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Mormons Troubled By Trump

October 3, 2020

On Friday I had a leisurely conversation with a friend who lives in Arizona. Getting caught up on topics ranging from the heat that continues, smokey skies that create coughs, and how the pecan trees are faring were all interesting to hear. But then the topic moved to politics and it was then the the person of Mormon faith on the other end of the line said something startling.

“When Trump and his infection comes on the TV I turn the channel. He brought this on himself.”

This long-time conservative Republican took off on Trump letting me know in no uncertain terms there was no wiggle room left for his candidacy at that home. So asa I read an article in today New York Times it echoed with what I heard on the phone.

According to Jacob Rugh of Brigham Young University, a Voter Study Group from June 2020 showed that among an admittedly small group of 160 respondents, just 42 percent of Mormon women planned to vote for Mr. Trump, compared with nearly 75 percent of Mormon men. The trend is even more pronounced among younger Mormon women: Mr. Rugh surveyed nearly 400 of his former students in May 2020; six in 10 women aged 18 to 29 said they would vote for Joe Biden. In that age cohort, about four in 10 Mormon men were similarly inclined to vote for Mr. Biden.

That underlines a broader point: Mormons as a group do not approve of the president as much as they approve of other Republicans — and given the tight races in those Southwest swing states, that could be a real obstacle for Mr. Trump.

So Mormons’ views on immigration, welcoming the stranger and engaging with people who are “different” don’t jibe well with Trumpism. The Latter-day Saints Church has, not surprisingly, condemned Mr. Trump’s statements on immigration and religious freedom, including on family separations at the border. (This is perhaps even less surprising as the church attracts more Latino members.)

The condemnations have resonated with rank-and-file church women like Sara Nix, from Las Vegas, who said: “Within my community, it appears I’m not the only one frustrated with the president’s rhetoric and policies, as I’ve heard from Republican friends who find Mr. Trump to be more than just uncivil but believe he is on the verge of inciting violence.” She is planning to vote for Mr. Biden.

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