Get Used to Gingrich, He’s The Next Republican Candidate

Has there ever been a primary election like this? I don’t recall there ever having been a single person in second place the entire primary election with, so far, three (or is it four? Do I count Bauchman or not?) first place front runners having risen and fallen. And now it’s Gingrich’s turn to be the Evangelical darling. I call this one for Gingrich if for no other reason than he’s not a Mormon.

Apparently the news media is out of tune with the Republican party (well, we knew that…). For they were unable to guess that the “I hate Mormons” factor of the Republican party would have caused the single least likely candidate to end up getting the nomination. Even just a few weeks ago, the idea that the Republicans running Gingrich seemed literally unthinkable to anyone that didn’t understand just how bigoted 1/3 of Evangelicals are towards Mormons.

Even now, the news just doesn’t seem to get it. Even just a few days ago they were still saying things like “Is Mitt Inevitable?” or even “Mitt is inevitable.” It just doesn’t make rational sense to run Gingrich, so no one (expect the 1/3 of Evangelicals that is bigoted) rationally expects it. Even now the media still thinks Gingrich is going to ‘flare out’ like the other anti-Romney candidates have. They still don’t ‘get it.’ It’s his religion, stupid.

What happened to the (now proven false) conventional wisdom that Evangelicals will not vote for someone as morally devoid as Gingrich. Remember Clinton? Remember how much Evangelicals hated Clinton? Well, Gingrich was actually having an affair while attacking Clinton for having an affair. So, of course, there is no way “value voters” would ever vote for him right?

Well… actually… that whole ‘value voter’ thing is not the primary concern of these voters. Never has been. Stephen E. Robinson tells a story in one of his books about how a number of Evangelicals threatened to call off a protest against the porn industry if Mormons were involved. Religion first, values second. I’m shocked that you’re shocked.

Oh, I know, I know, it’s not about religion for Evangelicals. It’s really about Romney not being conservative enough or too much of a flip flopper. That’s why they decided to go for Gingrich… you see… er… never mind. Oh forget it, I guess it is about religion after all.

But at least they care about winning, right? Well… it complicated.

Sure, they’d love to win and put out Obama. And, sure, if they have no choice but to choose between Obama and Romney, they’d rather vote for Romney… well, most of them anyhow. But truth be told, they’d rather seriously risk losing the election then vote for a Mormon. Hope springs eternal.

It’s well known that Romney is doing better in Obama vs. Romney match ups in the polls then Gingrich could ever do. Romney would probably lose, I admit, but he at least had a chance. Gingrich is known to have no chance. Strange as it may sound, the 1/3 of Evangelicals that are bigots towards Mormons are actually working with the Democrats to beat Romney. You see, the Democrats want Gingrich to win. Gingrich is their man!

“I did not think I had lived a good enough life to be rewarded by Newt Gingrich being the Republican nominee,” retiring liberal Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said this week. “It still is unlikely, but I have hopes.”

So a partnership with 1/3 of Evangelical voters and Democrats to oust Romney is exactly what we should have expected.

At this point, there is just no denying it. The sole determining factor for some decent sized portion of the Republican base is Romney’s religion. They will not vote for a Mormon if they can help it. For Romney to over come that portion of the party, he’d have to pretty much win everyone else. A feat no primary candidate that isn’t already holding the presidential office could possibly hope to achieve.

They can no longer hide behind their past excuses. It can’t possibly be about flip flopping, for Gingrich was a huge flip flopper. It can’t be about Romney not being conservative enough, for Gingrich really isn’t that conservative. (Note that this was true for John McCan as well. There is no way McCain could have been the Republican candidate had it not been for the Mormon factor.) It can’t be that they are voting “anti-establishment” as they used to claim when Perry, Bauchman, or Cain were on top. Who is more ‘establishment’ then Gingrich? What excuses haven’t been demolished by this point?

The simple unadulterated truth is that this is about bigotry. Of course it’s not that everyone that won’t vote for Romney is a bigot. Not even close. But that’s just a misreading of what I am saying anyhow. It’s that 1/3 of Evangelicals, that probably make up a fairly small part of the overall voting population (say 10% to 15%), is still enough to make it impossible for someone to win as president if they vote for anyone but him.

