A Few Thoughts on the Republican Candidate

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:

  1. Clarence Thomas had only one accuser whereas Cain has four — so far.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.

48 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts on the Republican Candidate

  1. There is an easy solution: vote for Ron Paul.

    To his credit, Romney has made some very serious policy proposals on entitlements and government spending in the last week while Cain has been self-destructing.

    But as I said on my Facebook page, the Republican candidates are so bad I sometimes think they are (most of them) Democrat sleeper agents planted for just this time. I mean, who would have ever thought the long-time governor of Texas could possibly have been the single least articulate person in the entire world and that Cain could have made Clinton look like the 40-year-old virgin?

  2. How I love Ron Paul. That guy is so awesome. It was my privilege to canvass and vote for him in 2008.

    Regarding the article, I agree that it is not plausible for a Mormon to win the evangelical base, at least in its more fervent areas. I think the majority of serious evangelicals will stay home if it comes to Romney v. Obama. I don’t know if that will have any effect on the outcome of the election since less radical Republicans will probably still turn out for Romney. It will probably break several swing states, like Pennsylvania or Iowa, though.

    I also think that they intentionally run an evangelical spoiler candidate when Romney is up. Huckabee played that role last cycle and I think that Rick Perry was probably intended to play that role this time, given his repeated sentiments that he would not run for President, etc. My guess is that someone talked him into doing it long enough to keep Romney out of play. They don’t have to crush him — just have to split the primaries badly enough that he concedes, as he did in 2008 (only a few days before my caucus, at it turns out; the stake president’s family was still there to represent Romney in the pre-vote stumping, though).

  3. Well, the previous governor of Texas was the second least articulate, so maybe it shouldn’t have been that surprising. The funny thing is that although there are fewer of them, Mormons have become over the past century more in the mainstream of the United States than Evangelicals. Mormons are overrepresented in Congress on a per capita basis.

  4. One thing that could turn Evangelicals around on the Mormon issue: If there simply is no other legitimate choice than Romney, and if Democrats really start mocking Mormonism to score political points, Evangelicals will be the first to rally around Mormons, self-righteously lambasting the religious prejudice of godless liberals. Once they’ve done this, there is no turning back. They have to make friends with us, and put aside their differences. Any enemy of my enemy, is my friend.

    All this is great for the church, whatever happens.

  5. For those of you too young to remember the Nixon campaign in 1972 launched a series of “dirty tricks” to derail all the Democratic candidates except George McGovern, who they correctly considered to be the weakest one. The forged “Canuck Letter” which tried to make out Ed Muskie as being prejudiced against French Canadians was probably the most successful. Muskie’s “crying speech” in response to the fraud, in essence, ended his campaign

    Some of the “dirty tricks” were abndoned at the planning stage (kidnapping some Democratic officials and putting them on a boat with “ladies of the evening” while giving a few tips to the press). Some were disasterous (Watergate break in. A few were humoreus (a political spy who kept a coin dispenser on his belt so he could keep making calls on a payphone).

    The point? Democrats would be absolutely crazy to do anything like that. The Republican candidates are doing such a good job of becoming a circular firing squad. Where could they get someone with the imagination to do the things Rick, Michelle, the other Rick, Newt et al are doing to themselves?

    Even Mitt Romney can’t help himself. In the last few days he has called himself both middle class and unemployed. He has even endorsed the personhood bill which would make abortions to save the life of a mother and the morning after pill for victums of rape illegal. It is so poorly written that a woman who did such would be guilty of first degree murder. Can you imagine the TV ads that you could create about that?

    As a good Democrat, I can only say keep up the good work..

  6. Here’s a possibility that we may not consider very often: disappointed with a Mormon candidate and (illegitimately) horrified of Obama, “the Tea Party” runs a third party candidate. I wouldn’t be surprised if something like this isn’t already in the works. It would give the evangelicals an acceptable candidate, create a lot of attention for the people involved, and do some other things that the people who wouldn’t vote for Romney due to his Mormonism might like.

