Trump placing re-election hopes on religious group that rejected him in 2016: report
According to a report in Politico, Donald Trump's re-election campaign is attempting to woo members of the Church of Latter-day Saints this campaign cycle after they roundly rejected him in 2016.
Faced with an Electoral College numbers game that currently does not favor him, the president needs to lockdown Utah and hang onto Arizona --two states with large Mormon populations.
As the report notes, in 2016 "Mormons rejected Donald Trump in numbers unheard of for a Republican nominee — viewing the thrice-married, immigrant-bashing Republican as an affront to their values."
Faced with losing states in the battleground Midwest that helped propel him into the Oval Office, the president needs to stop the bleeding in Arizona which could go for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in what might be a high-turnout election.
Noting that Utah and Arizona contain over a half-million Latter-day Saints combined, Politico reports that "A 2010 Gallup survey found that “Mormons are both the most Republican and the most conservative of any of the major religious groups in the U.S. today.”
However, "Mormon support for the Republican ticket dropped from 80 percent in 2004 and 78 percent in 2012, to 61 percent in 2016," the report notes.
"Trump dispatched Vice President Mike Pence to Mesa, Ariz. last month for the kickoff of 'Latter-day Saints for Trump.' The president’s campaign is planning more events in the coming weeks with prominent Mormons, including former Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, and McDaniel," the report states. "The campaign and Republican National Committee have scheduled trips to Arizona for out-of-state Mormons to canvass fellow church members for votes. On Saturday, Trump traveled to Nevada — a state that Democrats had been confident was in their column — and he will be in Arizona this week."
According to Evan McMullin, a Mormon who ran a third-party campaign in 2016, he doesn't see members of his church embracing Trump in 2020 any more than they did in 2016.
Explaining, "most people who voted third party in 2016 will be supporting Biden in this election,” McMullin added some Mormon voters who reflexively went with Republican Trump in 2016, have since "soured on him."
The Politico report goes on to note, "Trump is trailing Biden by about 5 points in Arizona, according to polling averages, and LDS voters could be decisive if the race tightens. In 2018, Kyrsten Sinema won massive Maricopa County — which includes the historically Mormon suburb of Mesa — becoming the first Democrat to win an Arizona Senate seat since the 1980s."
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