How Pro Trump are Mormons?

Over at BCC there were a few people claiming in the comments how Mormons were for Donald Trump for President. Now I completely understand why people would say this, given that Trump won Utah in the election. However I think that at best one needs to seriously qualify this statement.

First off if people recall during the primaries the media constantly talked about how anti-Trump Mormons were. Not only did Trump only get 14% of the primary vote but the New York Times reported that top Mormons were in an “all out revolt” against Trump. A quick Google shows dozens upon dozens of stories about Mormon opposition to Trump. Slate’s “Why Mormons Don’t Like Trump” is but one example.  To neglect these stories is at best to be doing significant historical revisionism.

Of course people claiming Mormons support Trump would note that for all the opposition they still voted for Trump. While that’s a fair point, again I think it has to be examined before going too far. To draw an analogy, suppose the neighborhood bully comes up to you and says, “I’m going to punch you in the face or kick you in the gut. You pick.” You pick the kick. Now it’d be ridiculous to say you were for getting kicked in the gut. To say you’re for something entails some reasonable degree of approval. I’m not sure Mormons gave that. There are several reasons for that.

First, beyond just Trump’s dismal showing in the primaries we have the huge ridiculous size of the swing in the GOP vote in Utah, a Mormon stronghold. The GOP vote share went from 72.6% in 2012 to 45.9% in 2016. That’s nearly a 30 point swing which is almost unheard of in Presidential elections. Not only that but third party voting went from 2.7% in 2012 to 26.3% in 2016. That’s not exactly a sign of widespread support for Trump. Trump couldn’t even get a majority in Utah. Beyond those figures though, we actually know how many people voting for Trump were voting for him rather than against Clinton. Exit polls had 49% of Trump voters saying they were voting against the other candidates.

Next, a recent Utah Policy poll of approval of Trump has 52% of Utahns with an unfavorable view of Trump. Only 45% view him favorable. Admittedly that’s higher than national figures but surprisingly low for an overwhelmingly Republican state.

It is true that according to Pew’s national exit polls 61% of LDS voted for Trump. That’s still a huge drop from Romney (78%) or Bush (80%). In Utah according to exit polls only 45% of Mormons voted for Trump – a minority and a little more than half of what Romney got.  Don Peay, the Trump campaign’s Utah state director said, “clearly the epicenter of the anti-Trump movement in the country was in Utah.”

So were Mormons for Trump? It’s hard to really make the claim they were or are. The numbers are very low especially considering how overwhelmingly conservative American Mormons tend to be. It seems the best explanation was that both parties nominated extremely unpopular figures – so disliked that it really lacks parallel in the post-war period. While it’s not fair to blame Democrats for Donald Trump, the reality appears to be that had they had a candidate more liked than Clinton, Trump would almost certainly have lost. That probably would have been true even in Utah even acknowledging that people often are voting less for the person than for a certain set of policy outcomes.

57 comments for “How Pro Trump are Mormons?

  1. June 27, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Clark, interesting (but I think we all went through this analysis last fall, and if I remember right you did a lot of the heavy lifting). But the current discussion is not about for or against Trump, but for or against Trump’s immigration policy. It’s a different question. With Utahns at 40% supportive of the policy (at some level of support; January 2017 survey) there’s the appearance of a near permanent base for Trump-ism in Utah, and a legitimate question who is/are that base?

  2. Bro. B.
    June 27, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    I agree with your points and your closing paragraph nails it. I think our friends over at BCC are reluctant to admit that Hillary is disliked as much as she is. Fair enough, the BCC post was more about support of Trump’s immigration policy than general support for him. Still I have a hard time believing that Mormons make up a disproportionate share of that 40% support for the ban.

  3. Clark Goble
    June 27, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    I was more responding to John’s comments. Even support of immigration seems lower though. Going by The Atlantic article from last year then 45% said immigrants strengthen society whereas 36% of Republics said that. 68% of Utah Mormons supported pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants versus 57% of Republicans. (Although that also highlights the effect of identity politics as people in a party switch their views swiftly as leadership changes)

    So I think there’s reasons to think that Mormons would be lower than what Utah stats show with regards to immigration issues.

    More significantly 40% support for the refugee policy is a really low figure. I’d note that I think there are unique circumstances for that limit such as limiting it just to a few select war torn countries rather than Islamic countries overall. While Trump was a horrible spokesman for his own policy and seems to have implemented it with an incompetence that was staggering, one can understand why the policy would be more popular than a blanket ban.

    Don’t get me wrong though I oppose the policy. But to me to have the President’s signature policy (arguably his only accomplishment beyond appointing a Supreme Court vacancy) get at best 40% approval, with only 17% strongly supporting it, seems pretty weak stuff.

  4. Bill
    June 27, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Trump voters who like to think of themselves as serious and thoughtful people don’t get to wash their hands of everything he does that they don’t like. Their votes for him counted as much as those of any of his most rabid supporters.

  5. John Mansfield
    June 27, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    The greatest Trump supporters in the nation were the ones that gave Clinton the Democratic nomination.

  6. Brian
    June 27, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    John Masfield, that’s maddening, irresponsible, lazy, and defer-responsibility logic. Many, many people thought Clinton would beat Trump. Trump is a result of the Republican base, there are really no two ways about it.

  7. John Mansfield
    June 27, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Brian, there are two ways about it. Trump won by first beating the other Republicans, and then beating the Democrats’ nominee. Plenty of blame to go all around. There were a dozen conventional Democratic governors who would have beaten Trump; instead he had the luck of facing one of the few possible Democrats who was less viable than himself.

  8. Brian
    June 27, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Sure, I get your point, but your hyperbole of calling supporters of Clinton the biggest supporters of Trump is outrageous, as you know. Trump is the result of the Republican base, though I can see why a Republican would not want to claim it as so. Hilary winning the Democratic primaries is on the Democrats. But you seem to forget that almost everyone thought she would win. Republicans voted Trump in, whether willingly or not.

  9. June 27, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Hillary winning the Democratic primaries is on the DNC and super delegates.

  10. Clark Goble
    June 27, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Lots of blame to go around for both the Clinton and Trump debacles. I just wish we had better candidates across the board. It’s not just this latest Presidential election. Both parties have tended to run a lot of bad candidates for both Senate and Congress. I think part of the problem is McCain-Feingold campaign reform which neutered a lot of the power of the parties and allow 3rd party SuperPacs to affect a lot. The media environment too had made it hard for people to want to run. In this toxic environment who would want to run? The shooting this month is just the latest in a slew of things that keep better candidates from wanting to run. Both parties over the years have suffered from “my turn” syndrome as well. While we might berate Clinton for it this year, Bob Dole wasn’t exactly that long ago on the right.