    The likely outcome of this is spoiling the Republican ticket and guaranteeing a democratic re-election while conservatives split the vote between two similar candidates. I think a scenario like the one described above is almost a certainty if Ron Paul gets the Republican ticket (which is nearly impossible, of course).

    I bet, however, if Glenn Beck ran, you’d have a hard time keeping very many evangelicals away. It’s easy to bag on Romney since no one really likes him, but Beck is a whole different story.

  7. I don’t know how Democrats will respond to Mormonism if Romney wins the primary, but I was heartened by Joe Biden’s recent remarks regarding a Mormon in the White House.

    “I find it preposterous that in 2011 we’re debating whether or not a man is qualified or worthy of your vote based on whether or not his religion … is a disqualifying provision,” Biden told an audience at the University of Pittsburgh.

    “It is not. It is embarrassing and we should be ashamed, anyone who thinks that way.”

    “I think it’s outrageous. I think it’s outrageous.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/04/us-usa-campaign-biden-romney-idUSTRE7A371Q20111104

    Despite ample opportunity, the entire GOP candidate field (with the exception of the Mormons) has dodged the issue. Biden’s set a good example for Democrats–I hope they’ll follow it.

  8. Tim, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson have both made similar comments. Even Gingrich has said it is ridiculous to focus on religion and that it is wrong to call Mormonism a cult. You are correct that Cain and Perry and Santorum have mostly dodged the issue.

    I would also like to remind all those self-righteous liberals out there that Gallup polling has shown more Democrats than Republicans say they would not vote for a Mormon for president. So, this is a bipartisan problem, not one where you can say Democrats are somehow more “tolerant” on this issue than Republicans, because the truth is both sides are bigoted.

    But even having said that, I tend to think discussions like this exaggerate the role of religion. I am active in the tea party, as are many people in my stake in northern Colorado, and nobody has once asked me my religion or brought up religion or even social issues at all. The focus of the tea party is on cutting spending. Period. So, to claim that a tea party candidate will get evangelical support shows a lack of understanding of the entire climate.

    There are a variety of different pressure groups. There are business groups. There are people who want to cut spending. There are religious groups. There are even secular anti-abortion, anti-SSM groups. Sometimes they overlap and sometimes they coalesce. Some people are bigoted towards Mormons for a variety of weird reasons, and sometimes evangelicals love Mormons. I just don’t see the situation as being as cut and dried as many people. Romney will be opposed by some Republicans because he is Mormon, but I still think it is a small, small party of the party, perhaps less than 10 percent of the voters. If he becomes the nominee, he will be opposed by liberals who don’t like the Church’s stance on gay marriage and are basically left-wing bigots(go google “Laurence O’Donnell Mormon” for an example).

    Is anti-Mormon bigotry a bigger problem for Romney than anti-black bigotry was for Obama? I tend to think not.

  9. Is anti-Mormon bigotry a bigger problem for Romney than anti-black bigotry was for Obama? I tend to think not.

    I think it is. It is far more okay to be openly derogatory of someone’s religion, than of someone’s skin color.

  10. Sorry, Geoff B. I should have said “the entire relevant or once-relevant GOP candidate field.”

    And I think that the reason the numbers for Democrats are so high is based almost entirely on the fact that the church is against gay marriage. I doubt an LDS Democrat who toes the party line on gay marriage would face anywhere near the religious discrimination from the left that Romney faces from the right. Liberals dislike the church because of the stance on gay marriage; conservatives dislike the church because they think we’re a cult or not Christian.

  11. Tim, please see this:

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/mark-finkelstein/2007/12/08/larry-odonnells-anti-mormon-rant-demented-racist-pro-slavery-crazy

    And this:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_big_idea/2006/12/romneys_religion.html

    If Romney becomes the nominee, we will see a HUGE outpouring of left-wing vitriol toward the Church. It will not be just because of gay marriage. Mormons will be seen as “weird.” Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann will make puns about the temple, about proxy baptism, about garments, polygamy, blacks and the priesthood and on and on and on. Left-wingers, prepare yourselves: your entire self-righteous world (where Republicans are mean, bigoted homophobes and Democrats are nice, tolerant people who are open to all religions) is about to come crashing down your heads (if you are honest with yourself).

