I was reading this article about how Evangelical Christians (or 1/3 of them anyhow) are still too prejudice against Mormons to ever consider electing a Mormon. It also mentioned that 50% of Democrats say they would have concerns about a Mormon president. This number is much higher than how they feel about Evangelical Presidents, so we know this isn’t just related to the fact that democracts are significantly less religious then Republicans. However, we also know that Democrat’s concerns with Mormons are primarily political and that a politically liberal Mormon (like Harry Reid) suffers little or no prejudice from Democrats.
Frankly, I really don’t see how a Mormon could win as president. Even though Romney is the ‘last candidate left standing’ I’m still half expecting the prejudice of the Evangelicals to oust him in some way.
In many ways the primary election this year is forcing Evangelicals to come to grips with their prejudice against Mormons. Rick Perry, after a moment of Evangelical euphoria, turned out to be a really bad candidate. So the Evangelicals all switched to Herman Cain who, in any other circumstance, would have just been a fringe candidate. In short, Cain benefited from the Anybody-but-a-Mormon factor amongsts Evangelicals.
Then the the sexual harrassment scandal happened.
I have no way of knowing for certain who is right or wrong in the harrassment scandal. I feel bad for Cain if he’s innocent and think he’s a donkey’s behind if he’s not.
Some of likened this whole situation to the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill situation from years back. But it seems pretty clear to me that there isn’t much in common. Here are the reasons as I see them:
- Clarence Thomas had only one accuser whereas Cain has four — so far.
- Thomas’ denial came across a lot more credible than did Cain’s early stumbling around based on whether or not there was a ‘settlement’ or not.
- We know there were already two ‘settlements’ at some point, which you don’t typically associate with being innocent. (And here, I have to agree with the setiment in this article, though I hate to judge women in a difficult circumstance. Still, calling the police, while more difficult personally, would have been better for society as a whole.)
- Cain’s alleged level of harrassment is far more severe than Thomas’. With Clarence Thomas the accusation was inappropriate speech. The accusations against Cain are a far more serious problem.
But at a personal level, the biggest difference between the two cases is that Cain is running in an election and Thomas was an appointee. I never felt the need to ‘decide’ who was right between Hill and Thomas whereas I must decide ‘who I believe is telling the truth’ for the purposes of an election.
And given the evidence available, I have to admit that ‘most likely’ he’s guilty. I suspect I’m not alone in feeling like the evidence is mostly against him.
Now of course in reality he is either guilty or he isn’t. And for all I know, this might be some giant conspiracy against an innocent man. So ‘most likely’ seems like an almost meaningless phrase here. Yet it’s the best way to express my lack of knowledge.
Despite all this, Cain has clung to his polling numbers and is still a top contender against Romney and sometimes even a favorite. I confess I have a question in the back of my mind: is it possible that Cain’s resilence against this scandal — that normally would have derailed a candidate — is also caused by the Anybody-but-a-Mormon factor?
Could it be that Evangelicals dislike Mormons so much that they’d rather have someone that they suspect really is a donkey’s behind than a Mormon? And you guys wonder why I voted for Obama.
Sometimes I wish I were a Democrat because I’m just not sure I like the Republicans.