Whether for Gary Johnson, Evan McMullin, or even Hillary Clinton, Utahns should vote to make sure Trump does not win Utah. Trump losing Utah will make the state more relevant in this and future elections, giving Utahns more influence in national politics.
Unfortunately for Utah, with only six electoral votes and as a consistent Republican stronghold, it is largely passed over by presidential candidates and not usually covered extensively by the national media. Recently, however, Utah has taken the stage following Mitt Romney’s call to vote against Trump in the state’s primary, Trump’s subsequent loss in the state’s primary, and Evan McMullin‘s bid running as an independent conservative for president. Additionally, even Trump himself has recognized that he needs to win over Utah voters. In an address to evangelical pastors this week, he says that “I’m having a tremendous problem in Utah. Utah is a different place”.
Given that Utah is in the spotlight (paywall) right now, it should dump Trump, quickly and loudly. By voting against Trump, Utah will likely have greater relevance in this election cycle and in future elections. Trump will be trying to grab every single electoral vote that he can, especially now that he is declining in the polls in important swing states. Making Utah up for grabs among the candidates, they will work harder to meet the needs and values of the state. And, if Trump becomes more competitive with Clinton, there may be an even greater urgency to persuade Utahns one way or the other, giving Utah even more ability to influence the national dialogue. Once this election is over, future candidates may not be so quick to dismiss Utah, helping to bolster Utah’s influence and importance in national elections.
Utah will be seen as a state that is willing to think long-term, and choose what is best for the country over what is Republican. Utah already has a reputation for being fiscally well-managed, and now it should dump trump to further establish itself as a morally and politically well-managed state. As every day moves the country closer toward election day, more and more Republicans are hopping off the Trump Train in anticipation of a train wreck. Trump has two former GOP presidents who do not support him, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Republican members of the House and Senate, people who held national security positions in Republican administrations (see link above), and many others who believe Trump will harm the country and the GOP. Given the way the polls are increasingly moving, Trump will likely lose the election at a large margin.
If Utah votes against Trump, when the dust settles after election day, Utah will be seen as a state that made a pragmatic and value based decision, instead of hopping on the derailing train like other Republican states. The greater margins that Trump loses the election by, the more the GOP will work to reshape its message and become more competitive next cycle. Surely, Utah will be able to be a leader in that process having shown prudent judgment by its choice to not follow Trump into disaster. By not voting for Trump, Utah is given an amplified voice in expressing what it thinks should be the conservative agenda in the future.
Utah should vote to give its electoral votes to someone other than Trump if it wants to have more influence in shaping the national dialogue, now and in the future.
Disclosure: I am from Utah and consider it my home and an excellent state, however, regardless of the state, candidates should have to work to win people over. By making candidates take notice that Utah is not a lock-and-step, party-line state, candidates are forced to work harder to earn the trust and votes of the people. The more Utah matters, the more the candidates will listen.