  12. Absolutely agree Geoff B. Liberals always say “its because Mormons are mostly seen as Conservative, and not their religious beliefs,” but that is absolutely false. You could have used that Washington Post lady as another example, even though she used other people’s (almost all of them liberals of her variety) to hide her contempt. I have been thinking of making a post that has side by side quotes from Conservatives and Liberals about Mormon beliefs and practices, then asking to point out what side of the isle they come from. It is often surprising how similar the language is even down to the charges of racism. I dare say that the liberal attacks at times cross the line into calls for social ostracism and not just political disagreements.

  13. Jettboy, you should have a post called “name the bigot” in which we get to pick from a list of anti-Mormon comments and then guess who made them. Dems and Repubs are both represented in this hall of shame. But if Romney is the nominee, you will be hearing a LOT more anti-Mormon tripe from the left. Will Harry Reid step forward to condemn the left? We shall see, but I doubt it.

  14. Question–are there any articles by liberals criticizing a liberal politician’s (such as Harry Reid) religious beliefs? While some of the more incendiary liberals may attack the Mormon faith when discussing Romney, are they willing to do the same when discussing someone in their own political camp? Could it be that liberals are only attacking the Mormon church in order to attack Romney?

    I have no doubt that Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann will make vitriolic remarks about the church. They’re the left’s answer to Beck and Limbaugh, and just as despicable. But Biden’s already set the tone for the Mormon discussion, and it’s entirely positive. In other words, it’s a welcome change from what we’ve been seeing on the right. Can you really see some guy introducing Obama at a large function and insulting Mormons in the same breath? I think the Obama/Romney fight will remain pretty friendly towards religious issues, with the exception of blowhards on the left (and far removed from the actual president) attacking Mormonism and blowhards on the right (far removed from Romney) calling Obama a Muslim. The kind of ugly anti-Mormonism exhibited at the Values Voter Summit–by multiple speakers, by the way–won’t occur at similarly important Democrat conventions.

  15. Tim, O’Donnell and Weisberg are well-respected spokespeople for the left, and their attack was not just on Romney, it was an attack on anybody involved in the religion. I hope you are right that we won’t see more ugly anti-Mormonism on the left, but I’d be willing to bet you a Portuguese language Book of Mormon that we will see this on a daily basis as the campaign heats up (and if Romney is the Republican candidate). And yes, we will also see some more subtle anti-Mormonism out of the Perry campaign, so it will be a bipartisan affair.

  16. I’ve been reasonable happy with being a practicing but not true believing Democrat. There’s always room for one more!

  17. Tim, I will make one more point that I think is difficult to ignore. There are many, many right-wing talk hosts. Hannity, Rush, Beck, O’Reilly, etc, etc. I have never heard any of them say anything about Mormonism similar to Lawrence O’Donnell. Yet O’donnell is given an hour a day on MSNBC to spew his hate. There is no opprobrium, no insistence that he apologize. The left just lets it ride and loves it when O’Donnell criticizes Republicans. Meanwhile, almost all of the right-wing talk hosts think Romney is too liberal and should not be the candidate, yet you never hear them calling Mormonism “crazy,” as O’Donnell does. When it comes specifically to the issue of Mormonism, there is simply a double standard that the left cannot overcome. The double standard is: it is simply not acceptable on right-wing talk shows to insult Mormonism, but it is on left-wing talk shows. (By the way, on the left, it is not acceptable to insult Islam, but it is on the right, so there is a ridiculous double standard going on). I am aware of all of the other areas where crazy evangelicals and Huckabee have insulted Mormonism, but if you listened to ANY of the above shows you will find that ALL of them decried the fact that the evangelical pastors linked to Perry called Mormonism a cult. Again, we are about to face some extremely ugly stuff on the left if Romney wins the nomination. Welcome to the real world.

