They Really Dislike Trump in Utah — Here’s Why

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump is cruising for a real bruising in Utah on Tuesday.

Released over the weekend, a new Utah poll shows that just 11 percent of Republican voters in Utah support Trump.

Moreover, even in a three-man race, Ted Cruz is now winning 53 percent of the Utah vote, enough to grab all the delegates.

The worst news for Trump? In a hypothetical matchup with Hillary Clinton, more Utah Republicans say they would vote for Hillary over Trump.

This is indeed a ‘redrawing the electoral map’ for Republicans, but not in a good way.

I am one of the few people who predicted this as a real possibility before any polls came out.

All the “math” showing Trump is going to win the nomination is based on conventional wisdom about how states vote — but we are now in uncharted territory.

The political class and the conventional wisdom is based on an ideological reading the the electorate. There is a moderate wing, a “somewhat conservative” wing, and a “very conservative” wing of the party (the latter having a religious and secular sub-feathers).

John Kasich is still gathering the votes of the ideologically moderate/liberal Republicans, splitting the anti-Trump vote.

But the assumption that Cruz cannot gain the votes of the “somewhat conservatives” fundamentally misreads what the label means.

These are not ideologically moderate voters. They are not-very-ideological voters.

They have conservative instincts, but they don’t view the world through what Robby George would call “principles” and what they might call “rigid ideology.”

They vote for the man, or the person, not the abstract principles.

A great deal of what is taking place in this election, under the false flag of ideology, is actually a personal reaction to a certain style of masculinity.

Brash, swaggering, take-no-prisoners, foul-mouthed, sexually domineering — the Big Man who is going to take care of the bad guys for you. That personae (more than any political platform or principles) is how Donald Trump swept the evangelical South, even as actual churchgoing Republican voters appear to reject him — Trump lost the churchgoing vote in Missouri (the only state where the exit polls permit us to distinguish by religious attendance) by almost 2-1.

The Midwest resists Trump because they do not care for the swagger or the swearing. This regional difference is one reason that the Midwestern governors who theoretically have general election appeal (like Kasich) never get anywhere: they run into the buzz saw of the South, where that golly gee whiz style of masculinity is just distasteful.

But we are through the South now. Trump has gained his lead fair and square. LDS culture is particularly hostile to Trump: it shares with Midwesterners a distaste for swaggering and braggering, not to mention foul-mouthed masculinity. But the Utah rebellion against Trump should also be a sign to the pundits.

This is an election like no other. The old rules don’t apply.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe.