The early results looked like they might be even more shocking as Evan had over 27% of the votes with 87% of the votes counted; a result that a Yahoo search still brings up. Back in late October polls had Evan leading Trump and Hillary. Evan was flying high and then crashed and burned.
Just as October was drawing to a close William Daniel Johnson (notable Mormon activist and chairman of the American Freedom Party) paid for a couple hundred thousand robo-calls attacking Evan, and Evan's numbers plummeted. I was told, by some of the same people that had originally suggested to me the possibility of voting for Evan, the specifics of the attack calls, and these specifics were confirmed by newspaper stories. Gone were the glowing descriptions that had begun shortly after he announced his presidential bid on August 8th; details of Evan’s Mormon mission in Brazil, his degree from BYU, and hints at bravery during his still classified work for the CIA. Instead they were talking about how his mother had “ left his father to become a lesbian”, and how Evan was “obviously a homosexual since he had been a bachelor for 40 years”; all of the people who changed their tune (to me) about Evan stated they were planning on voting for Trump. The new anti-Evan spiels had a staleness to them like parroted positions sometimes do.
Trump’s relationship with anti-gay crusaders predated the robo-calls on his behalf by Willie Johnson, or his choosing Michael Pence as his running mate. Roy Cohn was a famous New-York and DC lawyer who fought directly against legislation for gay rights, and, as lead counsel for the McCarthy witch hunts helped craft the “Lavender menace” scare that justified the persecution of gays as the committee scorched the earth eradicating the “red menace” of suspected communists. In a 1952 interview Joe McCarthy boasted about removing 145 sexual deviants (Gays) from government employment because perverts like them were morally unfit security risks. Donald was Roy’s apprentice, and many who knew both suggest that the strength of their bond is displayed as much in the Donald’s aggressively brash style of discourse as in his words of distinct praise for his former mentor. Roy died of AIDS in 1986, and a panel of the AIDS quilt was dedicated to him; it read: “Roy Cohn – Bully, Coward, Victim”. According to Peter Fraser, Roy’s lover at the end of his life, Roy contracted the HIV virus from one or several of his many male lovers. In addition to being a homophobic homosexual it has been suggested that Roy was also an anti-Semitic Jew.
Shocked analysts have been stumbling over themselves since last Tuesday trying to explain why so many Americans could vote against their own self-interest and elect Trump. There is a large minority of LGBT individuals who supported Trump in this election. Despite being a minority of their demographic the Trump-supporting LGBT people are interesting because they voted against a self-interest that may include the fundamental ability to legally exist in the open in addition to a desire to be treated equally once they left the closet. I was treated to all sorts of pretzel logic to justify Trump support by some LGBT people. One of my favorite was that electing Trump would “put Pence into the largely symbolic position of vice president instead of allowing him to wield more dangerous power as a state governor”.
About one in five LGBT people, a notoriously difficult demographic to get mainstream information about, especially from exit polls, may have voted for Trump. This looks to be close to within the margin of error to the number of LGBT people that appear to have voted Republican in the last several elections. There are a few exit polls that suggested that a number of of Trump-supporting LGBT voters changed their mind at the last minute and did not support him with their votes, but whatever the most precise numbers it is clear that an awful lot of LGBT people voted for Trump.
The stone-cold-crazy voting bloc, as I suggested before, could have both elected Trump in this election and confused the polls. Almost every demographic has people plastering their cars with stickers proclaiming the allegiance to “Infowars.com” or questioning Obama’s birth status. Some even go so far as to write paranoid declarations of impending alien invasion , the cover-up of WTC 7, or chemtrails all over their cars in big white letters; I find the idea of chemtrails particularly amusing. This crazy block is distributed throughout all other demographics in the American electorate, but they do not, as many will want to contend, make up the majority of those that eventually did end up voting for trump in any demographic other than the one they define. What I mean is that in every demographic there were people who thought about what was best for the country and themselves, and came up with the idea that they should vote for Trump.
Trump has picked Steve Bannon as his chief stratagist. This is a powerful position, and it puts into the spotlight both Bannon’s Brietbart News agency and all the poser demagogues who work there. Amongst these is the man that would be the face of LGBT Trump support; an English bleached blond self-titled “Dangerous Faggot” by the name of Milo Yiannopoulos. Milo had the distinction, in July of 2016, of being one of the few non ISIL members permanently banned from Twitter for allegedly making disgusting racist/sexist/possibly homophobic attacks in 140 characters or less. Milo was an early passenger on the Trump train, and his (late 2015 to early 2016) “Dangerous Faggot” speaking tour would often draw feminist or Black Lives Matter protestors whose protests would be shouted down by chants of “TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP!” by others in the audience. In a perverted way Milo has become an important face for LGBT activism, and if LGBT concerns are given a seat at the table in the Trump administration it should come as no surprise if Milo is sitting in that chair.