    All that said, I do think this year, more than most, was a pretty horrible year with two extremely unpopular candidates. Some have disputed this. I got via private email a few people contesting that last paragraph of mine. But given how close the election was, with Clinton even winning the popular vote (not that it mattered), I don’t think it would have taken much for Trump to have lost. For those who have forgotten, this Independent story brought back a lot of memories. At the end of October a staggering 60% of likely voters viewed Clinton negatively while 58% viewed Trump negatively. That’s really unprecedented. PBS said in September “that deep distain for both candidates prompts three-quarters of voters to say that a big reason they’ll be casting their ballot is to stop someone, rather than elect someone.” That same month 48% of Republicans wished they had a different candidate. Only 52% of Democrats said they were happy with Clinton as their nominee. 43% wish they had Bernie.

    Given how close the election was, it wouldn’t have taken many GOP voters to switch for Trump to lose. I think it very likely a different candidate who was perhaps more generally popular than either Clinton or Bernie would have easily won the election.

    But at the same time this isn’t really a knock on Democrats. Clinton sewed up the election via funding and among the establishment long before the primaries much as Romney had on the right four years earlier. While Romney wasn’t a horrible candidate he wasn’t a great one. He was uncharismatic and uncomfortable in his own skin running against the charming and charismatic Obama. Worse he was a super rich businessman running in the aftermath of the Great Recession. As many noted he looked more like the person who fired your friend than the person you wanted to vote for. The problem was as weak of a candidate as he was, the rest were worse. However the good candidates who might have run against him were sidelined due to that politicking among the establishment elite well before the primaries. Democrats just fell prey to it this year. By the time it became apparent how bad a candidate Clinton was, it really was too late for a strong candidate to have run. That Bernie, a non-Democrat and self-described socialist, did as well against her as he did showcased how weak she was. (Much like rhythms of the “not-Romney” candidates in the GOP primaries showcased how much the GOP wished they had a different mandate in 2012)

    As weak as Romney was though, he came surprisingly close to Obama who was a superstar. That Clinton lost to arguably the worst candidate of the last 100 years showcases her problems politically. But again, by the time people realized it was too late.

  11. June 27, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    I will say this though about “the reluctant Trump voter.” Hilary was up pretty big when the strategy way reaching across groups and emphasizing that she was a better choice for most Republicans than Trump was. The the Access Hollywood video thing happened and democrats seemed so sure they would win they started picking an interesting strategy: insulting potential voters. As Republicans started to distance themselves from Trump, rather than reach out with open arms, the response from President Obama, John Oliver, and the democratic party was “TOO LATE!” when I think a better strategy would have been to welcome them in. Come in and stand with us would have been a more powerful message. Instead, they made clear that any victory for Hillary would be a loss for these potentially defecting Republicans giving them no place to go. Likewise, as someone who has never supported Donald Trump I’m always puzzled by some fellow anti-Trumpers who seem to think rubbing Trump voters votes in their faces is some how effective. People vote the way they vote for a myriad of reasons, especially when you essentially have an A vs B choice. Rather than shaming and blaming I wish we would try genuine outreach.

  12. June 27, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Clark aside from President Obama, who is a good candidate? I

    Romney appears to me to have the great misfortune of running for President during one of the biggest political shifts in my lifetime. As governor, Romney was touted as the conservative solution to health care. I remember, there were a lot of genuinely excited commentators about how finally a Republican had a “market based solution.” By the time Romney ran for President though Romenycare was now Obamacare (with differences so small that no one aside from hard core wonks really cares) and everyone knows that Obamacare=socialism and the death of everything good in America. (Note the sarcasm.) This put Romney in an awkward position, he would have to run against his greatest legislative achievement as governor and arguably THE best reason why the GOP should have made him their nominee.

    Romney could be charismatic. Thing back to that first Presidential debate between Romney and President Obama, Romney looked incredibly charismatic! He also finally decided it was okay to be himself rather than toeing a new Republican party line that had shifted dramatically since the prior election. As much as Romney wanted to be President the Republican party was moving in a new direction and that direction just so happened to be the opposite direction he moved in as a four year Massachusetts governor. Now this is bad on Romney. Maybe had he stuck to his guns he could move the party back his way and lead a movement (see Ron Paul or Bernie Sanders) but I think the perceived awkwardness is the result of the 180 degree pivot the GOP has made in the last 8 years.

    One last question: What makes a candidate a “good” candidate vs a bad candidate? In 2008 John McCain told the rust belt the truth: their manufacturing jobs would never come back. President Obama (and Mitt Romney) both told them that wasn’t true. President Obama ran on a protectionist platform and used it to beat both Hillary Clinton and John McCain (and later Mitt Romney). Was that something a good or bad presidential candidate does? Because 8 years later he was negotiating TPP (something by the way I support) and a lot of his former supporters switched to Trump in part because the democratic party didn’t have credibility on protectionism issues. I think straight talk makes a good candidate.

    In 2012 Mitt Romney stated that Russia was the number 1 geopolitical foe of America. President Obama replied with “the 1980’s called and they want their foreign policy back.” Regardless of who won in 2012, it would have been nice had the winning side had the foresight to see the threat Russia posed to western democracies. I would say a good presidential candidate would have that foresight.

    In 2016 Hillary Clinton had decades of experience and plenty of substantive policy proposals. I would think those would make a good candidate.

    President Obama did not. Now Obama was great on other things, I’m mostly trying to say that your criteria for “good Presidential candidate” seems to be “did they win?” or “Are they popular?”

  13. Clark
    June 27, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    I agree with outreach, although really we need leadership in both parties. Right now we have none. The US system really is designed to reach consensus within parties – for the coalitions to come to some decision about trading back and forth. While Democrats have had issues, Republicans have been a mess. Partially because with changing conditions the three main coalitions really can’t agree. Further the conservative entertainment complex has horrible incentives with few of them tied to informing voters or pushing real ideological conservatism. The left in some ways is in a better position with pretty broad consensus among the establishment for a kind of center left capitalism. Except that the farther left side is making inroads in the public mind and often in ways not as tied to facts or evidence. Similar to what the right faced 8 years ago with the Tea Party. Further just as the conservative entertainment complex evolved to take advantage of this and tell people what they wanted to hear, we’re seeing similar moves on the left with similar levels of conspiracy and fake news.

    And that’s not “whataboutism” as is unfortunately besetting the right right now. Rather it’s a real worry that the very conditions we need for a functioning democracy are falling apart. If we don’t watch out we’ll end up looking more like Italy in terms of our politics. I fear we’re facing the perfect storm between the breakdown of journalism monetization, the loss of party control due to election “reforms,” and a lack of ideological unifying incentives in the post Cold War era. The signs were there in the late 90’s but have only become worse. Economic trends due to globalization and automation make things even worse.