This is Romney’s main problem. Flip flopping can be over come. Being too slick can be over come. Having previously been a moderate can be over come… oh, never mind that one. That’s actually a strength, not a weakness in the general election.

49 thoughts on “Get Used to Gingrich, He’s The Next Republican Candidate

  1. I’m not denying that there are folks who wouldn’t vote for a Mormon, but as the Business Insider said this week, the problem for Mitt is more that he isn’t likable. He just comes across as weird, plastic and robotic. He reminds me of Kerry and Dukakis.

  2. Gingrich is the single worst Republican candidate…probably in history. If you didn’t like McCain, you will love him compared to Gingrich. I could go on for pages and pages about how bad he is, but I don’t have time, and I am already getting nauseous thinking about him as the candidate.

    Ron Paul has been speaking out about this.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2011/12/02/exp-blitzer-paul-interview.cnn#/video/bestoftv/2011/12/02/exp-blitzer-paul-interview.cnn

    The only good news is that Gingrich is so toxic that he definitely will implode. His campaign will fall to pieces. The issue is, will it happen in the next month or will it happen in, say, July, just in time for an Obama landslide?

    As for Bruce’s main point, it is difficult to see how anti-Mormon bigotry is not an issue in this Newt surge. But it can’t just be evangelicals. It must be a lot of other groups as well. Sigh.

  3. As a center-right Mormon who’s spent the last four years really trying to like Governor Romney but being unable to do so, I appreciated this post in the Boston Globe.

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2011/11/30/mitt-romney-biggest-enemy-mitt-romney/qS4p1KGJ57VmI2iPlSTD6O/story.html?s_campaign=sm_tw

    Key paragraphs:

    “I came to realize one true thing: I liked the concept of Mitt Romney more than I liked the man himself.

    The concept is the businessman who neither needs nor craves the elective job. The concept is the fully formed adult who refuses to get caught up in the petty semantics and intellectual gymnastics that consume so many career politicians. The concept is the person more devoted to ideas than ideology, someone who doesn’t sweat every poll.

    By the time he got to the cornfields of Iowa and the strip malls of New Hampshire four years ago, the man and the concept had irreparable differences. He distorted his past. He contorted his views. Mitt Romney seemed diminished by what should have been a grand pursuit.”

    I’ve found my own answers to the disconnect between the idea of Mitt Romney and the reality of Mitt Romney, including supporting the centrist technocrat Obama and joining the Democratic Party instead of hurling rightward with the GOP. While evangelical anti-Mormon bias was definitely in play in Iowa four years ago, and is probably still salient, there are a whole lot of reasons for choosing to support Jon Huntsman or Ron Paul. (Support for Gingrich I will never understand, and any Democrat who wants him as the GOP nominee is behaving quite foolishly–one never knows what will happen in a general election.

  4. Bruce, you may be right, but I think it’s still too premature to call it. I think that probably voters don’t really know as much about Gingrich, because he’s been behind for so long. They don’t know that he also flip-flops, and they are still a little unclear on the nature of his moral compromises, because they didn’t come out in a sudden, big scandal like Cain’s. Gingrich’s past has always been open and unhidden, so I think voters just assume that it’s not that bad, because no one has been questioning it.

    But Romney has had so much front-line exposure for so long, and endured years of attacks by fellow candidates, that voters are very much aware that he is a flip-flopper and has an ideologically compromised past.

    There is still time for attacks on Gingrich to compromise his campaign, his history of lobbying, the marriages and adultery, the flip-flops. Voters right now are simply not informed well enough.

    And who is going to attack Gingrich morally? Only Romney supporters, who are more level headed and don’t stoop to that kind of crap as much. And liberals, who are all too happy to so Gingrich succeed, so they won’t be inclined to attack.

    But they have discovered that Gingrich is charismatic, inspiring, gentlemanly, and a terrific public speaker. There is no one who better delivers the ideological red meat. He’s a survivor, a true politician, an effective power broker, and comes across as deeply Christian and moral, inspite of his past. It’s hard to believe he is being anything but totally authentic. In his eyes, in his manner, there seems to be perfect integrity, confidence, and dignity.

  5. I don’t see Gingrich as an inevitability. I think it’s obvious that the Republican bosses are trying desperately to get someone comparable to Mitt with a non-Mormon background. They like the appearance of diversity that they get from Mitt’s primary candidacies, but they all know it’d essentially be a guaranteed loss if he got the nod with significant portions of Evangelical Republicans staying home rather than choose between a “non-Christian” or a “socialist” (also potentially “non-Christian” depending who you ask).

    The thing is that there’s not really a better option this cycle. Perry’s whole campaign was predicated on splitting the primary results away from Romney, the man has repeatedly stated he doesn’t want to be President. He was meant to be 2012′s Huckabee, but they ran him too early and the stigma attached to the Texas drawl planted in the public mind by President Bush hasn’t done Perry any favors.

    Gingrich I think is really the most dangerous because he puts on a very slick face. He’s definitely the best politician up on that stand every time they have a debate. His answers are usually appealing and tricky. I think he’d do better than Romney in the campaign stages if he could hold it together long enough. A Gingrich-Obama debate would probably be quite entertaining.

    The problem with Gingrich is that despite his polish, he is probably the most corrupt and evil candidate up there. Everything around him implodes quickly because he just can’t resist the indulgence, I guess. If you had moral objections to Clinton, Gingrich’s indiscretions would unequivocally blow Clinton’s record out of the water. He’s already imploding as a potential frontrunner, as every other non-Romney candidate has done in the primary so far (excepting of course Ron Paul, but he doesn’t count because he’s not a neocon so they’d never give him the nomination).

    I’m pretty sure it’s going to be Romney. Their desperate attempts to find someone else are failing at record speed. Romney is the only one who could keep the campaign together until the end, which I guess is a good minimum qualification.

    Obama has it locked up, easily. He was probably going to win anyway, incumbents usually do unless they do something totally inexcusable, but the way the Republican primary is going it’s essentially a forgone conclusion. Too bad for Romney, he’s tried so hard to be president, and when he finally gets the nomination it’s just going to go to waste. He should have waited until 2016 when there’s at least no incumbent inertia to fight against.

  6. “Bruce, you may be right, but I think it’s still too premature to call it. I think that probably voters don’t really know as much about Gingrich, because he’s been behind for so long”

    “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be Romney. Their desperate attempts to find someone else are failing at record speed.”

    I just wrote a series of posts about the difference between posts where one is ‘venting’ and where one is being rational.

    For the record, I’m venting. That’s pretty much it. In my rational moments, I confess the two above quotes could be right. It’s funny, but I really have no doubt that Evangelical voters have a bigoted group that is causing the shenanigans were seeing. I think it’s basically pure (bad) luck that their usual ability to hide their bigotry towards Mormons accidentally came to light via a series of imploding candidates. I think the ultimate ‘gotcha’ for them was embracing Gingrich out of desperation.

    Does this really all add up to Gingrich getting the nomination? Well, you are right that its actually too early to call. So much could happen between now and then. If I were a betting man, I’d bet on Gingrich, yes. But by a smaller margin then I’m indicating in the OP. It could still be Romney, but I think the odds are probably 1:2 against Romney and in favor of either Gingrich or whoever else isn’t Romney. (i.e. Ron Paul gets his chance thanks to Romney.)

    But remember, I’ve already said I hope to print a retraction and apology to the Evangelical voters if I end up being proven wrong. So it just makes sense for me to continue this line of ‘argument’ for now since it sure does seem that way based on the evidence so far. Plus, venting sometimes feels good. (Taxes are theft!) And I hope calling to light bigotry and showing it off (which I have no doubt is very real at the moment at least) might have its own small positive effect in the world. But probably not.

    Maybe I’m just sore that I’m going to have to vote for Obama again.

  7. Joel (1) the problem for Mitt is more that he isn’t likable. He just comes across as weird, plastic and robotic. He reminds me of Kerry and Dukakis.

    I think this is really correct. People have been wanting a good communicator as the Republican nominee for a long time. Romney isn’t it. Also people (probably correctly) think he wants it too much. Of course anyone running for President has to be a little narcissistic. But unlike people like Reagan or even Gore I don’t get the impression Romney is running to accomplish something necessary. He just wants to be President.

    Ultimately the problem is that the Republicans haven’t had good people running of President in a long, long time. This year’s batch though is definitely among the worst ever.

    Geoff (3) Gingrich is the single worst Republican candidate…probably in history.

