Via McKay Coppins, it seems that Hillary Clinton is determined not to let Mormon dislike of Donald Trump go to waste. I don’t know how serious her effort is or if she will actually spend money there, but she has penned an op-ed in the LDS Church owned Deseret News, which is striking in and of itself:
Hillary Clinton will pitch her candidacy to Mormon voters in Utah with an op-ed Wednesday in the church-owned Deseret News.
“I’ve been fighting to defend religious freedom for years,” Clinton writes in an excerpt of the op-ed provided to BuzzFeed News. “As secretary of state, I made it a cornerstone of our foreign policy to protect the rights of religious minorities around the world — from Coptic Christians in Egypt, to Buddhists in Tibet.”
While members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have traditionally been some of the most reliably Republican voters in the country, they have beenstrongly resistant to Donald Trump’s candidacy this year. Several Utah polls have shown Clinton within striking distance of Trump. Meanwhile, two third-party candidates — Libertarian Gary Johnson, and independent conservative Evan McMullin — are headquartering their campaigns in Salt Lake City, hoping to take advantage of Trump’s struggle to connect with the electorate there.
Given that Clinton has already pulled advertising money from Virginia and Colorado, which her campaign considers to be already in the bag, this move is pretty striking indeed. It reminds me of Reagan’s campaign in 1984, which mounted an aggressive campaign in Massachusetts, just because they wanted to come as close to running the board as they possibly could.
Hillary could be attempting to do the exact same thing. I don’t think she wants to just win, I think she wants to argue that she won by a historic margin and thus that the entire country is behind her. I am not sure it will be all that compelling of an argument, given her own favorability numbers; if it happens that Clinton wins 40 or 45 states, it will mostly be because America is united against Trump. But the fact that Hillary is making this outreach at all – even if just as a trial balloon – means that she intends to run up the score on Trump, if possible.