  14. June 27, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    A side note: While my vote was always Democrat (so I didn’t have a personal struggle) I have friends who could not possibly vote for Hilary Clinton and found themselves boxed in to awful choices. It is important to their own self-worth to put this last election on Clinton’s negatives, and I’m willing to go along with that.

  15. Tim
    June 27, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    The fact that 61% of Mormons voted for Trump despite the fact that they could have voted for McMullin, and that they voted for Trump even though they knew what he planned on doing to a major religious minority (his proposed Muslim ban) and even though he’d made clear what he’d do to undocumented immigrants, does not speak well to us as a people. Our church has spoken out on both the undocumented immigrant issue and on discrimination against Muslims (the latter in direct response to Trump’s proposed Muslim ban). The church’s position on these issues is pretty much the opposite of what Trump had proposed. Trump had plans to destroy the lives of millions of good people, including over ten million undocumented immigrants and a huge number of Muslims. And we as Mormons still voted for him.

    I understand that Trump wasn’t the first choice for most Mormons. But once he won the nomination, we still supported and voted for him. I read Helaman 7 with my children tonight, and I think it applies. The Nephites in this area had, over a short period of time, become wicked. The relevant portion of the much-too-long sentence in v. 4-5:

    “And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats—having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men; Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills–“

  16. Jason B
    June 28, 2017 at 12:26 am

    Clark, I agree with your sentiment on how perverse political incentives can be and I suppose that is really at the heart of my “what makes a good Presidential candidate?” rant. I think Clinton, Romney and McCain all would have made fine Presidents. And by fine I mean “I would have had things I disapproved of any of the above, but they would have done an adequate job.” And being adequate to be President is no small feat. That said, it strikes me that with each of them, Romney, McCain and Clinton there was a segment of the population that was convinced that their election would usher in the apocalypse (obviously Obama is included in this too.) It seems that serious candidates might have a charisma problem in part because they have to pretend to cater to bloc of voters they are having difficulty controlling and it looks awkward.

    Tim, I feel your frustration. For what it was worth I was living in the state of Florida at the time of the election and as a member of the military I could choose if I wanted to stay registered in my home of record (Utah) or change to Florida where there was NO INCOME TAX. I chose to keep my Utah registration with the sole purpose of voting AGAINST Donald Trump. It was the most expensive vote I ever made, and when it wound up being a waste on election night I certainly felt disappointed in my home state that I generally have so much pride in.

    That said, I appreciate what Clark is doing here. Most of the posts and comments paint a black and white picture of what happened in November. I find it ironic because the bloggernoccle overall prides itself and exploring “shades of gray” and pushes against some of the binary black/white dichotomies that conservatives in the church put forward. (And on any issue not involving Donald Trump, I think the bloggernoccle generally does a good job). No one I know voted FOR Trump, even if they place a vote in his favor. For you and for me the choice was clear, for others not as much. I try not to judge to much on voting. I’ve voted for plenty of people I’ve later regretted and voted against people I later liked, or at the very least grew respect for. I don’t understand why the Mormon Trump voter (or any Trump voter for that matter) has to be continuously reminded and shamed for their vote. If nothing else it seems counter productive to getting the largest coalition we can to vote against Trump in four years (if he makes it that long.)

  17. Bruce F.
    June 28, 2017 at 12:53 am

    I was living in the Salt Lake Valley during the last election (have since moved.) Most all LDS persons I normally associated at work, at church, and around the neighborhood with were as sick at the thought of voting for Trump as they over the thought of voting for Hillary. Most of us felt there was no good option. We felt that both major parties had betrayed The People. For many of us, it was a matter of figuring out who was the bigger criminal and then voting against that person. Within my limited range of association, that was how many of us in Salt Lake City voted.

  18. June 28, 2017 at 7:22 am

    First of all, a lot of Mormons are Trump supporters. Without doing any math, let’s use some logic:

    1. If a person voted for Trump, that person is a Trump supporter. (Until that person votes against Trump, for example.)
    2. Most Utahns voted for Trump.
    3. Most Utahns are Mormon.
    4. Many Mormons are Trump supporters.

    Trump supporters must either answer for Trump’s actions and policies or else renounce them, but the presumption is very simply that if you voted for him, you had a pretty good idea of who he was and you should own it. [1]

    If you vote for someone whose policies are awful, you’re not an awful person (contra what most of our political rhetoric seems to indicate.) But you do have to answer for those policies on some level, which might be as simple as admitting you made a mistake, but hopefully includes an attempt to persuade other voters to do better in the future.

    Let me give an example of how that works. I enthusiastically voted for Hillary Clinton, not because I thought that her policies would represent me, but because I thought she was someone I could work from within the Democratic party to pressure to support ordinary Americans instead of her Wall Street donors. Had I failed — a fairly likely scenario, given our increasingly oligarchic republic — I would have had to answer to people who did not vote for her for that failure.

    In other words, a vote for HRC would have put a responsibility on me to answer for her actions in office, whether or not I agreed with every little policy. Republicans would have legitimately asked me to explain myself for my choice.

    So when I ask Mormons to answer for their support of this Republican president, I don’t think I’m being unreasonable…

    [1] I’m not saying a person who had reasons to fear or despise a Hillary Clinton presidency should have voted for Clinton over this Republican president — although I think the case is clear on that one. I’m setting the bar lower. I am saying that sometimes, when presented with two bad options, you have to choose not to choose. Staying home or voting third party would have been very, very honorable. I’ve voted third party myself for much lesser political (and character) flaws than Donald Trump’s.

    (That’s all aside from the general failure of Republicans in failing to stop Trump’s nomination. I don’t ask much of political parties to which I don’t belong, but I do ask that they only nominate presidential candidates who have a vague idea of what the constitution and democracy are. The GOP — its leaders and its voters — must answer for the behavior of the person they put in the White House by explaining what they intended and working against the policies they consider defective.)

  19. E
    June 28, 2017 at 7:34 am

    I would also add that not all Utahns are Mormon. My impression is that non-Mormons and totally inactive Mormons in Utah are more likely to be pro-Trump (not necessarily likely, but more likely). I literally have never heard any active Mormon express a positive view of him, even though some of them voted for him.

  20. Mark N.
    June 28, 2017 at 8:40 am

    I’d just appreciate it if someone could explain to me just what it was that made Hillary so unacceptable to Utah voters.

  21. John Mansfield
    June 28, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Mark N., I don’t know all the thoughts of Utah voters, but one factor that matters to me and probably enters into it is the withdrawal of wilderness areas. After the Grand Staircase withdrawal by Bill Clinton and Bear Ears by Obama, another million acre withdrawal by a second Pres. Clinton would be expected. Some people, mostly in other states, liked the withdrawals, but most voters and office holders in Utah didn’t.

