March 20, 2016

BECAUSE MISSIONARIES HAVE MET OTHERS:

Mormon Voters Really Don't Like Donald Trump. Here's Why. : It's not just Mitt Romney. (McKay Coppins, 3/19/16, BuzzFeed)

If Trump is wiped out in Tuesday's Utah caucuses as expected, many will no doubt credit Mitt Romney, who has spent recent weeks on a high-profile crusade to stop the billionaire. But LDS voters' skepticism of the billionaire -- which, polls suggest, predates Romney's emergence as an anti-Trump champion -- is rooted more deeply in Mormon culture and politics.

That's because while Mormons make up the most reliably Republican religious group in the country, they differ from the party's base in key ways that work against Trump.

On immigration, for example, the hard-line proposals that have rallied Trump's fans -- like building a massive wall along the country's southern border to keep immigrants out -- are considerably less likely to fire up conservative Latter-day Saints. The LDS Church has spent years lobbying for "compassionate" immigration reform. In 2011, church leaders offered a full-throated endorsement of "the Utah Compact," a state legislative initiative that discouraged deporting otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants, and offered a path to residency for families that would be separated by deportation.

These pro-immigrant attitudes are common among rank-and-file believers, many of whom have served missions in Latin-American countries. Mormons are more than twice as likely as evangelicals to say they support "more immigration" to the United States, according to Notre Dame political scientist David Campbell. And a 2012 Pew survey found that Mormons were more likely to say immigrants "strengthen" the country than they were to call immigrants an overall "burden." When Romney ran for president in 2012 on a restrictionist immigration platform, his views were widely noted in LDS circles for being at odds with his church.

Posted by at March 20, 2016 7:58 AM

  

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