Could It Be Any More Obvious that Republicans Hate Mormons?

For those that are wondering: yes, the title is just meant to catch your attention. Sort of.

Just a few days ago I predicted a surge for Gingrich. Now we’ve got one. Not much of a prediction really as it’s entirely expected. Evangelicals just can’t vote for a Mormon. It doesn’t matter if he’s ahead in the polls in a race with Obama (and is the only one of the Republican candidates that is.) Because — as I’ve said elsewhere — Evangelicals are generally religious first and political second. (Nothing wrong with that in and of itself.)

A Mormon president is simply unthinkable to a devout Evangelical. It would utterly undermine everything they’ve used for a century as their primary form of border control. You won’t be able to go to an anti-Mormon class without someone in the group raising their hand and saying “oh, come on, the President of the United States is Mormon. We must be missing something here.”

What would it take to end anti-Mormon bigotry in Evangelical Churches? Not much. In fact, if one Evangelical in every Evangelical church went to their minister and said “you need to start treating Mormons tolerantly or I’m out of here” they entire counter cult movement would disappear overnight outside of a few ‘skin-head’ style churches.

This is the problem. Most Evangelicals aren’t outright bigots towards Mormons. Only about 1/3 are. The rest, however, have just enough sympathy to the bigoted group to let it go on without resisting.

A Mormon President would likely put a massive wrench in everything they are trying to do. It might even been enough to end the anti-Mormon bigotry in a giant swath of Evangelical Churches. (Though it would not endear them to us… I just mean the intolerance would end. They’d be forced to come up with legitimate differences between us and them — which are many.)

So really, I don’t blame them for hating Romney so much that incompentence, probable harrassers, and adulters all look better than a Mormon. In a way, they are doing the only thing that makes sense from their point of view.

But we Mormons have got to stop kidding ourselves. The controlling faction of the Republican party hates us more than we realize. Because we just don’t have equivalent negative feelings for them, we think they don’t for us. In short, the Republican party thinks we’re a hideous cult and they just accidently made it obvious that anyone is better than a Mormon in their eyes.

Funny thing is every one of their Messiahs has turned false on them. Even Gingrich is already starting to stumble. We might just end up with a Mormon candidate (though I still doubt even Romney could beat Obama in a general election) by pure accident and over the full on objections of the controlling faction.

But honestly, I still don’t even believe that. Next up: Ron Paul finally gets his one and only chance to be a serious candidate thanks to the Romney factor.

32 thoughts on “Could It Be Any More Obvious that Republicans Hate Mormons?

  1. “So really, I don’t blame them for hating Romney so much that incompentence, probable harrassers, and adulters all look better than a Mormon. In a way, they are doing the only thing that makes sense from their point of view.”

    Living in the Deep South I can agree with what you say. However, I remain optimistic. I don’t think it’s an accident that the “I’m a Mormon” media campaigns just so happen to be going on at the same time as this whole election season. Most people do not understand us. They are bigoted. And it isn’t surprising that they’d rather turn to incompetent adulterers than some fanatical cult member. It’s a terrific opportunity for us to stand up in our communities and say, “Hey folks. We do believe different from you. But we don’t sacrifice goats, we believe Jesus is our Savior, and that whole polygamy thing was soooo 1862. So get off your high horses and be a real Christian and stop judging us!”…Or something like that.

    It doesn’t matter if they hate us. What matters is that we live our faith, share our values, and remember that even if Mitt is the Republican Nominee we shouldn’t support him because he’s Mormon, we should support him because he’s a terrific politician who can hopefully fix what’s so very messed up.

  2. I think you’re way overstating this. The Left will show who truly can’t abide a Mormon candidate should Romney get the nomination. Just this week, as its looking al the more certain, the NY Times and the New Republic are rehearsing what Obama surrogates will be whispering next year: that Mormons are racist and weird.

    Yes, there are some evangelical cranks out there but far fewer than I believe we are led to believe. The media likes to give the a megaphone because it stirs up dissension among the GOP and it plays in their stereotype of evangelicals as bigots. But heck, even the pro-Perry pastor who called Mormonism a cult last month said he likes Romney’s values and would vote for him. He is just a political hack willing to use religion as political weapon.

    Romney has plenty of liabilities that don’t include his religion. I like him, he’s probably my favorite, but mostly because everyone else don’t seem to able to withstand serious scrutiny for more than a few weeks at a time. I think you’re making a lot of unfair assumptions concluding that the rotating “anti-Romney” is evidence of anti-Mormonism. If Romney clinches the nomination, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  3. I don’t think it’s appropriate to be engaging in such rant if when it’s pointed at us we claim persecution. This is irreverent and destructive to our claim of being in the world but not of the world. It emulates the dialectical rhetoric of news stations that has polarized our country. If such a rant is desired, please omit association to the Church.