    Gingrich is a bad candidate but he’s not even close to the worst this year. I mean look at Cain with an apparent sex addiction comparable to Clinton and who is proud of his ignorance of almost all international affairs. Gingrich’s problem is a total lack of self control combined with hubris and wanting to be the “big idea guy.” Unfortunately for every one good idea he has about three horrific ideas. To me Gingrich is Bill Clinton without the positives Clinton at least had. If he gets the nomination Obama will probably win.

    Geoff (3) As for Bruce’s main point, it is difficult to see how anti-Mormon bigotry is not an issue in this Newt surge.

    It’s probably an issue. I’m not convinced it’s the major issue though. But I bet it contributes to a deficit of at least 5 points.

    Jeff (6) Obama has it locked up, easily. He was probably going to win anyway, incumbents usually do unless they do something totally inexcusable,

    I think Republicans think Obama is so vulnerable they don’t need worry. But I think Obama does have a solid chance – especially if the EU avoids meltdown. But I hardly think Obama has it locked up. If Romney becomes the nominee then I think Obama will have his work cut out for him. Romney is honestly the only one other than Huntsman who has a chance against Obama.

  8. I’m sceptical that the ‘I hate Mormons’ factor is as big a factor as you say.

    My personal hate for Mormons is pretty inconsequential, all things considered, yet I’m having a really hard time warming up to the Governor. Not that Newt is that superiod an alternative, but I expect his numbers to come back to earth.

    Also, like Clark, I suspect that a little Republican triumphalism is going into it.

  9. As much as I dislike Romney, IF the Republicans put up Gingrich, I have concluded the party has lost it’s moral compass and we are really just as corrupt as the Democrats. This lifelong Republican will resign my membership to the GOP. Obama will win.

  10. “My personal hate for Mormons is pretty inconsequential”

    Oh, come on, Adam G. Fess up you Romney/Mormon hater! ;)

    This really isn’t about “Romney” per se. I agree he’s not the greatest candidate. It’s really more about Gingrich. Its more about how *normally* things would unfold given the circumstances we’ve seen if not for the anti-Mormon bigotry of a segment of the Republican party. I do not buy that Romney would not have locked it up after the Cain debacle. If clark is right that there is, say, a 5 point swing factor due to anti-Mormon bigotry, that would have avalanched into a clear front runner status for Romney by now had he been a Protestant.

    My whole point is that it only takes a sizable minority to stop such ‘normal’ reactions and to instead keep creating one obviously lame front runner after another like we’re seeing. If some really good Republican candidate was running and beating Romney, I’d not be saying a word.

    “Bruce, you don’t have to vote for Obama. EVER. It’s never between just two options. It never has been.”

    Yes, but I do have to vote for Obama if I want to make a protest vote that has a chance (however remote) of being heard by the Republican party in hopes of fixing it for future generations. If more Mormons did this, the Republicans would stop taking us for granted. As it is, they pretty much can.

    This is, I confess, the real reason I voted for Obama last time. I live in Utah, so it’s not like my vote had any chance to actually making a difference on putting Obama into office. My only goal was to not have the democratic candidate in Utah be in third place that election. It warmed my heart when the headlines after the election read: “Utah is every so slightly less red then before.” I knew I had been part of a message so soft that probably no one heard it past one day. But I had my day.

    Yes, I could vote for my Dad or someone instead. And then at least I’d be voting for a candidate that I (mostly) agreed with. But to me making a real difference (if only for one day, or ten minutes) mattered more.

  11. JA Benson, I had real hopes at first that Obama could be beat by nominal conservatives and I wouldn’t be too uncomfortable with Romney. With the nomination of Gingrich I have to go with what you said. It will be a write in candidate in that case and I don’t care if doing that is “a vote for” Obama. I could have gotten behind an anti-Romney, but I can’t get behind an anti-Romney who is barely not like Romney and morally corrupt. Its anti-Mormonism pure and simple. A vote for Gingrich is a vote for anti-Mormonism is the way I see it no matter what people like Adam G. thinks.

  12. “A vote for Gingrich is a vote for anti-Mormonism is the way I see it no matter what people like Adam G. thinks.”

    Yup.

    I hope more Utah Mormons (not necessarily those outside of Utah where they vote actually matters) will consider voting for Obama as a protest vote like I am planning to do if Gingrich gets the nomination (as I’m predicting). This is the only real way you have a chance of getting the Republican party to hear you and reform.