Trump said little that was substantial on the campaign trail. He even lapsed into disjoint sentence fragments at times so some of the ephemeral stuff he dished out was incomprehensible as well. This allowed the actively delusional to hear whatever they wanted to hear in what he said.
What can be expected from a Trump presidency? There are real clues in who he has begun staffing his transition team with. These appointments, which are still being revealed, are being carefully, and more responsibly, analyzed by many other analysts. Sam Harris described the transition team as:
A clown car of ideologues and incompetence with a couple of religious maniacs thrown in. – Sam Harris from his 12 November 2016 podcast “Waking Up With Sam Harris #51 - The Most Powerful Clown”
Amongst this menagerie are people like Kris Kobach, and the Vice President elect Mike Pence, both of whom support the effectiveness of “gay conversion therapy”. Though there may be a push for re-education of white males with college degrees there has not yet been open discussion of shoving electrical cords in our ears and zapping us whenever we react positively to David Bowie or Tilda Swinton. LGBT Trump supporters may literally have been voting against the open existence of their demographic. Perhaps they were channeling their inner Roy Cohn?
To be perfectly honest I do not personally think that there is a pathway to re-criminalization of homosexuality even if members of rapidly forming Trump administration may want it. However, that desire to eliminate openly gay people from the fabric of American culture is a clue that bad things that can be done might be attempted. With a GOP majority in the House and Senate, and a few Supreme Court justices thrown in, there is a distinct possibility that bad things that are attempted will be successful.
My favorite candidate on the Utah ballot won about as much of the popular vote as Evan. Misty K. Snow contested a seat in the US Senate held by Mike Lee. She had a wonderful platform whose main plank –the fact that she was not Mike Lee- earned her my wholehearted support.
Misty was not the perfect candidate. She had about as much experience in politics as our new president-elect, and significantly less education. I listened to her single debate against Lee and was irritated by her conciliatory and deferential tone. I wanted someone who would go after Lee tooth and nail. It was literally impossible for a Democrat –especially a woman- to defeat Tea-Party darling Mike Lee, but I wished that she could have taken a bigger bite out of him as he used wandering trivial patronizing metaphors as stand ins for opinions or answers in the debate. Instead of ripping out his jugular and leaving him bleeding on the stage she was cordial and polite; I wanted blood.
There are certainly places for being “nice”. One could reasonably argue that it is good to be “nice” almost everywhere, but there have to be “nice” ways of eviscerating people who represent the worst in society. There is way too much “nice” in Utah amongst those caused harm by the culture here and the religion that encourages and protects some of the more hurtful parts of that culture.
Sometime recently passed was apparently the one year anniversary of the LDS church’s decision to make apostates of people who are connected by family ties to people in same-sex marriages. Normally the process of getting your name removed from Mormon church records is involved, and my immediate reaction to the Church manufacturing new groups of apostates is to imagine them mailing “get out of jail free” cards to unsuspecting members.
Instead of shouting “YAY!” many Mormon LGBT wring their hands and suggest the church rethink its position. I ask you: why don’t people simply point out that LDS magic underwear is decidedly unsexy and everything else in the church is based on wacky stupid ideas? There is no shortage of good reasons to want to become an apostate to the LDS church. If the premises of something are stupid then what does it make you sound like when you testify that they are true? The opinions about LGBT issues by the LDS church should not matter because the LDS church itself should not matter.
There appears to be a barrage of art that is, in part, concerned with reconciling the LDS stance on LGBT people with their “right” to be Mormon. There were endless articles, a bunch of films, a play called “Facing East”, and a documentary film about gay missionaries called “Latter Day Glory” is currently being filmed. It might be interesting to see film footage showing people the gay missionaries converted during their mission telling their former mentors that they were going to suffer some kind of eternal damnation because they were gay. I realize that there is some sort of special “Mormons don’t believe in Hell” slippery pseudo explanation, and that the “Latter Day Glory” film will probably be saccharine with niceties for currently believing LGBT Mormons, but I want the disillusioned masses of fence-sitting Mormons to rise up and shed some metaphorical blood, or at least say something like: “The Emperor has no clothes and a funny hair pattern on his back”.