  4. There are factions within the Republican Party that want nothing to do with Mormons. At least not publicly. Privately they love our money and our support of ‘conservative’ values. Yet on display in the public square a Mormon is unacceptable.

    There are exceptions like Harry Reid, but he follows the party line so he is a ‘safe’ Mormon.

    Can Romney win the general election? Maybe.

    It goes like this. Romney has played his strength. Steady, determined, learning, flexable and appeals to independents.

    Obama and the Left including the MSM are going to have a hard time taking Romney down. Obama is going to bet on his kill of Osama, Gadaffi, and to his base the Iraq withdraw done with as little political risk to himself.

    The Iraq withdraw will begin at optimal polical advantage, but will be a lie. Yet our current President will score points on this there is no doubt. However the main reason he was elected to office had nothing to do with war policy.

    Economic.

    Obama staked his political future on the economy and has tried repeatedly to stick the mess on Republicans.

    It is Romney’s strongest area. If Romney can stay focused, pivot to the economy, and (hopefully) inspire Americans that our best days are still ahead of us (if we repent in a sense, just like he did on many social issues) then Romney wins.

    The Republican Party will really either live or die on this primary.

    The corruption has been exposed in all forms recently finacial and religious.

    So here come the ifs.

    If Romney is the nominee Republicans (most like 5/6) will get behind him. Over 1/2 independents will back Romney. Why? He is center-right. Social Security will be left alone, Medicare reform, but nothing scary. Again a center-right person.

    Democrats will be in a tizzy. I don’t mean the Left, I mean Democrats. Don’t forget Romney was elected Republican governor in a Dark Blue State at the height of their power.

    Romney does have a fighting chance especially if the economy gets worse. While some Evangelicals do hate Mormons their love of money will allow them to swallow this bitter pill. It is only 4 to 8 years.

  5. This narrative of religious bias has something to it, but here’s another one to consider: Defeating an incumbent president is very achievable; three out of the last seven times that the president asked voters for another term, the voters said, “No.” Obama is no Clinton or Reagan or even Nixon; he seems no less vulnerable than Carter and George H.W. Bush were. Yet you wrote above, “I still doubt even Romney could beat Obama in a general election.”

    Romney is a recycled Republican runner-up in the tradition of George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, and John McCain. None of those men became more compelling to voters after eight more years to mull things over. They just started out with a lot of left-over recognition and organization that happenned to carry them to a nomination. It’s not a good tradition to continue, so Republicans are casting about wondering “Against this weak, very beatable incumbent, is there any other option than proven loser Romney, the man who couldn’t even beat John McCain?”

  6. I think the evangelicals are looking for any reason not to have a Mormon as Republican candidate right now. If they cannot, then I believe they will line up with him in the presidential election, because they cannot bear 4 more years of Pres Obama even less than having a Mormon.

    I think Mitt would have a very good chance at winning against Pres Obama, especially if the economy continues sliding (which it will, barring a miracle that saves the economy), and as long as he continues to focus on the economy. I do not think Pres Obama will attack Mitt’s Mormonism, because his religious past is even stranger and scarier (Rev Wright).

  7. Next up: Ron Paul finally gets his one and only chance to be a serious candidate thanks to the Romney factor.

    You wish. Sorry, but Paul isn’t even running in the same subprimary as the rest. He is running in the libertarian standard-bearer subprimary against Gary Johnson and has won. Romney was running in the heir-apparent subprimary, and won that when Huckabee, Palin, and Jeb Bush declined to run. Everybody else is running in the “anybody-but-the-heir-apparent” subprimary in which Bachmann, Perry, and Cain have had their 15 minutes and which Gingrich now leads. His 15 minutes will be up well before the Iowa caucuses, and only Santorum and Huntsman remain. Of those Rick Santorum seems the obvious successor to Gingrich. He is ideologically consistent[ly wrong], can think on his feet, and has no skeleton’s in his closet. Why has it taken so long to get to him? He’s a Catholic, which is only slightly preferable to a Mormon. But regardless, I’m going out on a limb and predicting for the first time that Rick Santorum will win the Iowa caucuses and become the official not-Romney. But Romney will still win the nomination (and lose the general election).