    I know it goes against the grain to vote for someone you completely disagree with. But when you only have two such options, I think a move like this makes political sense.

  13. Bruce N, if Gingrich is the nominee I will have real problems voting for him. I certainly will not campaign for him in any way. But I will never vote for Obama. I may vote for the Libertarian candidate. We’ll have to wait and see how things play out. But voting for Obama is not in the cards for me.

    If you want to send a protest vote against Gingrich, it is just as valuable for 7 percent of people in Utah (instead of 2 percent) to vote Libertarian than it is for 40 percent (instead of 35 percent) to vote for Obama.

  14. “If you want to send a protest vote against Gingrich, it is just as valuable for 7 percent of people in Utah (instead of 2 percent) to vote Libertarian than it is for 40 percent (instead of 35 percent) to vote for Obama.”

    If I thought this was going to happen and thus the message would get across, I’d gladly vote Libertarian to make my point. But realistically, there is no way to ‘coordinate’ such a protest. Only voting for the Democratic candidate has any chance of being heard.

  15. You don’t have a chance of ‘being heard’ either way. Your individual vote is meaningless. You should vote because its a duty, and vote for whomever your conscience dictates, but you shouldn’t vote to send a message–because that will never, ever happen.

  16. “You don’t have a chance of ‘being heard’ either way. Your individual vote is meaningless. You should vote because its a duty, and vote for whomever your conscience dictates, but you shouldn’t vote to send a message–because that will never, ever happen.”

    We’ll see. Honestly, it wouldn’t take much. A 3 point swing would get the message across most likely. If what you are saying is that I can’t hope for even a 1 point swing, well, you might be right. But who knows till we try. I can’t be the only Mormon out there that has realized what it going on and has thought of this. I don’t expect a miracle. (In fact, I would find it entirely unacceptable for a real ‘miracle’ to occur and for Obama to win the state of Utah.)

    And this is voting my conscience.

    And I don’t believe in voting because its a duty. What does that even mean? I’m not sure. I vote because I have a stake in society that way.

  17. Adam,

    One other comment.

    If I follow your logic, there probably isn’t any sense in which I’m ever ‘heard’ no matter what. Surely the odds that I make any sort of difference at all ever in a vote (particularly in Utah) are very low.

    But I now compare the following chances in my mind:

    1. Odds of ‘being heard’ by being part of a 3 point swing towards Democrats in Utah
    2. Odds of ‘being heard’ by being part of a 3 point swing towards the Libertarian party in Utah
    3. Odds of ‘being heard’ by voting for someone via a write-in
    4. Odds of ‘being heard’ by voting for Gingrich

    It seems like a no brainer to me. Sorry that I’m such an idealist and actually think my vote matters in some way. :P

  18. To be honest Bruce N., I don’t think that the anti-Mormon Republicans could care less if Utah or a few other Mormon populated states turned Democrat. In fact, they would use that as proof that Mormons can’t be trusted; as if they needed any proof in their mind. Sure, they might wonder why the Republican Party can’t win elections anymore and wish that they could. They would be thrilled, however, to lump Mormons in with the evil, anti-God, liberal-elite, anti-Christian, Communist Party. Mormons not Republican anymore? Great! The weren’t really part of the “Christian Party” anyway.

    The problem for Democrats is they don’t give Mormon conservatives any reason to see them as an alternative as they often seem to prove the labels. The Democrats have a chance as I have been saying for years now to turn the Mormon political map around. Sadly, they are doing everything that turns conservative Mormons off. Stay with a party that hates you but holds most of your views? Go with a party that might be neutral toward you, but holds few of your views? tough call.

  19. I’d like to point out, as I did in your last thread on this Bruce N, is that I have yet to hear a conservative pundit say a lot of nice things about Gingrich. So, the enthusiasm for him is not being LED by the opinion-makers. So, you must ask, where is it coming from? And the only thing I can think of is that it must be coming from the grass roots, and that Mormonism *must* be a factor. Here is a sample of George Will and Laura Ingraham absolutely trashing Newt Gingrich in the strongest terms possible.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/02/george_will_wisdom_is_one_thing_gingrich_does_not_have.html

  20. “To be honest Bruce N., I don’t think that the anti-Mormon Republicans could care less if Utah or a few other Mormon populated states turned Democrat.”

