The state of Utah has been knowingly conservative for many years now. However, this election is making history, and leaving many Utahans confused and reluctant to vote.
After the March caucus, both Trump and Hillary were unpopular in Utah. Combined, the two candidates won only 34 percent of the votes. Trump fell behind both Cruz and Kasich, while Hillary was defeated by Sanders. With that being said, voters are stumped with the two remaining candidates.
To add more confusion, Governor Gary Herbert has declared that he plans to vote for Trump, but he will not endorse the candidate. He offered no advice for fellow Utahans, because his vote reflects his personal views, not those of the entire state.
In recent polls, Trump is leading the election, but that does not mean he is well liked.
Third party candidates are using Utahan reluctance to their advantage. Libertarian, Gary Johnson has gained more support and is slowly but surely making his way into the minds of voters. Another third party candidate that is respected by many Utahans is Utah native and Republican, Edward McMullin who is running as an independent. Both candidates still need more recognition if they want to participate in upcoming debates.
A unique problem that candidates don’t see in many other states is what is known as the Mormon problem. While mormons have supported GOP candidates in the past, they refuse to support Donald Trump. As an oppressed group that has been a victim of discrimination in the past, Mormons reject Trump’s policies on immigration and banning Muslims from the United States. Many Mormons instead are in support of Edward McMullin because he too is of Mormon faith.
Neither candidate has made much effort to campaign across Utah. While Trump may not be well liked, he is still in the lead and would rather focus his attention on larger swing states around Utah, leaving his running mate Mike Pence to focus on Utah. Although a democratic candidate has not won Utah since 1964, knowing that Trump is hated gives Clinton hope that Utah could become a swing state. Her team recently held a roundtable discussion on immigration in Utah, seeing that as a weakness in Trump’s campaign for the state.
As stated in The Atlantic, “Utah is a Symbol for America.” Like Utah, many Americans are reluctant and dissatisfied with their choices for the next President of the United States. Like Utah, many Americans are confused, disappointed, but hopeful for a change.