Donald Trump continues to be barraged by ghosts and skeletons from his past. Happy Halloween, Mr. Trump. The truth of the allegations appears to be in the eye of the beholder. Dems love it. Reps think it’s nonsense … and so the wheel continues to spin along a fairly normal axis, even in this unusual year.
But there are some surprising anomalies. Cracks have begun to develop in even some of the reddest states in the union. Revelations of Donald Trump’s crude behavior, as well as some other issues with the candidate, have voters in deeply conservative and deeply religious Utah uncertain about their candidate for the first time in decades.
While it’s expected that Trump will still win in a state whose politics are dominated by the large Mormon population, many of those voters are going with minor party candidates such as Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin. So many that, at this point, it’s possible that four candidates could come away with at least ten percent of the vote.
If that happens, it’s actually plausible Hillary Clinton could win the state. All she needs is about 33 percent of the vote. A longshot, but it would have been laughable even a few months ago.
And, while it’s not bad news for Clinton. It’s not good news either. She’s not gaining voters who typically vote Republican. Those votes are going to Johnson and, lately, to McMullin. This is especially poignant in Utah. McMullin graduated from BYU, and he has a very impressive resume: former CIA officer, congressional aide, and investment banker. A lot of people won’t know who he is, but when they meet the highly conservative Mormon Republican, they will likely see a little of themselves in the man.
Recent polls actually have McMullin winning around 20 percent of the vote in Utah. While Clinton still has some ground to make up if she hopes to surprise Trump in a state he long since placed in his win column, it will come down to the following weeks. Who can she get out to the poll? How strong will the defection away from Trump be? Exactly how angry are Utah voters at the GOP and Trump?
This is a question that will play out in red and pink states across the country. While most prognosticators don’t think it will make a difference in the ultimate outcome, it may create some headlines on election night.