    Ah, you’re probably right. Gall, just come over and shoot my cat now, okay? ;)

  21. “Stay with a party that hates you but holds most of your views? Go with a party that might be neutral toward you [but willing to act bigoted if it wins votes], but holds few of your views? tough call.”

    How very — Lovecraftian…

    It’s like a sort of hell, isn’t it? Guess the Evagelicals were right about us after all. We are in hell.

  22. I find all this accusation of “anti-Mormon bigotry” somewhat interesting. It seems most people here resent the fact that a lot of evangelicals wouldn’t vote for a Mormon. It doesn’t really bother me. Out of curiosity, can someone tell me specific reasons why it’s so wrong of some people to have qualms about not voting Romney in for his religious background? A lot of people in the Church who are mad about this are apparently hypocrites, since they like Romney primarily for his Mormonism.

    I’m aware of the “no religious test” and all the run-of-the-mill answers, I don’t find them very convincing, at least not convincing enough to call people who apply a religious test to political office “bigoted” as a blanket statement. Can we accept that perhaps these people know Mormons and trust Mormons and are friends with Mormons, but don’t want a Mormon to lead the country? Are such persons still “bigoted” in a meaningful way? I want real answers, not “yes, anyone who doesn’t like anyone else is bigoted” PC hogwash.

  23. Jeff, I talked about this already in the past. See here for full details.

    The short version is this: if we were to find that the reason Evangelicals won’t vote for a Mormon was based on a correct understanding of Mormonism and how it translates to real life political situations, then it is not bigotry.

    However, if we find that it’s based on having gone to a lot of anti-Mormon classes and a false view that was developed about Mormons there meant to scare them (say because they believe anyone that believes Jesus and Satan are brothers isn’t fit for office because how could anyone think such an awful thing as Satan and Jesus being equivalent like that?) then it’s ‘bigotry’ plain and simple.

    If you are going to ‘challenge me’ on this, I confess I have no studies to prove that it isn’t the later and doubt such studies exist in such a way that it could be ‘proven’. But I basically know that’s the case and I suspect you do too. So I label it as I am virtually certain it is: it’s bigotry.

    If we are to be denied such obvious realities as these, then let’s face it, there isn’t anything anyone can ever say that is not ‘challengeable’ and it will be ‘illegal’ to say anything at all in a political situation.

    Also, I’m just saying that *some* are bigoted. I am not claiming all or even most are. Therefore, for you to challenge me entirely, you’d have to demonstrate that 100% of Evangelicals are not bigoted. This would be a ridiculous statement. Clearly some are bigoted and my heurestics based on fird hand knowledge and interactions with Evangelicals suggests that % is quite high. (I’m claiming 30% based on studies done that seem to indicate this.)

  24. Jeff, the statement “but don’t want a Mormon to lead the country” is bigotry pure and simple. Its up to YOU to prove why its not since its such a blanket statement. Mormons have voted for Evangelicals without any problem so there is no reversal going on here. Its a case of, for those who are supporting him purely as you put it for his Mormonism, its our turn because we have contributed to society and therefore have just as much right to lead the country as anyone else. You want a religious war? Fine, but I promise that the Republican Party is dead if that is the case. Even conservative Mormons will start (and take from an orthodox conservative Mormon like myself) staying home or pulling the vote lever for “other” candidates.

  25. Jettboy,

    I don’t find Jeff’s question problematic — yet. He is right to ask in what sense we find Evangelicals bigoted and what is our basis for saying that. I’m just hoping this isn’t a case of saying that so as to open up a chance to get on the soap box on some other issue.

    Jeff,

    For me, it’s rooted in my actual experiences. I’ve met too numerous Evangelicals to count. I’ve been to their churches, to their anti-Mormon classes, read their anti-Mormon literature. I’ve seen how they use it, how they invite members of the so-called counter cult movement to come and talk. I know for a fact that such literature is full of half truths and deceptions meant to scare people about Mormons. I’ve seen Evangelicals be scared of Mormons as individuals because of these classes and literature.

    I’ve also seen that their bigotry is systemic and not individual. (i.e. it’s organized and often/usually by their own ministers.) I’m not saying all the complaints they have about Mormons are false. I’m just saying I’ve never seen such literature and presentations that was anything but mostly half truths and deception. (I’ve also never seen a true complaint about Mormons that didn’t have a direct parallel within Evangelicalism itself.)