    From NPR:

    A lot of the anger over federal public land in rural Utah today can be traced back to a windy, gray day in Arizona in September 1996. At the Grand Canyon, President Bill Clinton formally designated the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, more than 100 miles away.

    “On this remarkable site, God’s handiwork is everywhere in the natural beauty of the Escalante Canyons,” he said.

    But Clinton didn’t set foot in Utah. The planning for the monument was largely done in secret, and state leaders had little warning it was coming.

    Now, nearly 21 years later, mistrust toward the federal government persists, in the tightknit, mostly Mormon town of Blanding, Utah. Folks can’t help but draw a parallel to how President Barack Obama’s sweeping Bears Ears National Monument ended up in their backyard.

  22. Tim
    June 28, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Jason B–
    “No one I know voted FOR Trump…”

    I wish I could say the same. There were (and still are) more Trump bumper stickers at church than all other political bumper stickers put together (and McMullin was on the ballot in this state). Quite a few members of my ward were big Trump supporters even before the primary election.

    I probably wouldn’t be as upset about the whole thing if I lived in a more moderate ward and a more moderate city.

  23. June 28, 2017 at 9:34 am

    I’ll say here what I said at BCC, and I think it falls into line with christiankimball. I also think jstricklan’s last comment shows a lack of nuance; since we have a de facto two-party system, people who dislike or even despise Trump might still have voted for him.

    I think many Mormons, though they may oppose certain Trumpian policies, voted for the man anyway, even if they oppose his immigration policies. A vote doesn’t equal “support” or complete agreement on all counts. (For the record, I voted Libertarian, as I have in every presidential election since 1988.) There may have been some hope that cooler heads would prevail, that campaign rhetoric was just for campaigns, that the man wasn’t really nuts. Of course, those hopes were vain, but admitting that we’re well and truly in the deep kimshi is very hard for many people. It is difficult to escape binary thinking.

    But the way the Church has been leaning politically lately, and with the immense national propaganda machine pushing a binary choice, I think members who lean GOP would vote for Lilburn Boggs if he were the Republican candidate.

  24. Clark
    June 28, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Tim: The fact that 61% of Mormons voted for Trump despite the fact that they could have voted for McMullin…

    That’s not accurate. McMullin wasn’t on the ballots in most states. So the total Mormon figure is biased by that. That’s why the Utah figure is perhaps a more accurate gauge. I should add that McMullin was far from an ideal candidate. I knew many people who disliked Trump but also couldn’t stomach McMullin for various reasons. (As I recall there was a fair bit of back and forth on McMullin at Mormon blogs like M*)

    Tim: …does not speak well to us as a people.

    This is what I’m more or less arguing against. The change was unprecedented. We should all remember that while we might be very knowledgeable about politics most people aren’t. The incentives and reasoning for low information voters are simply quite different than you suggest. While I think people should become more knowledgeable about civics and make far more informed votes, we have to deal with people as they are when making these judgements.

    JStricklan: If a person voted for Trump, that person is a Trump supporter.

    That’s simply not true. For instance I voted against McCain for similar reasons for why I voted against Trump – even though I see Trump as far worse than McCain. However I was completely opposed to Obama even though I voted for him in 2008 as the lesser of two evils.

    JStricklan: If you vote for someone whose policies are awful…you do have to answer for those policies on some level

    I just fundamentally think that wrong. That’s the whole point about my analogy with the neighborhood bully. Of course if by answer for you simply mean explain why you voted the way you do then I agree. But my point is that I think whether you agree or not, people had legitimate worries about Clinton. Trump was largely an unknown. I think most of what he has done was predictable, although he’s even surprised me in many ways. (Honestly his level of incompetence and causing himself problems has surprised even my low expectations — I also thought he’d go more for a third way populism in policy as well)

    JStricklan: Staying home or voting third party would have been very, very honorable.

    But you do understand why for many people they feel quite strongly that those are not honorable choices. I disagree with them, but there are a lot of people who feel strongly you have to vote for someone with a chance of winning. The idea of protest votes is repellant to many people.

    We also shouldn’t neglect the degree to which even informed voters are willing to project their hopes upon their candidates. I think Democrats did this to a huge measure with Obama in 2008 and I think Republicans unwisely did this in 2016. If anything Trump’s lack of a record made it easier for them to do it. When his character became apparent, they excused it by thinking he might be a scoundrel but if he brings the policies they want is that so bad? (Again I strongly disagree with these views, but I think they explain a lot)

    New Iconoclast: But the way the Church has been leaning politically lately…

    Hasn’t the church by and large been opposing many GOP policies of late?

  25. Wally
    June 28, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Last poll I saw, Trump had a 45 percent favorability rating in Utah, as opposed to 35 percent nationwide. I would bet my whole life savings, however, that non-LDS Utahns view Trump less favorably than Mormons. The only conclusion I can come to is that way too many Mormons are watching Faux News. And my dad is one of them! Argh.

  26. Clark
    June 28, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Wally fewer Mormons than non-Mormons voted for Trump in Utah. So I’d imagine it’s the opposite. The difference wasn’t huge but it was there. I’d love to see approval ratings broken down demographically, but there’s only been one Utah poll and it was way back in January and thus likely unrepresentative. (Typically Presidents are given a honeymoon period of popularity – although Trump’s had less of one than any President in recent history)

  27. Brian
    June 28, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Clark, there is a problem with your analogy of the bully–and that, I think is the main point of argument here (and JSticklan’s point). Instead, there are two ‘bullies,’ not one. It’s more like two people come over to play: one that your ‘family’ really likes and wants you to like (Trump, for the Republicans) even though you don’t; and the other one was dumped on you, and who you also don’t like. Your relationship to one, is by association, very different to the other. Your family was for him, even though you weren’t. That, I think, is JSticklan’s point. Sure, people didn’t like Hilary. But that’s so much more secondary for Republicans than the fact that their family invited Trump over. They didn’t have to, but they did.

  28. Clark
    June 28, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Brian, the analogy was only designed to show that just because we make a choice it doesn’t mean we want it. Nothing more. To use your analogy, I wouldn’t want either over and really might despise having the person over I choose to have over.

    Wally, to add to my comment above, that same article noted that,

    Mormons who identified themselves as “very active” were more likely to break with Trump and vote for McMullin. Trump fared better among “somewhat active” and “less active” Mormons, while Clinton fared best with non-Mormon voters.

    So it might be a bit more complex than I suggested due to the McMullin factor.

    On the other hand while there isn’t an approval poll of Trump for Utah or for the Mormon demographic group there is one for the country on the right track. That in some ways is a proxy for how the President is viewed. According to a recent poll 54% of Utahns say the country is going in the wrong direction and only 33% on the right track. Admittedly the rates for Utahn Republicans were much higher.

