The other day, Texas Senator Ted Cruz won a very wide victory in the Republican caucuses in the state of Utah, dealing a heavy defeat to loudmouth landlord Donald Trump. Most Utahns, including the vast majority of the state’s Republicans, are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons. Many commentators have tried to find in this result some aspect of Mormonism that makes Mr Trump’s anti-immigration message unappealing, speculating that the LDS movement’s nineteenth century experience as an unpopular religious minority has sensitized its members to Mr Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Some observers have placed a very different interpretation on the Utah results. So, Rod Dreher quotes at length from a correspondent who argues that Mr Trump attracts votes from people who either live in predominantly white neighborhoods and are worried that their lives will become less pleasant if those neighborhoods become largely nonwhite, or who live in predominantly nonwhite neighborhoods and believe that their lives would be more pleasant if they lived in predominantly white neighborhoods. Since Utah is more than 90% white, predominantly white neighborhoods are not particularly scarce in the state, and so these concerns are not the powerful vote drivers they are among downwardly mobile whites in the South and in urban areas.