    I’ve also had a chance to compare my experiences to literally hundreds of other Mormons from around the country and their experiences match my own.

    We could bicker over what ‘bigtory’ means, but I suspect that if “being distrusting and even scared of a whole minority due to intentions self-inflicted false stereotypes’ doesn’t qualify as ‘bigotry’ I’m not sure what would.

    I could see someone arguing with me over the % however. I’m guessing 1/3 based on a number of studies I’ve seen reported on and compared to my own heuristics based on my own experience. But that’s an approximate guess at best. I could certainly see someone making a strong case for, say, 25% of Evangelicals being bigots instead of 33%. Or maybe less. Or maybe more. I don’t really know. I doubt it’s a bold line and actually comes in shades.

    What I won’t buy is that it’s 0%. I also won’t buy (based on my actual experience) anything but a sizable minority. Sizable enough to be so easily found by so many Mormons.

  26. We’ve seen GOP favorites rise and fall pretty quickly in the last few months. And while I think Gingrich would be a better president than some of the previous favorites (Bachmann, Cain, possibly Perry), I think he’ll fall within the next month or so.

    It’s kind of funny to watch the anyone-but-Romney crowd pick one failure after another. The real question is what happens after Gingrich falls. Who do they latch onto? Do they go back to Perry or one of the other previous forerunners? Or do they reluctantly embrace Romney?

  27. Wow. Iowa polls came out. Romney is in third place behind Paul and Gingritch. Ugh.

    There are people who’ve spoken well of Gingritch. I think a lot of Republicans like him because he actually fights. There’s an element of the base that just wants someone to attack Obama and Romney doesn’t do that in the way they like. (See this post for instance)

  28. I would probably be more enthusiastic about voting if I thought that any of the candidates were worth voting for, and if I thought anyone else would vote for this hypothetical candidate, were one to exist, AND if I thought that my opinion would matter either way.

  29. Yes, but I do have to vote for Obama if I want to make a protest vote that has a chance (however remote) of being heard by the Republican party in hopes of fixing it for future generations.

    A vote for a third party candidate would do just that.

  30. There’s something very sad and very funny that two candidates with questionable morals have surging ahead of the squeaky clean candidate in the supposed “family values” party during this past month. To seal the deal I fully expect the next not-Romney to surge will be the openly gay candidate, Fred Karger (just kidding).

    I hope more Utah Mormons (not necessarily those outside of Utah where they vote actually matters) will consider voting for Obama as a protest vote like I am planning to do if Gingrich gets the nomination (as I’m predicting). This is the only real way you have a chance of getting the Republican party to hear you and reform.

    I can’t imagine that happening with enough Utah Mormons to make any significant impact. They will vote for the person with the (R) next to their name.

    Do they go back to Perry or one of the other previous forerunners? Or do they reluctantly embrace Romney?

    Well if Facebook is any kind of indicator, Trump seems to be getting another wave of support in the past few days. Maybe it’s partly because of his “debate”, but I think it’s just another person people are looking for that isn’t Mormon. Even if they do eventually pick Romney, are there enough religion and fiscal conservatives that are tired of him that they’ll just stay home next year on election day?

  31. jjohnsen, you’ve got to be loving all this. Probably makes you feel warm inside. :) (You’re a democrat, rigth? If not, ignore last statement.)

  32. LDSP,

    I already responded to the idea that a third party vote is the same sort of protest vote as a vote for the opposing party. So you’re late to the game on this one. :)

    Needless to say, *everyone* here agrees with you that I shouldn’t vote for Obama as a protest vote. I’m going to anyhow for the very reasons I explained in my comments.

  33. And I know this sounds crazy, but as a moderate Democrat my biggest fear is the anti-Romney will turn out to be Huntsman. Even though he has zero support now, I think he out of all the candidates could suck away support from Obama like no other candidate, as well as sweeping up the Republicans that will vote for whoever the candidate is.

    Of course you still have the Mormon issue, but to a lesser degree than Romney.

  34. jjohnsen, you’ve got to be loving all this. Probably makes you feel warm inside. (You’re a democrat, rigth? If not, ignore last statement.)

