The Week’s Michael Brendan Dougherty says Utah voters rejected Donald Trump because “the mediating institutions of society,” such as marriage and religion, which have broken down in other parts of the country, remain healthy and strong in the Beehive State.
Utah lags the rest of the nation in its diversity. But it is a low-crime, economically healthy state with stronger-than-average marriages. And Utah’s people have enough confidence in themselves and the future to invest in their society over the long term by having children at a higher rate than any other state in the country. The message is obvious: Voters who are well integrated into the mediating institutions of society don’t buy what Trump is selling.
Trump’s campaign is correctly understood as a kind of distress signal from voters who are more likely to live in de-industrialized areas, more likely to think free trade harms the American economy, and more likely to view political correctness as a justification for American politics and society to overlook their needs and challenges. Trump voters are less likely to go to church, and less likely to be embedded in an intact nuclear family home. They view racial diversity as a handicap to society, or at least as a direct threat to their interests. They think America needs to be made great again.
The voters in Utah, who provided Cruz with the largest margin of victory by any candidate in any Republican primary or caucus this season, have a response: Utah is pretty great as it is.