For those who don’t know, Utah is one of the most conservative states in the country. Utah is home to the Mormon Church, the longest-serving Republican in the senate, Orrin Hatch, tea party darling, Mike Lee, and a state legislature that once ruled that climate change is a hoax. A Democratic candidate has not won Utah in a presidential election in more than 50 years. Yet even the extreme right of the beehive state is struggling to stomach Trump.
A recent poll conducted by the local Deseret News, which is owned by the same religious organization that once donated funds to fight gay marriage, shows that in a match up against Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton the Republican front runner goes home empty handed. Clinton enjoys a narrow victory over the billionaire, while the self-described socialist polls with a commanding lead. Utah carries a small number of electoral votes, but its history of being a GOP stronghold might mean tough times for the demagogue.
To some these results might not be so surprising. Utah resident and former presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, famously took a stand against Trump at the University of Utah, where he called Trump “a con man” and his foreign policy, “very not smart.” More importantly, the leadership of the Mormon Church released a statement condemning religious intolerance in an indirect attack of Trump’s position on Muslim immigrants.
Even considering these factors, however, it is difficult to imagine residents of one of America’s most conservative states lining up to cast a ballot for Clinton in November. If Trump is going to have to fight to win Utah it raises questions about the Republican’s Party’s long-term future in states such as Ohio or Florida.
The loss of such loyal supporters might be a sign of a party crumbling under the pressure of its own extremism. When even one of the whitest, most tea-party-loving states in the country prefers a Democratic Socialist to Trump, it’s clear his popularity has its limits. Apparently, there are some things too ridiculous for even the tea party to tolerate.
Featured image via Flikr by Matt Johnson under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license