listens to the lying mainstream Pravda media. Very disturbing that so many church members are Communists.

    Educate yourselves and quit being willfully ignorant to what is really going on in this presidential election. Quit your fake moral preening.

  45. And yet, nobody seems to be able to legally nail her for anything on that list. It doesn’t get much more amazing than that.

  46. Karen Moyle says:

    We still need to consider the Supreme Court: HRC is no choice for me for many reasons. I’ll vote Trump & Pence and do a lot of praying.

  47. Jackie, your faux outrage is darling. You were always going to vote for Trump. A comment on a blog post doesn’t make you do anything. But if you need something to make you sleep better at night over voting for a racist, xenophobic, misogynistic child then you go right ahead.

    I won’t go so far as to say that people who vote for Trump are racists, but I will say that they don’t mind racism. For this reason and this reason alone people (and Mormons should be on the forefront of this) should reject Trump.

  48. “And yet, nobody seems to be able to legally nail her for anything on that list.”

    Nice try, Mark N, but why be calm and rational when we can run around like Chicken Little, screaming that we can make America great again.

    Karen Moyal, I have yet to see any evidence that Trump is actually politically conservative, or any proof that he would appoint conservative Supreme Court justices. His policy positions are confusing and contradictory, and from everything we’ve seen he’s more likely to sell out to the highest bidder than make political decisions based on identifiable ideology. Aren’t you concerned about his ties with Russia and white supremacist organizations? Aren’t you concerned about his lack of understanding of the constitution and his repeated disregard for the First Amendment?

  49. I take pride in the fact that “Mormons of record” (2% of US population) and “Trump primary voters” (4% of US population) have very little overlap.

    If this changes… if a million Mormons turn out and vote Trump in the general, that will be heartbreaking to me. To be clear, I don’t like mixing religion and politics, or painting quibbles over tax rates and land use policies as good versus evil morality plays. But being Mormon means standing for something, and being Trump too often means standing for the opposite.

    I know the argument: “He is a delusional and possibly dangerous megalomaniac, but there is a 10% chance he will appoint a pro-life justice, and a 0% chance Clinton will do the same.” But I would say that even if 10% is about right (might be high given Trump’s unpredictability, his pro-choice past, and the fact that reliably pro-life judges are hard to find/identify and even harder to confirm) the chance of a Roe v. Wade overturn — and criminalization of abortion — is close to zero. And there are many other things at stake. We can vote for Johnson or McMullin if we can’t stomach Hillary. There are principled ways to protest. But let’s not merge team Trump and team Mormon. That’s not who we are.

  50. EOR.
    glad you can read minds now.
    I was never going to vote Trump. I was not going to vote at all. Hard to vote when you are not registered. Oh, does that disturb your mind reading record? You who know so much. But, yes a blog post can change one’s mind. Thanks. I know now why Trump would be the better choice. I know now why I need to register and vote for someone who will put a stop to all this political correctness. The Democrats have been in office long enough. They have come to feel if you just label someone–racist, xenophobe– they will be frightened into silence. No thanks.

  51. To EOR, many of us do not believe Hillary would make better Supreme Court justice nominations than Trump. And it is for that reason, we support Trump. We do care about the arc of history. We do not approve of the direction we feel Hillary will push it.
    As for weighing their sins, have you considered that we might consider the Clintons to be high stakes con artists who have spent their lives enriching themselves at the expense of the nation’s good. To leave the White House basically broke, as Hillary said they did, and to be worth what they are now a mere 16 years later is an amazing accomplishment. Too amazing.

  52. This campaign bumper sticker says it all: **********2016**********
    We’re Screwed

  53. Clark Goble says:

    MAllen One year ago everybody knew it would be Hillary as the Democratic Nominee.

    A scandal that no one has really been talking about is how well prior to the primaries HRC basically had ensured no one really ran against her. This isn’t healthy for the party and was HRC ensuring nothing like 2008 would happen again. That there was a lot of Democratic angst about HRC showed with the rise of Sanders who frankly wasn’t a good candidate. (And yes I know there was Webb and a few others who weren’t really serious candidates) Had there been some real challenge to Clinton I suspect she’d have lost the nomination.

    While the GOP nomination process was a dumpster fire at least there was competition. We can blame the GOP primary voters for our mess. With HRC voters weren’t really even given a choice due to backroom deals. I recognize that this happens on the GOP side sometimes. Arguably Romney did something similar, although in practice Romney still faced numerous challengers in ’12. So it really was quite different in degree.

  54. Anon Nona
    “Educate yourselves and quit being willfully ignorant to what is really going on in this presidential election.”

    I took your recommendation to heart. I looked at several of your claims. There are websites who actually do factchecking. Factcheck, Snopes and politifact blew major holes in many of your claims.