  29. June 28, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Sorry, everybody, for the avalanche of words. I would have written more concisely but I didn’t have time, yadda yadda…

    Brian: Amen.

    New Iconoclast: I appreciate the attempt at showing mercy and tolerance for a mistake like a person with conservative values voting for Trump out of social pressure. Kudos. But I would say the answer is exactly what you did: vote third party, or don’t vote at all. Voting for someone is voting for them; if you don’t support that persons policies, you now have to explain your vote (and, likely, fight against the bad stuff.) Or at least that’s how I believe the populous of a democratic republic needs to view its right to vote if it wants to keep that right.

    Clark: Related to what I said to New Iconoclast, I hope that people learn to take their sacred right to vote more seriously in the future and vote only for people with character. A protest vote matters — if not, then no Democrat should vote in my home state of Idaho — if for nothing more than to show not everyone agrees with the majority. Voting for someone who will win only matters if winning is the most important thing — and I think that complete misunderstanding about the purposes of democracy explains a lot of why we’ve apparently sorted out into two implacable political tribes.

    If you can work with me to convince people to “throw their vote away” more often, that might be a very good thing. I think our politics would be a lot healthier if both parties knew they might lose a whole bunch of voters to “protest votes” if they put up unpalatable candidates. (Would Clinton have been the Democratic nominee, for example, if the party wasn’t convinced that left-of-center voters had nowhere else to go? See what happened in France, where they had multiple choices and Emmanuel Macron transformed from a protest vote into Monsieur President? Etc.)

    On the other issue, about the presumption of support: I hear you, I really do. But I can’t agree, particularly given the specifics of this case.

    Before I get into what is a pretty strong critique, I just want to say that despite my bright burning opinions on the subject, I don’t want you or anyone else to feel like I am unreachable. I feel passionately about this, but I’m also willing to be convinced. For example, you actually did work and dug up Mormon poll numbers on Trump support, which I applaud and accept. Not all Utah Mormons are waving their Trump flag high, clearly. But I still think there is some responsibility — some answering — some explaining due the rest of us who didn’t vote for Trump.

    Voting for the lesser of two evils — which I very happily did this year — doesn’t absolve you of responsibility for that vote. Again, for example, people should assume I’m a Clinton supporter, because I voted for her, until I explain what my strategy was. (Again, I thought she would create a situation in which I could operate.) That’s all I mean by “answering,” I think, although I would have to pair my words with deeds to earn respect from my fellow citizens.

    So, I fully believe a lot of people voted for Trump with a similar idea in mind. When people talk about a lack of a track record, or that he was an unknown, or that he was going to shake up the system, I am flabbergasted. Trump showed us who he was every moment of the campaign: beyond his short attention span and general incompetency, his well-known and disturbing character flaws, the man’s authoritarian, antidemocratic, anti-conservative, kleptocratic, erratic tendencies were also on full display — in fact, they were (disturbingly) part of his “charm” to many voters. Why more Mormons didn’t find it in their hearts to stay home or vote McMullin (or write in Romney, for heaven’s sake!) is utterly baffling to me.

    But I agree that we are sometimes are blinded by social pressure or our own hopes, so even given what we knew about him, I can find such a mistake understandable, if a voter believed in the party’s ability to bring him to heel — as long as they now explain that their plan was to work against whatever bad policies while in office. That’s what being responsible means, I believe.

    As a fellow citizen, I encourage Republicans who voted for Trump to affirmatively deny him support through word and especially through deed when he acts against conservative values (which is with some regularity.)

    I also look forward to working with such Republicans in reaffirming the basic principles of our democratic republic (liberty and justice for all) in the years to come, even if we end up disagreeing on a variety of policy issues.

  30. Clark
    June 28, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    jstricklan: I agree with much you say. I just think that judging people by their action in this case (voting for Trump or Clinton) is misleading unless we understand why they voted that way. That’s what I think is missing from the critique. People may well be wrong in their reasoning, but to neglect the reasoning entirely is misleading I think.

    Likewise I admit to being surprised by people who say character matters and then neglect Clinton’s character. I’m fully on board with thinking Trump is worse, but that’s damning with faint praise. Put an other way, I wonder how many of the people who make that charge would have voted for Romney had he rather than Trump been running against Clinton?

  31. June 28, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Well, I would have seriously considered voting for Romney rather than Clinton. But I would have probably have ended up voting third party, like I did in 2012 — I didn’t think Obama was getting pressured enough on democracy issues, even if his economics were acceptable to me, so I made a point of not voting for him. (You should still consider me an Obama supporter, but I will now answer for some of that: I am horrified at drone strikes and unauthorized war, I don’t like the grabs for more executive power, I do own Obamacare although I would have pushed for something that tries to split the difference less than the Romneycare model they used *coughcoughsinglepayerdistortsmarketslesscoughcough* and although I agree wholeheartedly with DACA and DAPA as policy goals, I’m deeply disturbed in the way they were achieved and I think it set a bad precedent.)

    I agree with the damning with faint praise point, although the size of the one’s character flaws (Access Hollywood! Two adulteries! Always lying in business! Need I go on?!), seems to make it irrelevant. (Soviets loved to do that: “We might throw people in prison for having vaguely dissenting views, but you don’t have universal health care!” they would shout while they went on to invade Czechoslovakia.)

    But, Clark, given how generous you’ve been in answering me so far, I am curious and I think you could enlighten the current conversation: What, exactly, is Hillary Clinton’s great character flaw that is sufficient to allow a person to vote / support Mr. Trump, instead of staying home, for example?[1] I haven’t been patient enough to hear through that point, and my impatience has led me to believe that GOP voters decided character doesn’t actually matter this time, only the (hope for) conservative policy. (Which was the same deplorable argument liberals made during Bill Clinton’s presidency.) Help? (If you’re tired of me by now, by all means you deserve a break and a gold star for putting up with me for this long. If we were neighbors, I’d come bring you cookies and talk with you about football or your kids or the weather or anything anything else.)

    [1] (Being a wooden politician is not a character flaw (*coughMittcough*) although it might be a political flaw, and I tried to warn other Democrats about it. In terms of actual character flaws, if we’re talking about Bill, well, that’s easy. I’m always mystified why liberals (and particularly self-affirming feminists!!!!) like him, he’s such a low-down misogynistic snake. But Hillary? Most of the time I’ve been left bewildered with the “Hillary lies!” line of attack because there is so little substance there that I can see. On all the issues involved, I don’t see how she’s much different than most politicians and it seems to simply be a proxy for “I don’t like her policies” / “I don’t like female politicians whose last names don’t rhyme with ‘Whalen.'”)

