Postmodern Conservative

Utah and Other Causes of American Wonder

The results from yesterday add nothing to our calculations about who the Republican nominee will be.

But the national polls do. Trump is polling at 46–47 percent and with a large lead over Cruz. So much for his ceiling. Kasich dropping out would reduce but hardly eradicate Trump’s margin. I still think Cruz will probably be the nominee. I admit, however, that he will have to actually win in Wisconsin to have sufficient momentum not to be decimated in the Northeast. 

And the resistance to actually embracing Cruz as the only sane and safe choice for Republicans at this point remains unexpectedly strong in many sectors. That’s one reason why Kasich isn’t all that far behind him in the national polls.

The biggest news from the polls: Sanders is doing about as well among the Democrats — about 45 percent. That means that close to half of all Americans are for either Trump or Sanders. That, my friends, is the real insurgency. Our libertarian economists tell us that Trump and Sanders are the worst candidates ever, preferring statist thuggery and so forth to embracing the truth about personal liberty and the productivity of the free market.

Are voters more ignorant than ever? There might be a better explanation.

Utah! The one state where about no one is for either Trump or Clinton. They are, in fact, the two most unpopular candidates with the electorate as a whole, but they’re somehow winning most places anyway.

Damon Linker writes this morning that what the Republican party needs is more Mormons. That’s because Mormons are less angry, more classy, and more open to immigration than most Republicans.

Damon’s “Mormon functionalism” reminds me of that of the economist Tyler Cowen. Too many American men are failing because they lack the desired workplace virtues of conscientiousness and compliance. The solution Tyler recommends: They should become Mormons! Tyler himself doesn’t need to be a Mormon, because he’s rich and self-disciplined. But then neither does Mitt Romney.

Well, Damon might have devoted more attention to the facts that Mormon men are secure in their status, Mormon families are strong, and Mormon communities are intact. It’s their lived social conservatism, stupid! But Damon remains attached to the ideology of Hillary Clinton, which is, of course, rather hostile to Mormonism.

Peter Augustine LawlerPeter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He is executive editor of the acclaimed scholarly quarterly Perspectives on Political Science and served on President George ...


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