Trump’s nomination a curveball for Utah voters

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FILE - In this March 14, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Hickory, N.C. Presidential endorsements often create strange alliances. But rarely have so many partnerships of political necessity appeared to be as reluctant, awkward, even downright tortured as in the 2016 GOP race. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Hickory, N.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

Utah has been a sure Republican state in past presidential elections. This November may be different with Donald Trump as the nominee. Trump performed very poorly in the Utah Republican Caucuses in March, receiving only 14 percent of the Utah vote. Many Utahns disagree with Trump’s policies and demeanor.

“Utah has always been a little more moderate on the immigration front with the experience of a lot of missionaries going out in the world … (Trump’s) approach is build the wall 10 times as high, send them home and Mexicans are racist. Those things don’t fit well with our culture,” said Timothy Hawkes, member of the Utah House of Representatives.

With Trump as the nominee, Utah will have to decide if they want to stick with a Republican that they don’t fully support, vote for a Democratic nominee, write in a different candidate or not vote at all in the November elections.

Cruz and John Kasich, who also dropped out after the Indiana primary, had already been mathematically eliminated from winning the election, and were likely holding out hope for a contested convention. Although Trump has not yet secured the majority of the delegates for the nomination, he has over 80 percent of them. This was enough for Cruz to throw in the towel.

The Cruz campaign lost six straight primary states leading up to him dropping out of the race. He had difficulty getting votes in states from undecided voters.

Darron Cummings
Ted Cruz leaves the stage following a primary night campaign event, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Indianapolis. Cruz left the race shortly after losing the Indiana primary. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

“Cruz has very passionated people that are following him, but he has never been good at expanding his appeal beyond that group that is already passionate about his candidacy,” Hawkes said.

Although Trump has spent most of the election insulting Cruz and calling him a liar, he changed his tune, making respectful comments towards Cruz after he dropped out of the race.

Trump has also turned his focus from battling his Republican counterparts to the general election. He has already begun taking shots at Hillary Clinton and trying to sway some of the Democratic supporters of Bernie Sanders along the way. Trump has already coined the term “Crooked Hillary Clinton” to belittle his future opponent.

Trump is also tasked with the challenge of uniting the Republican party. Many of the leaders of the party support him, but others have said they will not or they are undecided. It is still unknown if Cruz will support or endorse Trump in the general election this November.

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