  32. June 28, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    I didn’t, by the way, give sufficient props to the awesome picture in the OP. Perfect, amigo. 100%. Five out of five stars.

  33. Clark
    June 28, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I’m glad someone noticed the joke! (If you click on the image you even go directly to the skit that it references)

    As for your question, I’d say that character alone isn’t a deciding factor. I think it is a very important character. But by and large those who thought character was a deciding factor simply didn’t vote for Trump. So I think you’re setting the question up in a fashion that assumes your conclusion.

  34. June 28, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I might be framing the character question wrong, that’s true. I’ll think about it. But if character alone isn’t a deciding factor, then we probably shouldn’t be talking about Hillary’s character, either, right? ;)

  35. June 28, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Re: David S. Pumpkins — Someone get me out of this elevator.

  36. Clark
    June 28, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    To say character matters isn’t the same as saying character is a deciding factor. Rather it’s one factor among many, only with a very large weight in ones calculation. Again I think what matters is what reasons people voted the way they did. But that’s not something one can really tell well from just how people voted.

    For instance someone might have found Trump personally repellant but saw the abortion issue as so important that they valued Trump’s court picks and feared Clinton on such issues. They may well have acknowledged the horrible example Trump would set, agreed with the threat of corruption, and acknowledged the mess Trump might make in international affairs yet thought the abortion issue still enough to pick him over Clinton.

    Others explicitly saw him as a kind of handgrenade. That is they didn’t think any real reform in Washington was possible through conventional means and wanted a bull in a china shop to shake things up – his personal failings in this case were potentially benefits rather than costs in terms of needing it to get reform.

    Now I obviously don’t agree with either of those views, but I think people could rationally hold them.

  37. Steve S
    June 28, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    “So were Mormons for Trump? It’s hard to really make the claim they were or are.”

    The fact of the matter is that Mormons did favor Trump over Hillary. How does that not make them pro-Trump? They may not be hugely thrilled about him and his policies and persona, but a good number of them actually took time out of their day to vote and cast a vote for Trump. That’s gotta mean something.

  38. Clark Goble
    June 29, 2017 at 12:36 am

    It means something, but it doesn’t mean they are pro-trump. It just means that when they looked at the choices they think that vote produced the best outcome whether due to making a message, letting them be approved by their peers, or stop something they didn’t like from happening, or whatever. There’s lots of reasons people vote the way they do. Assuming it’s just because they are for the candidate simply isn’t the only choice.

  39. June 29, 2017 at 1:47 am

    Clark, thanks again for the generosity of engaging so many opposing views in the comments. It is an act of love, and I deeply respect you for it. Dialog is a practice of charity — one that we should be more deeply committed to. Kudos.

    “…isn’t the only choice.” But it should be the default one. Let’s call it a rebuttable presumption. The onus is on the voter to explain herself, and I’m not unreasonable if I assume she’s for the person and the policies her candidate represents.

    On the character issue: Either character mattered in the last election, or it didn’t. It’s not rational to say that an opposing candidate’s character flaws matter but my candidate’s flaws do not. If they matter, they should be judged accordingly. It may rational to assert that character flaws are secondary to policy outcomes, but one does not get to have one’s cake and eat it, too.

    I bring all this up not because I expect Republicans to overcome their group loyalty all at once. (Indeed, my quick willingness to do so might be considered a character flaw under many, many versions of virtue ethics!) Instead, I hope to put a little idea in the ears of Republicans that, sometimes at least, losing with honor is preferable to winning with dishonor. Do what is right, let the consequence follow, and all. I understand that some Republicans thought they WERE doing what was right by choosing “the lesser of two evils.” I think they will see they’re wrong in time, and I’d like them to hold on to honor when it (as I see it, inevitably) finally comes in conflict with team loyalty.

    I now release you from any responsibility to respond to my overly-long responses. :)

  40. Steve S
    June 29, 2017 at 10:16 am

    My dad, a strong LDS believer and Republican who lives in Utah county, was about as anti-Trump as they come during the primaries. The day after the election I expressed my shock and dismay at what had happened, and he said that he was not thrilled with either choice. But then rationalized Trump saying that all of his fanfare and attacks was part of his election “strategy,” that we shouldn’t take him too seriously, that we should give him a chance, and that maybe, just maybe, he could turn out to be someone like Reagan. Just recently he said that he had “mixed feelings” about Trump. These “mixed feelings” undoubtedly stem from his endless watching of the Trump propaganda news network called Fox News. He has come a long ways since the Republican primaries. And in my interactions with other believing LDS Republicans, I have found them to have similar attitudes. Once never-Trumps, they are now give-the-man-a-chance supporters. It is tepid support. But tepid support is still support.

  41. June 29, 2017 at 10:51 am

    @Clark, I’m with jstricklan here. What is so bad about Hillary Clinton’s character? I honestly don’t see anything in her character as being a negative, let alone being a negative on the order of magnitudes that Donald Trumps is. Can you provide examples of things which she has done, which reflect poor character?

  42. Clark Goble
    June 29, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Jader, many people consider Hilary Clinton fundamentally dishonest. They also found her actions during the various scandals with her husband far over the line in terms of intimidating women who felt sexually harassed. Again, in most ways Trump has the same flaws but far worse. People can of course disagree on how fair this presentation of Clinton is. That’s not really the point though. It’s not at all irrational for people following the mainstream top tier press like the NYTs, WaPo, WSJ, and others to have very negative views of Clinton’s character. Indeed this was heavily discussed during the campaign. For people who tend to follow Fox New or Rush Limbaugh their perceptions of her character will be far worse. That in turn will affect how people vote. I’d hope it fairly straightforward that people’s information, including limited or bad information, determines their reasons for voting. Most Americans simply aren’t well informed.

    Again whether you think that’s unfair or not is irrelevant. I think a lot of things Romney faced in terms of perception of his character were unfair. But politics is very much about image which is why some people who might make great presidents in terms of decision making make bad candidates simply because they do poorly along the political and media aspects of the job. This is why I thought Romney a very weak candidate — because in that part of the job he was extremely weak. Clinton was beyond weak but was known to be highly divisive at best. That was known well before she ran as were her email problems and related issues. That’s why many of us thought she was a bad candidate for Democrats to run. While Democratic voters might not to be to blame for that, I think the elite establishment should have known. For instance Obama’s telling Biden he wouldn’t support him running in the primaries in effect ensured there was no real alternative to Clinton. (Biden of course had his own weaknesses with plagiarism and a few other issues)

    Steve S, I think most Americans think a new President should be given a chance. That’s why they frequently talk about the honeymoon for a President during their first six months. I felt that way about all Presidents during my political lifetime including Obama. While that is a type of support, I don’t think it’s really the sense of support that we’re talking about here. If anything, I think a very valid criticism is that Trump critics were unwilling to give him that type of support. Whether we fear or dislike Trump, it is in the interest of all of us to hope he does a good job.

    jstricklan, again the question isn’t whether character matters but how it matters. My point is just that you’re creating a false dichotomy by only allowing it to matter in one way.