  18. O’Donnell: “[U]nlike you, I am not a progressive. I am not a liberal who is so afraid of the word that I had to change my name to progressive. Liberals amuse me. I am a socialist. I live to the extreme left, the extreme left of you mere liberals.” That sure doesn’t sound like a spokesperson for people who identify as liberals…

    And Weisberg has publicly changed his views on the issue, and even called Romney a “sane, intelligent and reasonable man.” http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700187180/Cult-of-intolerance.html

    I don’t doubt some on the left will bring it up. But I think Obama will take Biden’s approach and quickly distance himself from and call out any hints of anti-Mormonism. And I think most of the moderate left will be smart enough to leave it alone.

  19. I personally wasn’t going for the “big names” in my post thoughts, although I could. No, I was thinking of postings from one of the “Big” sites and then another from the “Huff” site, then ask what one they came from. It really is astonishing when you take off your political bias glasses. I hope that Democrats take Biden’s advice, but that doesn’t mean the rank and file will.

  20. Tim. Plus one for that on weisberg, which is an improvement. I would just remind you of SOP for campaigns, which is that leading candidates don’t make the outrageous statements – they leave that to surrogates so they can remain above the fray. This is why Perry left Jeffers to call Mormonism a cult and then Perry could say it’s not a cult. Perry appears tolerant, but the message still gets out there. Watch for this tactic in the coming months if romney is the nominee. O’Donnell, Maddow, Olbermann, Sharpton, Grayson, Wasserman-shultz, etc. These are the ones who will be reminding swing voters that Romney is a Mormon. Biden and Obama can therefore “above the fray” by saying “tolerant” things while their surrogates stir the anti-Mormon pot.

  21. I also want to see Jetboy’s quiz on sources of anti-mormon vitrol. Although liberal and conservative attacks on Mormonism may sound the same, they come from two very different points of view.

    Both will mock the crazy peculiarities of our history and beliefs, but the implications will be different. Coming from a liberal, the implication is: how can we trust someone who believes in such backwards, primitive nonsense? From a conservative, the implication will be, how can we trust someone who belongs to a deceitful cult, who say they are Christians, but are really not like the rest of us. To a liberal, Mormonism is preposterous nonsense, to conservatives, it’s of the devil.

    But Huntsman delt a blow to the liberal perception of Mormon craziness when he said “call me crazy, but I trust science on global warming and evolution.” And Romney has consistently shown himself to be the most level headed, practical minded person in the GOP crowd, so accusations of crazy beliefs can only go so far, especially when the other GOP alternatives were far more crazy in their own bombastic rhetoric playing to the base.

    Of all the candidates, Romney’s religious beliefs seem to least affect his policies and strategy. He’s a hardcore pragmatic. He only instituted Romneycare for example, because he was given a technical problem, (overflowing uninsured patients at the ERs) and implemented a practical solution. Unlike Obama, he was not motivated by sympathy for the uninsured and downtrodden. This was his cold, calculated approach to business as well, and it was ruthlessly effective.

    The accusation anyone should be making about Romney is that he is not Mormon enough. Or that he approaches politics and business with complete amorality. (Not immorality, but amorality.)

  22. I’m somewhat disappointed to see conventional “liberal” and “conservative” labels applied in the malicious fashion that commentators prefer here.

    >”The focus of the tea party is on cutting spending. Period. So, to claim that a tea party candidate will get evangelical support shows a lack of understanding of the entire climate.”

    I disagree. I am aware of the climate. I am aware of the “Tea Party” movement and its origin and purposes. I feel that I understand them.

    I don’t believe that the Tea Party is unitedly about “cutting spending, period”. I think that the Tea Party is seen by many disenfranchised Republicans not only as an answer to a lack of legislative or fiscal execution but also as a manifestation of cultural distaste for politically correct, whitewashed information sources. Of course everyone hates that whitewash, so maybe it’s implied in any political upswell that part of it is counter-action against “mishandling” of constituents by politicians.