  8. I think you’ve missed the point. The primary’s are the relm of the political insiders not the general public. As such, their concerns are not of doctrine except where they may also fear it affects electability.
    One issue at play here is the dependence of the republican party on the Christian Coalition. Karl Rove engineered Bush’s election based on the strength and find raising power of the CC. The coalition has come to be seen as essential to GOP success. The political insiders view is that the Christian Coalition will not be excited about a nonevangelical and therefore will fail in the general election.
    I think the philosophy is outdated, and fails to assess the current landscape accurately.

  9. Bruce, I basically agree with you, as long as we agree that there are two types of potential evangelical-friendly candidates (as alternatives to the Mormon Romney). There are the “choose us because we are true Christians,” and I would put Perry/Cain/Bachmann/Santorum in that category (interestingly, Santorum is Catholic, but he is still in this group). These candidates are subtly reminding audiences in one way or another that they are mainstream Christians and Romney is not. Then there are the “we are not bigoted against Mormons but we offer an alternative to Romney ideologically and/or we are smooth talkers and look good in debates.” This is Gingrich and Ron Paul, both of whom have spoken out against anti-Mormon bigotry. I am no fan of Gingrich, but you cannot put him in the same group as the first group because he simply is not appealing to religion because, being a serial adulterer and a huge flip-flopper on many issues, he does not have the Christian bona fides. I would also note that Ron Paul is in a completely separate category than the rest of the candidates (with the obvious exceptions of Johnson and Huntsman) because he a)speaks out firmly against anti-Mormon bigotry but b)is a strong anti-abortion Christian but c)is a libertarian on other social issues like drugs and gay marriage. So, it is problematic to claim Gingrich will specifically appeal to evangelical groups, because in many ways he won’t, and it is impossible to claim that Ron Paul is running an anti-Mormon, pro-evangelical campaign because he clearly is running the opposite type of campaign.

  10. Bruce, I agree.

    Everyone else,
    If Obama is so beatable in this election cycle, why haven’t any decent Republican contenders thrown themselves into the race (aside from Romney and Huntsman)?

  11. John C,

    For a few reasons. First, they have to spend their time fund raising and trying to catch up to Mitt, who has been raising money for 4 years. Second, they have to set up a program in many states.

    Jeb Bush carries the Bush baggage, even though he isn’t anything like his brother. People like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul are too new on the scene. Ryan Paul and Chris Christie waited to see if there were any openings, but there was always a strong conservative jumping up in the polls (and Christie is not a conservative). They now do not have the time to begin a candidacy of any merit that could get them over the finishing line. For Mitch Daniels, his wife has never liked being in the public eye, and I can imagine she put her foot down on running for president. She would, however, like to have him as Secretary of the Treasury…

    After seeing how Perry, Cain and others have been savaged by the press, many just do not want to put themselves through such a pain. Almost all have some skeletons, and really do not want it aired across the nation. Remember, Rick Perry was a fairly popular Texas governor. Now, he is viewed by most as an illiterate idiot. His popularity even in Texas will never be the same.

  12. At this point, with the general election a year away, arguing over whether Obama will win or lose is a waste of time.

  13. “why haven’t any decent Republican contenders thrown themselves into the race (aside from Romney and Huntsman)?”

    I think Rameumptom made great points for individual cases. The more general answer is that those who would be considered “decent Republican contenders” believe Romney is already a sufficient candidate. Taking Rameumption’s list we know that Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ryan Paul, drop out Tim Pawlanty who started out against him, and even Sarah Palin have come out in support of Mitt Romney. They are trying to stay out of his way so he has the chance to win the most support from the primary electorate from what I see of the evidence.

  14. Some people seem to think I was being serious when I said Ron Paul was about to surge. That was a joke.

    Geoff, I agree with your assessment. I was talking about the voters, not the candidates. I do not believe Gingrich or Paul are anti-Mormons at all. I even think several of the ‘Christian candidates’ are not anti-Mormon bigots. But I don’t blame them for utilizing their religion to try to gain favor from the 1/3 of Evangelicals that really are bigots. You do what you have to to win an election.

  15. If Ron Paul gets a crack at the nomination, thanks to the Mormon Factor of Romney, then it could truly be said that Mormon saved the Constitution! Albeit, similar to how Anakin brought balance to the Force…

  16. You’re right Stan Way, we don’t sacrifice goats, we just believe in sacrificing the son of God. Much more humane… ;)
    To be quite honest, all things being equal, if we erased all history, and someone proposed to be two alternatives. Sacrifice that innocent guy over there, and he’ll let you do it. Or sacrifice that goat over there… well, which one do you think seems less barbaric? Polygamy can’t hold a candle to it, although there are some similarities in principle (Abrahamic sacrifice).

