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Former McCain aide says Trump has alienated Mormon voters in Arizona — and it’s hurting him badly

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2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, businessman Donald Trump -- Screen shots

No Democrat has won the state of Arizona since former President Bill Clinton, but President Donald Trump isn’t doing well in the state and it seems he could even lose as the state is slowly growing more “purple.”

In an interview with former senior adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) Mark Salter, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi noted that there has always been large communities of Mormons who would be solid Republican voters. But under Trump, that isn’t necessarily the case.

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“You were talking about changing demographics,” Velshi said about a conversation he had with Salter yesterday. “There is a good conservative Christian population and a significant minority of Mormons who would have been solidly in the Republican column for the last many decades. There’s a bit of a shift there that you were talking about, can you tell me about that?”

“Well, yeah, he is not — he does better with evangelicals than he deserves to do given his own personal habits, but he doesn’t do well with Mormons, who are very upright people,” said Salter. “They also I think probably take a dim view of his offensive remarks about Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), so that’s a weak point for him. Jeff Flake, again, also a Mormon, who has been quite outspoken to President Trump’s behavior and personal style. but he has a lot of friends out there, too. So, yeah, it is definitely a softened vote for him.”

Host Steve Kornacki noted that when people lose or their term is over they generally back away and stay quiet. Being quiet isn’t Trump’s style, even if the Republican Party wants to change its image.

“Knock on wood he does lose,” said Salter. “They can’t move on unless he does. It was never about politics or ideology. It has always been about Trump for Trump. And the attention that he craves with an insatiable appetite. I think it will take us a few cycles. The bigger the repudiation, the better I think. But there will be Republicans running for president who will be promoting a brand of Trumpism without the crazy tweets and undisciplined personal behavior. It will be nativist and antiimmigrant, and quasi-protectionist and America First type stuff. And then there will be others offering a more conservative brand — a traditional form of conservatism. And I think it will take a few election cycles if not longer to sort it out. It’ll be a long battle and I’m not sure the outcome. But the fact remains that right now the Republican Party succeeds best the more people it discourages from voting. So, something has to change and what we have been doing the last four years will guarantee our extension.”

See the full conversation below:

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