    When Glenn Beck is holding rallies that center around interdenominational prayer and “bringing this country back to God”, I don’t think you can really accurately classify that as about “cutting spending, period”. There are obviously some other things at play here.

  23. The one thing that voters won’t overlook is idiocy. And I’m afraid that there are just too many voters out there who mistakenly see LDS Church membership as evidence of idiocy. Plural marriage? Special underwear? Proxy baptism of Jews? It’ll all be seen as evidence that we’re bonkers. And you certainly wouldn’t want a guy who’s bonkers to have access to the nuclear codes.

  24. “Although liberal and conservative attacks on Mormonism may sound the same, they come from two very different points of view.”

    I don’t deny this actually. My point is against those who say that liberals or Democrats don’t show harsh religious criticism or bigotry toward Mormons when they obviously do.

  25. Geoff B, you need mentioned above that you have never heard conservative hosts talk about Mormons being considered crazy…but Beck (one of the men you put into that category)is a Mormon. Of course he isnt going to be talk about them being crazy. As far as you saying the left are the one’s attacking the Mormon’s, that simply isnt true. yes, some of them have done it, but it isnt only the left. I truly believe that If Reid did something that the Libs didnt like, they would definitely get on his case as well. The argument isnt strictly based on religion from the liberal side. The liberal side also isnt all God less. Many of them believe in a higher power, but simply dont practice wiht an organized religion. Which brings me back to my point. Liberals dont dislike Romney because he is a Mormon. They dislike him because of his standings politically. A lot of them are fed up with Obama as well, but would rather have Obama due to the simple fact that Romney is like a fish on land. He flops more than most politicians do in their entire career. The only actual thing that the Blue side has against the Mormon stance is the gay right issue. If Romney said he supported gay rights, the Mormon issue would never even be mentioned, let alone be considered an issue from the liberal side. The reason it is brought up and considered an issue from the liberals, is the fact that some fear he will put his personal religious beliefs on the rest of the country. And i am sorry, but you can have your own religion, but you cant impose that belief on all the others in country that dont choose to be a part of that belief system. The real people in this country that are making a bad name for the Mormons are the bible belt conservatives. Those are the ones that started the Mormon topic in the first place with this election. Obviously people wondered if a Mormon could become President, but it was Perry’s Pastor buddy that started this fire, and that was all part of the conservative political strategy. You cant say that the liberals opinion of Mormons is what is hurting his chances, because the conservatives have had more issues with the topic than anybody. As you mentioned above, Biden supported the fact that he was Mormon, and many people on both sides of the isle supported his comments. But Republicans like Perry and Huckabee are the true enemy of Romney. They truly act as though they would rather have Obama in office than a Mormon, and that is where our true problem lies. And those people have a voice as big, if not bigger than any of the liberals taking jabs. The Republicans have caused more damage to the mormon religion that Big Love!

  26. Don’t underestimate what a bad economy can do to shake up people’s “principles.” Romney really may have a shot at this one.

  27. I think the 1/3 of evangelicals who wouldn’t vote for a Mormon would be even less likely to vote for a “nee grow”.

    It’s curious that most people won’t bat an eyelash at imperial oppression and genocide but flip out over just the allegation of hanky panky.

    I despised Clinton when he was in office, but now I want him back. Horn dog or not.

  28. I’m a little curious as to who all these “self-righteous liberals” are that you guys are talking about — you know, the ones who are somehow unaware of O’Donnell or countless other atheists who are virulent anti-mormons. I don’t know any. Seriously, Geoff and Jettboy — do you think that LDS democrats are completely in the dark about such things? Ridiculous characterizations, gentlemen.