  55. Still Not Drinking the Cool Aid says:

    Jackie: I’m a conservative, and when I’m not feeling too betrayed by the party, I’m a Republican and I think Trump is either a xenophobe/racist or is willing to fan those flames (which makes him the same). That’s based on his own statements, not the MSM’s pablum.

    Wilson: I feel ya. I was leaning the same direction, but Christ said you will know a person by their fruits and Trump has consistently surrounded himself by persons of questionable ethics. There is NOTHING to indicate that his SC nominations will be anything other than self-serving. Trump himself is a liberal on social issues and a “libertine” in his personal life, so based on his “fruits” I refuse to be held hostage by the argument that Trump’s nominations will be better than Hillary’s.

    Bro B: Amen. (May we have a moment of silence for the self destruction we have wrought).

    The best way to win a war is to control both sides. You’re fooling yourselves if you think that either of the two major candidates isn’t part of the same self-enriching, entitled cabal.

    I’m #NEVERTRUMP #NEVERHILLARY. I’ll vote 3rd party or a write-in. If we’re screwed either way, neither the corrupt nor the crazy can claim my vote.

    I enjoyed the OP, though I shudder at the thought of the Mormons being a targeted voting bloc again. That’s never worked out well for us. Besides, anytime you mix politics and religion, politics wins.

  56. I would hope that the primarily upper-middle class Mormons in my ward are not a simple, knee-jerk, “voting bloc.” But the only ones I talk politics with share my Independent/liberal bent.

    Most important to my comment: I am with Morgan D: “I realize that at least about 30-50% of the party are a bunch of racist, xenophobic, angry, morons.”

    I keep watching for one of the talking heads on one of the 3 “cable news” channels to finally state this obvious core truth. “We” are getting the candidates (in Trump and to an only slightly lesser extent in Clinton) that “we deserve.” Too few voters (and those that don’t vote are even more clueless) use any rational or critical thinking or pay attention to any sources of credible information with regard to the issues and the candidates. They are, by and large, no more thoughtful than vapid soccer/football/celebrity fans.

    Next I would like to see, but this is so much less likely due to its treasonous nature, is for someone with visibility to place a huge part of the blame for this Trump debacle on the media. They are so ravenous for ratings they replay ALL of Trump’s ridiculous blather and then discuss it for hours–every day! The aforementioned vapid “fans” revel in that, even though it is overwhelmingly derisive of their candidate. And, he has openly admitted that this free attention is his strategy–saves him money on buying TV ad time.

    But, due to how the winner in each state (electoral votes) is determined, we all must go vote so as to reduce the percentage this embarrassment of a candidate gets–even though that helps Clinton.

  57. Supreme Court worries are a bit overstated, because when Clinton is elected, the first thing that happens the week after the election is that the lame-duck Senate will finally do their job and confirm Merrick Garland, an excellent jurist and good guy who Republicans have thoroughly approved of in the past, and would have already confirmed if he hadn’t been nominated by Pres. Obama, who they feel a need to say NO to at any opportunity.

  58. Last Lemming says:

    A scandal that no one has really been talking about is how well prior to the primaries HRC basically had ensured no one really ran against her.

    This is no more a scandal than swimmers switching to water polo because they know they will never beat Michael Phelps. Politicians have no interest in leveling the playing field–they want to win, and Hillary was just better at it this time than she was in 2008.

  59. it's a series of tubes says:

    Few topics elicit more heat and less light than these political ones.

  60. Clark Goble says:

    Last Lemming, we have to distinguish between the party and the politician. What’s good for the politician is often not good for the party. You can definitely see that with the GOP. I just think that what happened with the GOP has obscured what’s happened with the Democratic Party. I suspect over the next few years they will come to realize this.

    Naismith, I agree completely although it’s fair to worry that there will be other appointments over the next four years. Further Republicans are somewhat justified in noting the difference between Scalia and Garland. Had the GOP primary voters not nominated Trump we might instead be looking at Rubio appointing someone more in line with Scalia instead of Garland. To be fair to Trump supporters, while Trump would be a disaster overall as President, I’m sure if he won he’d appoint someone better than Garland that first few months.

  61. I am Mormon and will be voting for Trump. I agree with the Tancredo piece linked to above that argues that not allowing Muslims that believe in Sharia to immigrate to the United States is not a threat to religious freedom. Anywhere that Sharia Muslims are in control, there is no religious liberty. If I preach that true believers should take away your liberty, there is nothing wrong with prohibiting my preaching. Religious liberty has limits. Further, the Constitution does not prohibit the government from discriminating among prospective immigrants because of their religious beliefs.

  62. I’m a Mormon for Hillary. And I’m not going play the “lesser of two evils” game with everyone else on this thread. Hillary is awesome. There, I’ve said it.