    More broadly, I do get the feeling the entire campaign is orchestrated by the Republican Party. Romeny is the guy we’ll end up with and we pretty much knew that at the start. But can you imagine how worn out the electorate would be if all we had was non-stop Romney. We’re worn out now as it is, but at least we got to mix it up with some Ryan, Christie, Palin, Bachman, Perry, Cain, and Paul. We get to burn out the candidates one at a time and we’re left with Romney at the end as the last man standing.

  17. I would like to point out that Ron Paul is surging in Iowa at exactly the right time. If we assume that Cain will fade (a good assumption at this point), and we assume that RP supporters are more enthusiastic and will turn out in bad weather, and we assume that Dems and Independents will vote for RP more than the other candidates, it is not unreasonable to predict a Ron Paul victory in Iowa. In addition, recent polls have shown Ron Paul is second in NH (and we also have to factor in the same weather and Dem and Indepdent voting there). So, what happens if Ron Paul wins Iowa and is second in NH? Would he catch fire in other states? It will be interesting to find out.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/ia/iowa_republican_presidential_primary-1588.html

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/nh/new_hampshire_republican_presidential_primary-1581.html

  18. John C, I know that doesn’t sound like it makes sense, but its been that way in the Republican Party for decades. There has only been two candidates that the GOP establishment and the primary electorate has agreed on; that was Eisenhower and the second term of Bush. Reagan was the only time, at least for the first term, that the primary electorate won who the GOP establishment didn’t like.

  19. It just seems strange coming from a party perpetually railing against the folks in control forcing us to do what we don’t like.

  20. The Left will show who truly can’t abide a Mormon candidate should Romney get the nomination.

    I think it really comes out that they can’t abide Mormons when Reid is up for election, doesn’t it? Or perhaps they don’t like certain Mormons for reasons other than their religion, but (wrongly) use that religion as a way to ridicule them?

    I do not think Pres Obama will attack Mitt’s Mormonism, because his religious past is even stranger and scarier (Rev Wright).

    Nice. Oh, but nobody should be attacking Mitt’s Mormonism. I don’t think it’s necessary to go into how strange our religion is, but I don’t think it’s any stranger than Rev Wright to somebody in Alabama that has been Googling blood oaths and temple ceremonies.

    I would put Perry/Cain/Bachmann/Santorum in that category (interestingly, Santorum is Catholic, but he is still in this group).

    He gets a buddy pass into the group because he hates gay people and abortion, and loves invading countries full of Muslims. He’s practically part of the Evangelical Right just because of that.

    I predict Santorum is next on the list of “please give us anyone but a Mormon” candidates, especially if he does well in Iowa.

  21. If Ron Paul gets a crack at the nomination, thanks to the Mormon Factor of Romney, then it could truly be said that Mormon saved the Constitution! Albeit, similar to how Anakin brought balance to the Force…

    Best comment ever.

    My brother went on his mission to the South and he says he can’t imagine all of these preachers that hold anti-Mormon meetings twice a month are going to turn around and tell their congregations to vote for a Mormon like they did with Bush. I imagine many of them are hypocrites, but that’s pretty blatant.

    I’ll say the same thing I’ve been saying for 6 months. If Republicans really believed what they’ve been screaming about for two years, they’d nominate Ron Paul. If they are more concerned about beating Obama than what they’ve been screaming about for two years, they’ll nominate Mitt.

    I fully expect them to nominate Mitt, they’ve made it pretty clear what their priority is.

  22. In 2008 Huckabee told his supporters to back McCain so they could join forces to ensure Romney was out of the primary. McCain surged and then Huckabee stabbed McCain in the back after Romney was out of the race to try and take the nomination.

    It failed.

    This time there are ZERO canidates like Huckabee in the race that Evangelicials can turn to since Rick Perry imploded.

    Perry was their best chance and when he called Republicans(and them) heartless on immigration *snap* he was done.

    Do you know what the canidate is called that the Evangelicials are flopping about to find?

    The Anti-Romney.

    I wish I was kidding. Like your article pointed out they are looking for anyone but Romney(and Huntsman), even turning to Gingrich in desperation and possibily *gasp* the Catholic, just so Romney does not get the nomination.

    Anti-Romney = Anti=Mormon.

