Trump’s Failure to Gain Traction In Utah Highlights GOP Divide

The fact that Utah, “the most Republican state in the nation,” is likely to reject the Republican presidential frontrunner in Tuesday’s caucus reflects the presence of deep fractures within the GOP.

Reports The Christian Science Monitor:

Utah usually comes too late in the primary cycle to attract much national attention, but Mr. Trump’s charged personality and success in the primaries, coupled with persistent rumors that the Republican Party leaders will force a brokered or open convention, are making every state’s vote count.

 

Utah’s unique political character may offer special insights into the 2016 Republican race, however. Utah has not voted for a Democratic presidentsince 1964, and in 2012 the state gave Mr. Romney “the largest margin of victory in any of the 50 states since Ronald Reagan” according to 270towin.com, a site that has mapped voting records since 2004.

 

Romney is trying to use his popularity in the state to turn the tide against Trump. Although he campaigned for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, he said in a statement Friday he will vote for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz because “the only path that remains to nominate a Republican rather than Mr. Trump” is to give another candidate enough votes to force an open convention.

 

Called “the most Republican state in the country” by CBS News, Utah’s Tuesday caucus could indicate the path forward for the Republican Party. Although polls suggest Mr. Cruz will win Utah’s Republican vote, the race highlights the division within the Republican Party, says Robert Oscanyan, an economics analyst in Utah who serves as his precinct’s Republican delegate.

 

“I think that’s what the Republican party is grappling with, is this idea of, ‘We should probably get back to our platform,’ or this idea of ‘We should do whatever it takes,'” Mr. Oscanyan says.

 

Most Utahans view their vote as an effort to “somehow redeem what’s been going on,” Oscanyan says. While Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has appealed to Democrats who fear the “1 percent,” he says, Trump and Cruz attract voters who have been taught for eight years to fear a terrorist threat above all else.