  43. June 29, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Clark, I can’t agree more with you on this:

    “But politics is very much about image which is why some people who might make great presidents in terms of decision making make bad candidates simply because they do poorly along the political and media aspects of the job. … Clinton was beyond weak but was known to be highly divisive at best. That was known well before she ran as were her email problems and related issues. That’s why many of us thought she was a bad candidate for Democrats to run. While Democratic voters might not to be to blame for that, I think the elite establishment should have known. …” Allowing the party to become “her” party, anointing her as the candidate because it was “her turn” without taking into account how she would play — regardless of whether the perceptions were accurate or even fair — was a huge tactical mistake. It turned what should have been a blowout election into a narrow loss. “Oops,” as they say.

    But to use up all the goodwill that point of agreement might have generated, I don’t think not giving Trump a chance is wrong, mostly because I had a pretty good read on what he would do in office from the campaign. I said he was basically an Eastern European oligarch, working on personalized networks instead of institutional (constitutional) arrangements, and that would have a deleterious effect on American governance from day one. (Eastern Europe is my field, so of course I see it everywhere.) Events are showing that I have been pretty much right (wait, who’s the Secretary of State — Tillerson or Kushner?), and it’s good that we got started resisting the personalization of the office right away. What I have been wrong about is how well American institutions are doing at holding together. Hopefully they can hold on as the Presidency gets more and more personalized (instead of institutionalized). This is why I would celebrate a Pence presidency. I pretty much disagree with all of his policies, but at least he and I both agree that we should live in a democratic republic governed by elections and the constitution and law. ;) Hopefully, we’ll all get a clue after this president and start reining in executive power. #eternaloptimist

    jader3rd, I think I get what Clark’s trying to say here, which I think is theoretically defensible but not what people have been doing in practice (at least in my experience.) People DO call Hillary’s character into question and DON’T call Donald’s. Clark, you’re not doing that, and maybe I’m obtuse, but I don’t understand how you can call character into question as an important criterion and not end up saying, “On this score, Trump’s worse.” If that’s the case, and someone voted for him, they must have voted for him either because (a) policies really are more important than policy (at least in this election), or (b) my tribe should win no matter what. But saying “Character shall be ignored for me and not for thee” is, as I said, risibly partisan.

  44. Clark Goble
    June 29, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I think character matters but for many people both their characters are bad, so policy trumps that. Let’s say on a 10 point scale that HRC is a 4 and DJT is a 1. You weigh character as 50% of your vote. On policy you see HRC as a 2 and DJT as a 8. That means your weighted average is a 3 for HRC and DJT as a 4.5. So DJT wins. That’s all I’m really saying. That’s a completely rational calculation. Contrast this with say a hypothetical Corey Booker. For character you give him an 8 and on policy a 4. That’d have given him a 6 and you would have voted for him over DJT.

  45. June 29, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    All right, all right, you’ve thought it through sufficiently for me to (grudgingly) admit there might be a rational way to weight character here. (Although I think we’re both clear that a lot — most? — Trump voters weren’t so careful about it.) :)

    What about the rebuttable presumption of support for a candidate idea? is that at least informative as to why people might assume Mormons support Trump, since many (most?) voted for the Republican candidate?

  46. Steve S
    June 29, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    “I think most Americans think a new President should be given a chance”

    According to a CNN Poll in November 17-20, only 53% thought that Trump would do a very good or fairly good job. This is contrast with 75% who thought that Obama would do a very good or fairly good job right after the 2008 election (

    My point was that beyond that, though. It was that Mormon Republicans came around to Trump. And there is every indication that they have. Their support for Trump is certainly greater now than it was during the primaries.

  47. Steve S
    June 29, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    “it is in the interest of all of us to hope he does a good job”

    Well, it is in my interest to hope that Trump reverses course on his anti-Muslim, anti-poor Latino immigrant, and anti-poor policies. But I’m quite sure that that is a false hope. If by now you think that Trump has done a good job or will do a good job, then you probably live in a distorted right-wing echo chamber, are delusional, and/or are just plain ignorant of the realities at hand.

  48. Clark Goble
    June 29, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Steve S, I think it’s far more complex than that. I think “good job” depends a lot upon what actions you think are most important. And of course Republicans and Democrats disagree quite a bit there. Even within the Republican party there are large differences over such things as immigration levels and fear of terrorism. Honestly what keeps surprising me is the level of left wing anger at Trump given that from my perspective he’s done so little. (Indeed to me the biggest problem is how little he has done)

    To give an example of this consider you are a person for whom social issues matter a great deal. Then the Gorsuch appointment is huge for you. We know from the election that among those who didn’t really trust Trump, SCOTUS appointments were one of the biggest reasons they voted for Trump. So in that regard they have to be happy.

    I am just far from convinced that Republicans really trust him. I also think that group-identity psychology has a lot to do with how people reaction. Far more than rational weighing of issues. The cognitive scientist Jay Van Bavel has done a lot of interesting work here arguing that many aspects of group-identity are best seen as happening at the perceptual level. There was a fascinating podcast with him a month ago on these issues that is very worth listening to. (Unfortunately they don’t have a transcript). When looking at of people feel about politics I tend to think these group-identity issues dominate. That’s why the swing against Trump by Mormon GOP are so striking. They are reacting against their political identity which takes a fair bit of cognitive effort. That is people are less pro Trump than they are anti anti Trump.

    To your other point, of course many people in both parties get distorted views of things from the media they consume. This is hardly just a right wing thing. Indeed as I’ve said many times one thing I fear a lot is that the left is facing the same issues the right faced 8 years ago. The left just was able to avoid them a bit due to having a person in the White House.

  49. Steve S
    June 29, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Your last comment seemed a bit rambling, so I’ll just expound on the idea that Mormon Republicans have come around to Trump. When you look at the fact that only 13% of Utah GOP voters voted for Trump in the GOP primaries and the fact that 45% of Utahns voted for Trump and the fact that the Utah Policy poll shows that 70% of Utah Republicans view Trump favorably, we have every indication that Mormons have warmed towards Trump.

    I’ll indulge and respond to a couple of side points: 1) liberal media are far more in line with reason and truth than right-wing propaganda. People who tend to vote Democrat look nothing like those who vote Republican. Conspiracism and outright untruths have been eating the brains of the right far more than the left. Any notion that the left is somehow like the right was 8 years ago is nonsensical false equivalence in the extreme. 2) Like it or not, Trump is the best representative of conservatism and the Republican Party in the US currently. He is the one who got more conservative and GOP votes than anyone else. These supposed untrusting Republicans have mostly fallen in line with his agenda and have done little to challenge it. If you stand for reason, truth, and justice, Clark, you simply shouldn’t be voting for or supporting the GOP. You’re better off with the Democrats.