  23. Stephen, et al.: While it’s admittedly plain that there are probably quite a few Evangelical Republicans out there whose quest for an alternative candidate is motivated by the desire to avoid the risk of an LDS president, it seems a radical stretch to assume that this is in any way the norm. I know plenty of Republicans, even Evangelical Republicans, whose hope to nominate someone other than Romney has little or nothing to do with Romney’s faith and everything to do with perceived deficiencies in Romney’s record, stability, trustworthiness, personal appeal, etc. I myself fall into that camp; I’d be perfectly happy and perhaps even thrilled to have a Latter-day Saint as president, but neither Romney nor Huntsman seems optimal for the position (though Romney’s looking better these days). Is there really a need to assume that a preference against Romney is motivated by anti-Mormon sentiment, any more than one must assume that a preference against Obama would be racist or a preference against Bachmann would be sexist?

  24. JB,

    “it seems a radical stretch to assume that this is in any way the norm.”

    As previously stated, the studies I’ve seen in the past suggest that about 1/3 of Evangelicals are bigoted against Mormons. This matches my own experience as well. Unless you are claiming that 1/3 is the same as “the norm” then it would seem we not necessarily in disagreement.

    “Is there really a need to assume that a preference against Romney is motivated by anti-Mormon sentiment…”

    The studies I’ve seen reported have found that there is a definitive religious bias for about 1/3 of Evangelicals. I’m guessing it’s the same 1/3 as above.

    I wish I still had the link, but the story I read about the study said that they had found that Mitt Romney has two groups that consider him a flip flopper. Those that do and those that are embarrassed to admit they really just dislike him for being Mormon. They claimed their study found that this is why the flip flopper label stuck to him more than other candidates since all candidates flip flop at times for pragmatic reasons.

    I am prepared to believe that you are in the first group and its his conservative creditials you are worried about. I’m even prepared to believe that a good percentage (probably half?) of those that dislike Mitt Romney do so for non-bigoted reasons.

    But you’d be really hard pressed to convince me that his religion is not a fairly major factor given what evidence we actually do have on the subject. And you be really hard pressed to convince me that McCain had stronger conservative creditials. The truth is that it doesn’t take a very lage percentage of people that ‘won’t vote for you no matter what’ to kill your run for a presidency. This is why it had been impossible for an African American to win as president until recently. Even if the vast majority of people don’t care about race (and the vast majority do not) even 25% of the population that won’t vote for you because you are of some minority all but guarentees your failure.

    Also, they’ve done several polls/studies where they ask people if they’d be comfortable with a Mormon as President. All such polls find a fairly high percentage (though definitely a minority) that would not vote for a Mormon or would be uncomfortable with a Mormon president. All such polls have consistently made a correlation between this point of view and being an self professed Evangelical. (Though liberals score high in this regard as well.) I’ve read probably 10 such articles now from various studies and polls and they always find the same data.

    Again, for you to convince me that these statistics are not correct and that therefore I am wrong to hold the concerns as stated in my post seems like a stretch to me.

    Even you admit that there is at least some percentage of Evangelicals this is true for. It sounds to me that we’re just arguing over the size of that percentage now. I’m staying with my 33% that seems to show up so consistely in everything I’ve read. You are free to believe it’s smaller and, in fact, I’d be very interested in counter studies that show that the percentage is smaller than I currently believe.

  25. JB,

    CHanson (an atheist) left this link on the other thread that I think expresses the issue well. Evidence is sufficient to draw actual causation in bigotry here. (With a limited group.)

  26. For any Bloggernacle archeologists who might unearth this post, may I call your attention to comment #7. Now that Santorum has been certified as the winner in Iowa (by 34 votes), I challenge anybody to identify a forecaster not on Santorum’s payroll who predicted his victory earlier than November 17. I can only claim half credit, however, because the delay in recognizing Santorum as the Iowa winner left room for Newt to reemerge as the official not-Romney. But that just gives us more opportunities to bash Newt, which is a lot more fun than bashing Santorum.

  27. LL, actually bashing Newt just feels like kicking someone while he’s down. I kind of feel sorry for him in his iniquitous ways. Santorum on the other hands, reminds me of someone always patting himself on the back and smirking, and the kind of person who’s attacks on opponents truly represent “projectionism” – ie, Santorum is attacking the mirror image of what he sees himself as being were he in the opponents shoes.

    Although to be honest, that’s a real character flaw, but not necessarily a disqualifying one. We’re all a little prideful and snotty at times. I don’t think he’d be a good president though. (contrary to Romney being portrayed as always going negative — I remember Huckabee used this accusation last time as well) I think the only person Romney really goes negative against his Pres. Obama. It’s been Newt, Perry, and Santorum who are on the stage attacking people with snide remarks or “better than thou” criticisms.

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