  29. Actually Steve, I see the argument made nearly on a daily basis on Facebook that the vast majority of the anti-Mormonism comes from the right wing and that liberals are tolerant and would never do such things. You are seeing a variant of that argument right on this thread. As I say above, liberals tend to be more tolerant of Islam than conservatives, but for some reason that does not apply to Mormonism. Now that we seem to agree that such anti-Mormonism is a bad thing, I look forward to your many posts condemning the inevitable anti-Mormonism that will spew forth from left-wing commentators in the coming year. (Based on last night’s debate, I am assuming Romney will be the Republican candidate, but of course this could change).

  30. How can anyone make serious policy proposals when they have sold their soul to the tea party? The tea party is so extreme they would not give Ronald Reagan on his best day the nomination. They would rather attack our government, and maybe even destroy it, than actually engage in serious policy proposals. They are not conservatives. They are radicals.

  31. Geoff, I’ve never seen a faithful Mormon liberal who was tolerant of anti-Mormonism, regardless of its origin. I would generally say the same is true of conservative Mormons. I don’t think you’re seeing any variations of that argument (“anti-Mormonism comes from the right wing and that liberals are tolerant and would never do such things”) on this thread at all! Seriously, you’re chasing phantoms.

  32. Steve, I’ll forward you some examples in the months ahead as they come up. As I say, I gladly look forward to uniting with you in denouncing the inevitable ugliness as it takes place.

  33. I think the hateful vitriol on both sides will become so intense that eventually President Romney will push the button and everyone will be subject to nuclear annihilation. When the fallout subsides, our new Simian overlords will herd us like cattle, and I will look forward to riding along the beach with a mute supermodel, only to find a semi-immersed Statue of Liberty and to promptly damn all non-Mormons to Hell.

  34. Geoff,
    We, at the BCC, live to serve. So much so that we started on the anti-Mormon, progressive irritation wagon well before you lobbed that particular volley our way. See here.

    I personally don’t look forward to writing about anti-Mormonism from any source, conservative or liberal. But, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

  35. Seems I hit a nerve with that “self-righteous liberal” comment. :)

    As I say, I wish I could count on left-wing surrogates to treat Mormons with the same tolerance they treat Islam, but it won’t be happening. I look forward to us working together to fight the common enemy.

  36. “Is anti-Mormon bigotry a bigger problem for Romney than anti-black bigotry was for Obama? I tend to think not.”

    Geoff,

    My stats are a bit out of date and from memory, so don’t sue me if I don’t get it quite right. But I do remember specific statistics on this.

    There was 8% of white voters that, during the election for Obama, would not vote for a black man. This was offset by the fact that of black voters, something like 90% of them would vote for Obama. So the prejudice against Obama as an African American had shrunk enough that it was a non-factor.

    By comparison, the number of voters that would not vote for a Mormon was like 25% across the board. (If I am remembering correctly.) It’s enough to virtually guarentee a Mormon can’t win as President unless they can effectively disuade some large % of those voters to give up their prejudice. (Obviously, not all of them are hard core, and I have no statistics on that.)

    Probably 90% of Mormons would vote for a Mormon but since Mormons are a much smaller minority than African Americans, thereis not a compenstating factor here.

  37. As for Liberals vs. Conservative bigotry towards Mormons, I think that Geoff’s position and Tim’s positions are NOT mutually exclusive.

    First, if you measure straight bigotry, I think you’ll find it’s about equal on both sides or that Democrats on average have a bit more prejudice towards Mormons in the sense of there being a bit more of them willing to say intolerant things. So measured in terms of actual intolerance, I think Geoff is basically right.

    However, I think Democrats, being less religious, would have more of such prejudice because they also have such prejudice against Evangelicals and probably do little to differentiate between Mormons and Evangelicals if they are not religious.

    Further, I think liberalism is far more likely to be ‘a religion’ then conservativism is. Conservatives tend to have a religion separate from (but integrated with) their politics. A strongly devout Christian is a Christian first and a Republican second. (Obviously there are a LOT of exceptions. But we are talking my guesses as to average cases.)

    Because liberals are less religious (see Geoff’s links) their liberalism often *is* their religion AND their politics.