  50. Anonymous
    June 30, 2017 at 4:25 am

    I thought this election was a no-brainer. There were two flawed candidates. One was qualified to be POTUS and one clearly was not. He didn’t have the temperament, knowledge or experience to be where he is now.

  51. Clark Goble
    June 30, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Sorry about that Steve. The fire was definitely affecting my allergies so my head wasn’t that clear. But I think you’re neglecting still my main point between voting for someone as the lesser of evils or necessary to achieve ones policy aims and warming to him. A good analogy might be Stalin in WWII. Churchhill worked with Stalin but never warmed to him.

    To the point of media, the NYTs and company are solid. But their right wing comparison is more the WSJ. So let’s compare like to like. For instance I don’t see much difference between say MSNBC, CNN or Fox. Only the type of bias is different. Likewise to me Salon or even HuffPost are giving hugely biased and often misinformed articles or par with biased right wing web sites. So I think comparing “right wing media” to NYT/WaPo is unfair (if that’s what you’re doing – you were pretty vague). Compare like to like. From my perspective the left is about where the right was in 2008. So sadly the right is still ahead of the left in this degradation. But the left seems to be trying to catch up with conspiracy thinking as fast as possible.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “best representative.” I don’t consider Trump a conservative.

    As for my views, I’m definitely at the “both parties completely suck” stage. I can rant about either party for a long time.

  52. Steve S
    June 30, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Left and right just seem like an apples to oranges comparison. They’re so different in their natures and beliefs, but also in their political manifestations. As for conspiracism, it certainly exists on the left, but not nearly to the same extent. Trump entered politics on the birther platform, and to his success. A sizable number of Republican voters believe that Obama was not born in the US. I’ve seen different figures around 30-40 percent. Even if it is lower than that, say 10%, that’s still insane. I simply don’t see any equivalent on the left. The crazies on the left don’t appear to be influencing politics much, but the crazies on the right are running the show in the Republican Party. If it is not birtherism and anti-vaccine madness, then there is conspiracy-lite that prevails, such as global warming denialism, anti-Federal Reserve paranoia, and baseless fear that the government will take away guns. To add to that, the right is also seized on by nonsensical utopian philosophies such as trickle-down economics, and has been for quite some time. George H.W. Bush called Reaganomics, which is a version of trickle-down, “voodoo economics,” and yet, that appears to be the philosophy that has prevailed in the GOP. The left has thrived because since the 1980s it has largely abandoned the New Left crazies who cropped up in the ’60s and ’70s in favor of a moderate platform. By contrast, the right has thrived on Goldwaterism and even Birchism.

  53. Clark Goble
    July 1, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Like I said, I think Republicans are ahead of Democrats in all this self-destruction. Mainly because Dems had the White House. But I think Dems are doing their best to catch up made easier by Trump being so out of the normal that it’s easier to justify conspiratorial thinking. The question is whether it’s just on the left due to Trump or is a longer trend fed by the same causes as on the right. I tend to see it as a longer trend.

    I think this is different from supply side economics. One can debate that of course. But thinking someone is wrong is not the same as their following conspiracy like thinking. There were solid economists who accepted supply side thinking although many felt it was applicable in a more narrow range of situations. A problem today is that many on the right assume what worked in one situation would work in any. But it’s not like supply side economics wasn’t solid technical economics promoted by well respected economists like Robert Mundell or Victor Canto.

  54. Marivene
    July 2, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    I was raised as a Republican in the heart of Democratic Ohio. Although on rare occasions, I have voted Democratic at a local or state level, I did not feel I could do that in 2016. From my point of view, Clinton revealed her character in Benghazi, & there was no way I could vote for her. On the other hand, Trump is 6 years older than I am, & while was still in high school, I knew who he was, & not in a good way. From my point of view, he hasn’t changed much. He only cares about himself, & he will do whatever is best for Trump. Period. I believe the Trump presidency is about the “power” for him, & about the money he is making while President, but that would be another long post…

    In 2016, I voted third party. I put some long hours into studying out the “lesser parties”, because I have come to the conclusion that we need more than 2 parties. Whichever one wins, the other digs in to wait for the next cycle, & nothing gets done. With more than 2 parties, coalition governments are formed, which can at least accomplish the work of governing.

    As a Mormon, I feel pretty much that we are watching the pride cycle unfold before our eyes. It looks to me like there are Gadianton robbers scattered throughout the government, so voting for someone with mob connections was not something I was going to do. Obviously, Trump is now the President, & like it or not, that makes him my President, just like Obama was my president, like it or not. So I pray that he will be surrounded by good people, who will give him good advice, & that his heart will be softened to follow it. While I do not feel responsible for his policies, watching things unfold on multiple levels has caused me to question exactly what it means to “grind the face of the poor”. How much house do I really need? How many clothes do I really need? Do I really need more “stuff?” Is MY excess consumer buying literally wasting money that could relieve the suffering of the poor around me? Those are questions that only I can answer, because I am the one the Lord will hold responsible for MY conduct. Again, in the pride cycle, I need to remember that everything I have in mortality is not really mine, materially speaking, as I am acting as a steward over what the Lord has given me.

    During the election year, & since, I have learned a lot of history about our various presidents. In a nutshell, few of them behaved like angels, which was strangely comforting. However, when Trump hired Reince Priebus, that was my breaking point. Priebus literally sent out underlings in vests to threaten people at the National Republican Convention, & that is too much like Hitler’s brown shirts for me. I feel that the Republican Party has marched over a cliff & I decline to follow. I registered as an Independent voter the day Trump hired Priebus.

  55. Corrado Misseri
    July 4, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I have it on good authority that Mormons who voted for Trump and continue to support him and his policies will spend an extra millennium in Spirit Prison.

  56. Marivene
    July 4, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Steve S, the numbers showing that 70% of Utah GOP now view Trump “favorably” fails to account for those of us who left the GOP after he was elected. Rather than showing Mormons warming to Trump, it could also show that those still in the GOP are now those who voted for him, since some of us who did not have left.

  57. Clark Goble
    July 4, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    A lot will depend upon what happens in next year’s elections. As I’ve said neither party are exactly appealing. But we’re also in a period of pretty significant moving of positions and rebalancing of coalitions. If you’d told me six years ago that Democrats would be the party focused on hawkish careful foreign policy I’d have laughed. But that’s how things are changing. The question is whether Trump’s takeover and remaking of the Republican party is successful.

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