Report From a Utah Caucus-Goer

Photo credit: Tom Arthur via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I live in Utah and participated in my precinct’s caucus meeting last night. The feeling at the meeting was very anti-Trump. There was very little (read: no) understanding of how anyone could possibly vote for him. One person ran for a State delegate position saying his whole point was to stop Trump. He won. The anti-Trump sentiment was significant enough that people were voting for Ted Cruz whether or not they liked him because they wanted to stop Trump.

There were nine times the number of people they expected in my precinct, which is why it was three hours — in the middle of a snow storm.

The numbers are indicative of what I’ve seen on Facebook. I have many non-political friends who, on Facebook, were checking in at caucuses across the State with photos of long lines snaking through school hallways.

I believe the numbers may have been influenced by the LDS Church. In the past few weeks, a letter was read encouraging caucusing. And last week a member of our Stake Presidency (leadership of several congregations) spent 20 minutes over the pulpit encouraging participation.

Clearly Trump was not the beneficiary.

Margaret Nell is an occasional contributor to Continue Reading

Let Us Celebrate Utah — 70 Percent Reject Trump

Photo credit: penjelly via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Donald Trump won Arizona — more on what this means for Ted Cruz in another post — but Cruz won a resounding victory in Utah — an astonishing 69 percent of the vote.

This was not so much a vote for Cruz as it was a resounding rejection of Trump and “Trumpism,” as Romney called it. Even John Kasich beat Trump, 17 percent to 14 percent.

Let us pause for a moment and celebrate the unique community Utah has created, which unites some of the best of the traditional American values, hard-work, thrift, and family with a cosmopolitan openness to others. Utah is pro-immigration and pro-religious liberty, not as a code word for “my religion” but with a genuine respect for the rights of law-abiding people of all faiths, including Muslims.

“They are living in the 50s” one snide Facebook commenter wrote. But no, Utah is showing us that even in the 21st century you can build a community which combines creativity and procreativity, entrepreneurship and family.

Utah should be proud, and we should all be proud of them.

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

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. Continue Reading

Ted Cruz Can Beat Trump

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Tuesday is the crucial moment. For Ted Cruz to have any chance of stopping Donald Trump, he has to shock the punditocracy by winning all the delegates in Arizona and Utah.

In Utah, that means he must top 50 percent. Getting there in a three-man race is daunting, but with all those conservative Mormons who don’t swear the state should be Cruz country.

In Arizona, Cruz needs just one more vote than Trump. The media has assumed that because Trump wins anti-immigration voters, he’ll easily carry Arizona. But the latest polls there show Trump taking either 31 percent or 37 percent of the vote. Yes, he’s ahead of Cruz by double digits. But all evidence suggests that late deciders mostly break against Trump.

If Cruz can win Arizona and Utah before moving on to victory in Wisconsin — another winner-take-all state where voters like politicians who play nice — he’ll pick up 140 delegates, bringing Trump’s lead under 100, 673 to 558. Yes, Trump will then win the lion’s share of New York’s delegates, making the winner-take-all primaries in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware a pivotal factor in who emerges with a plurality of delegates at the convention. And then, of course, there is California, the biggest haul on the map, and the last state to vote. Recent polls show that Trump has yet to seal the deal there. (One survey has him at 38 percent, up 16 points on Cruz; another has him at 25 percent, up just five points.)

Head-to-head, Cruz believes he can win a plurality of delegates and take away Trump’s claim to the nomination.

Continue Reading

Breaking: Trump and Kasich Both Ditch Next Debate

From left: Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (Credit for photos: Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr)

Donald Trump was first to announce he was skipping the Utah GOP debate, and John Kasich quickly followed. It has since been announced that the debate will be cancelled due to the defections.

Mormonophobia or fear of debating Ted Cruz one-on-one? Either way, I am guessing Utahans won’t be pleased at the disrespect from both candidates.

It was just a week and half ago that Trump said he would “love to take on Ted one-on-one. That would be fun.”

But hey, Trump’s flexible.

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