    At every stage of her unusual life she has played a controversial character: ambitious lawyer, working mother, health care visionary, wronged spouse, paid speech-giver, senator, secretary of state, philanthropist. Legions of haters and fans from day one.

    But tune out the noise and you find a decent, disciplined, competent person who’s put up with a ton of nonsense and done a ton of good. Hillary versus Trump? Not a close call.

  63. Muslims make up around 2% of the US population. Voting age Muslims number less than that. Muslims that would want Sharia law implemented number even less. I’m not a fan of Sharia law – I get enough of that along the I-15 corridor – but there’s no chance that Sharia law would become the law of the land.

    I also recently lived the better part of a decade in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, working daily with conservative Muslims. As a practicing Mormon, I was more respected there for my beliefs than I am in the United States. I was open about my religion. I spoke about it frequently. And I had muslim friends who told me that my Mormon behaviors made me a better Muslim than them. In the off chance that political instability rocked the kingdom, I trusted in my Muslim friends to protect my family.

    Arab Muslims are strongly family oriented with a deep respect for their forebears and an abiding love for their sons and daughters.

    Most of what I hear in the United States about Muslims comes from people with something to gain from fear mongering or from those without direct experience – which is a shame. I’m glad some of my non-Mormon American friends look past popular memes of Mormons and see me for who I am and not for what those with an agenda say I am.

  64. Jim, my primary concern isn’t about Muslims voting for Sharia. My primary concern is their enforcing Sharia extrajudicially or harboring those who do. The Brussels airport bombers were able to avoid arrest for over a month before being captured because there were so many sympathizers in the population.

    So you lived in Saudi Arabia and liked it. But you weren’t allowed to bring the Bible or any other non-Muslim scripture into the country. Any attempt at proselytizing would have been punished with imprisonment or death. Your wife had to wear the abaya when she was in public and was not allowed to drive. You were lucky that the Saudis approved of your religion and lifestyle choices. Also you were lucky that you were a foreign visitor and not a citizen. If you had been a Saudi Mormon, they would have executed you for apostasy. Did you spend years there without ever having a run-in with the muttaween?

  65. Tired and broke saint says:

    Thought Hillary’s speech today breaking down Trump’s racism and bigotry was amazing. She’s got more cojones than he has in addition to having more character, discipline, experience and native ability.

    Trump is the reincarnation of PT Barnum by way of the Third Reich’s Final Solution. I Can Not Fathom how people manage to refuse to see that. I think it has to be a deliberate choice.

  66. Zeezrom, I’m concerned about anyone acting extrajudicially, particularly American Presidents, not just extremists. And your point about having a sufficient center of gravity of sympathizers for terrorists is valid. But my point is that Mr. Trump has NOT had a consistently balanced conversation with regards to Muslim immigration. In my international travels, I’ve come across a number of people who did not differentiate between Warren Jeffs’ Mormonism and my own. I’m not going to repeat the same mistake against Muslims. The VAST majority of Muslims are peace-loving people who have very similar values, wants, and needs as mainstream Mormons.

    With regards to my experience in Saudi Arabia, as noted earlier, I’m not a fan of Sharia law as understood by most people (Western or otherwise). But I was a guest in Saudi Arabia, where that was their culture in their country. If your concern wasn’t about Muslims voting for Sharia in the United States then why bring up Sharia in Saudi Arabia?

    But since you did, that’s their country, and they have a right to create the culture they want in their ancestral lands. I’ve lived in Saudi two separate times, once in the 70s and then again during the past decade. In the 70s many and perhaps most cosmopolitan Saudi women didn’t wear abayas. The fundamentalism that swept the country in the late 70s and 80s was in response to cataclysmic changes in their ancient tribal traditions brought on by overly rapid Westernization. And it was women in the late 70s that drove the abaya movement. I just watched a fairly family-friendly show on TV that was repeatedly interrupted by a Victoria Secret commercial of models wearing their bras as outerwear while walking down an American street. I’m not surprised that many Saudis don’t want the same objectification for their daughters (and in fact that is what many Saudi women worry about, the leering and catcalling by American men on TV). Did my wife have to wear the abaya? Yes. But she didn’t mind as a guest in their country. It was simply respect. She didn’t have to wear the face veil, in fact the few minutes she tried one on, the Saudis around her got a good chuckle. Ironically, the Muslims got the face veil from the Byzantine Christians.

    And yes, I saw the muttawa all the time. In fact, a few times they signaled to my wife to cover her blond hair, which she respectfully did when requested (and believe me, it was out of respect, there’s nothing submissive about my wife!). For the most part, the muttawa were kind and respectful, though occasionally gruff.

    And no, we were generally not supposed to bring religious materials into the country, but they never blocked Christian or Jewish religious sites online and so all the members had easy access to church materials. In fact, the only websites that were blocked were extremist or pornographic sites. I read Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post online all the time (neither of which is pornographic though the Jerusalem Post can be a bit extremist). As long as Christian congregations weren’t overtly public, they were generally left alone by the muttawa. And Christians converting to Mormonism were didn’t bother the local population at all. We used to bless our food as a family at restaurants and were never bothered.

    Any attempt at proselytizing a Muslim may have ended in a short period of imprisonment for the proselytizer, possibly followed by expulsion from the country, but never death. And no, it is highly unlikely that a Saudi muslim that converted to Mormonism would have been killed by the official government. On the other hand, tribal forces might have. Far too many people inside and outside the Arab world confuse tribalism with Islam.

    My point is not to convince anyone of the value of Sharia – like I said, I’m not a fan, but I certainly would like to confront either the misconceptions or racist propaganda that gets so readily thrown around.

    I’m in favor of a sensible immigration policy that seeks to reduce risks to the American public. Donald Trump’s blanket statements and outright lies regarding Muslims and Mexicans is not sensible immigration policy and indicates either a willingness to throw innocent human beings under the bus for his own political aspirations, or an appalling lack of knowledge. Either one readily disqualifies him for the Office of the President.

    But taken a step further, his bluster about taking on the Islamic State shows he is also willing to get the United States into another ground war without a successful exit strategy. If the US had only followed the Powell Doctrine, there would be no Islamic State. Trump objected to Bush’s war in Iraq, yet he seems quite ready to repeat it in Syria.

    Overall, Mr. Trump’s approach to the Muslim world is so fraught with fallacies that he will most likely make things much more dangerous for America by destroying the very Arab partnerships that are pushing back against Islamic extremism. Unfortunately, he’s bringing a lot of average Americans along with him.

  67. Trump is a Fascist. No one should vote for him or throw away their vote on writing in someone who will not be elected. This is serious. There’s a Fascist at the door. Don’t let him in.
    Hillary is the only qualified candidate, unfortunately.

  68. “Further Republicans are somewhat justified in noting the difference between Scalia and Garland.”

    How would they know if they didn’t even bother to meet with him and refused to hold a hearing?

    I’m not a lawyer so I can’t speak to his judicial qualifications, although I have read that Republicans were very positive at his confirmation to previous posts. At the time of his nomination to the DC court of appeals, Sen. Orrin Hatch said, “His intelligence and his scholarship cannot be questioned… His legal experience is equally impressive… Accordingly, I believe Mr. Garland is a fine nominee. I know him personally, I know of his integrity, I know of his legal ability, I know of his honesty, I know of his acumen, and he belongs on the court.”

    But I am impressed with him as a man, his poise under pressure during these months of attacks, and what we are learning about his public service, including 20 years of volunteering in disadvantaged DC schools:

    http://www.npr.org/2016/06/15/482206242/merrick-garland-delivers-5th-grade-commencement-address

  69. Thanks, Jim, for your insights. I found them to be both interesting and enlightening.

  70. The only thing the Trump supporters are right about? That Hilary will be a terrible president
    The only thing the Hilary supporters are right about? That Trump will be a terrible president

    Anarchy 2016!

  71. It would be interesting for someone with the surname “Archie” to run, so long as their given name starts with an N. Then we could at least say we’re ruled by N Archie.

  72. MikeInWeHo says:

    Mez, I think it’s more accurate to say Trump is a possible proto-fascist. We don’t know how he would be as a president. He’s a lifelong Manhattanite and clearly no conservative (as many real conservatives have pointed out all along). He’s a nationalist and a populist. He could turn to be America’s version of Silvio Berlusconi (Bunga Bunga time at the White House!), or something much, much worse.

  73. I found Morgan D’s comment a breath of fresh air. Thank you.

    I find it surprising that Republicans would vote for Trump just for his Supreme Court nominations. Fact is, if Hillary wins office (which I personally think she will), none of her SC nominees will be appointed anyway. Lest we forget, the Republican Congressmen and Congresswomen are currently refusing Obama’s rather moderate nominee in, so they’ll just block Hillary’s nominees as well.

    I also find it surprising that the same people that said the world would end when Obama took office are now saying the same thing again about Hillary. I think we all need to take a deep breath. If one person can singlehandedly bring down a country of 330 million people, I would think it would have happened by now.

    The reality is, life goes on. I personally think the way I live my life is just as important as who is the POTUS. But I’m so vain, I probably think this blog is about me, don’t I?

  74. Chadwick – You are incorrect. The only reason Republican’s have gotten away with not appointing Obama’s Supreme Court nominee is by using the rationale that it is an election year. They will lose that argument come November, and Hillary’s appointments will be approved.

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