    Because of this, of course we’d expect a liberal Mormon running for President to receive not the slightest hint of prejudice out of Democrats so long as he’s first and foremost part of “their religion.” Liberals will not care what he practices, only what he preaches. If he’s an orthodox liberal, I’d expect liberals to unite behind him just fine and to cite religious prejudice against any Evangelical that would dare bring up their candidate’s religion.

    But so long as the Mormon running is seen as a “heretic” to the “liberal faith” many of them see intolerance towards his religious beliefs as basically fair game. That is why you’ll see more intolerance spew forth out of democrats than even republicans against a conservative Mormon running.

    On the other hand, an authentic conservative (which some claim Romney isn’t) would still be hated by the part of the Republican party that ‘won’t vote for a Mormon.’ Tim is basically correct about the difference here.

    So Geoff is right that there is as much (or maybe more) prejudice amongst liberals towards Mormons as conservatives and Tim is right that it’s different where the prejudice stems from and therefore we’d expect different sort of outcomes given the circumstances.

    Incidentally, a liberal Mormon running for President would probably get very few Mormon votes because he’d be considered ‘a traitor.’ This is what happened to Kerry and the Catholic Church and the same would happen with a liberal Mormon.

  38. My prediction to be noted (and hopefully disproven) for later:

    Newt Gingrich will experience a sudden last minute surge in the polls just like McCain did and will either win the nomination or will almost derail Romney. If Romney wins the nomination, I’m still convinced it’s pure accident that the anti-Mormon vote had all their spoilers accidently go down in flames too quickly and Romney accidently ended up being the last man standing.

    Other possible outcomes to look for that will be strong indications that I’m right about the 1/3 of Evanglicals that will not vote for a Mormon:

    Cain still wins.
    There is a reporting of drastic amounts of ‘staying home.’
    There is a break off party that runs (as noted in someone’s comments above.) Possibly but not necessarily the Tea Party.

    If I’m wrong about this and Evangelicals strongly get behind Romney, I’ll gladly and willingly print a post about how times have changed and I was wrong and how glad I am that I was wrong. But right now I’m still feeling rather pessimistic.

  39. Geoff,

    I just thought you mean “this is for self-righteous liberals (not claiming it a majority)” and not “liberals are all self-righteous.” Buy, hey…

  40. Good point on #41.

    Cain and Perry have both self-destructed. Gingrich is surging. So, will right-wing bigots choose the twice-divorced, inconsistent, irreligious but smooth-talking Gingrich over the Mormon family man, Romney? We will see.

    Just a reminder that there is an authentically conservative third choice, who is a Christian and a family man and is not bigoted. That would be Ron Paul.

  41. “So, will right-wing bigots choose the twice-divorced, inconsistent, irreligious but smooth-talking Gingrich over the Mormon family man, Romney?”

    I think they would have, yes. It might be too late for Gingrich. Had not Cain surged first, Gingrich (despite having no campaign) would probably have been the Evangelical choice.

  42. Unfortunately, Harold Bloom’s recent article in the New York Times is a blathering piece of fearmongering. It attacks other religions too, but as it is focused on Romney’s religion, it’s particularly harsh towards the LDS church.

    Two things: First, it looks like liberals are starting to attack Romney more and more, with more and more confidence that he’ll be the Republican choice.

    Second, here begins the attack on Mormons from non-conservatives. I hope we don’t see more of it, and I certainly hope those connected to Obama in any way refrain from attacking.

    The next year or so should be interesting…

  43. Geoff: and you’ll be happy to see liberal Mormons making you proud in denouncing Bloom’s nonsense. Even Joanna Brooks is putting up a rebuttal this morning :)

  44. Ben, agreed, for the most part. I did see many liberal Mormons defending Bloom on Facebook yesterday. Some of the defenses were pure nonsense, but others were just the usual back and forth you see between academics. Bloom deserves a full-throated yowl of protest for his ridiculous column.

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