    I am loving it, but I still think this will all be resolved in a couple of months. Conservatives won’t have to go through the mess we went through in 2008.

  35. I don’t expect to see Gingrich in the home stretch. I think this article from the New Republic explains why well enough:

    http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/98031/newt-gingrich-surge-campaign-2012

    It basically points out that the polls at this stage in the election are incredibly unstable and don’t really represent who is going to go the distance. Often, the polls simply follow whoever is getting the most rotation over on Fox News. The fact that Newt is enjoying a brief spike doesn’t make him “inevitable” any more than it made Ed Muskie “inevitable” in 1972.

    “Ed who” you ask?

    Exactly.

    The fact is that most Republicans – even voting Republicans – aren’t paying a lot of attention to the race right now. And why should they? Most of them aren’t even going to get to vote in the primaries anyway. A lot of solid red states won’t even have voting until the race it basically over anyway. Why invest the energy and bother?

    Bloggers tend to eat and breath the day-to-day scuffle of the primaries. But most voting Republicans aren’t like that. It’s the difference between basketball fans who have season tickets and those who only tune in for the playoffs. Most of even the most die-hard Republicans don’t really want to engage in the game of picking from among a list of horses they basically like already. Why do that when your horse might not win, and all you really wanted to do was get back to disliking Obama? Not caring about the primaries (unless you live in Ohio or New Hampshire) actually makes an awful lot of sense for most conservative voters.

    End result – they’ll pick whichever conservative is available after the dust has settled. And that candidate will be the one who managed to drum up the endorsement of the conservative establishment. Not the one who is only tenuously floating around on the front of rank-and-file Republican brains at the moment.

  36. I also find it funny that certain among the GOP (not Bruce Nielsen, I’m sure) after having dropped the idea of Herman Cain, are now turning to Newt Gingrich.

    Apparently the GOP view is that philandering is bad only if you’re incompetent at it.

    If that be true, I guess that Newt works.

  37. For what it’s worth, Bruce, I voted for Obama last time for pretty much those reasons. And I might do it again, but probably not.

    I know that people try to pretend it’s is a civic duty to vote, but I just don’t feel that it always is, particularly when you can’t endorse any of the candidates, and particularly in general elections when you live in a state more concerned with voting the right color of shirt than voting responsibly.

  38. >There’s something very sad and very funny that two candidates with questionable morals have surging ahead of the squeaky clean candidate in the supposed “family values” party during this past month.

    I think Romney’s morals are questionable.

  39. I think Gingrich is a candidate when you finally get into the polling booth, you’ll say to yourself, “Do I really want to vote for this guy?” And you’ll make the more reasonable choice.
    I don’t think that kind of dynamic exists very often in politics, because often we have our minds made up. The only problem with this theory is, so many people have poisoned the rhetorical well against Romney, that they’ve basically made it impossible for themselves to support Romney. The number of times I’ve read “anyone but Romney”, etc. really has to sink in at some point. You can’t just go from “Anyone but Romney” to “I’ll vote for Romney”.

    So I think Romney is definitely hurting even though Gingrich, et al. are filled with flaws. In short, it’s not surprising the Republicans are by and large making bad decisions because they’ve made a lot of bad decisions over the last few decades. I’m coming more to grips with the fact that we are getting the government we deserve, so it doesn’t surprise me the electorate would make consistently bad decisions about who to elect.

  40. And I’d just add, I think this anyone but Romney attitude is really a visceral reaction to Mormonism. I don’t think the Romney opponents are staunch ant-Mormons, not by a long shot, but the religion is so “other” that on a level that doesn’t really acknowledge Mormonism, makes so many things about Romney’s persona and history unacceptable. So many things that Romney has done, others have done, and so many things that Romney has done right, others have not done and Romney doesn’t get the degree of credit.

    It’s a bit humbling to see how poorly perceived we are on a gut reaction, and if you tie in the negative impressions about Mormonism that the church has done research on, there’s no way this isn’t having some play on a gut level.

  41. I think Romney’s morals are questionable.

    You’re right, but I thought it was clear that I was talking about sexual morality in a conversation about Cain and Newt (though I guess any type of morality is questionable with Newt at least).

  42. Seth R,

    Tell you what. How about a gentlemen’s bet as to whether or not Romney gets the nomination.

    If no one else shows up to steal Gingrich’s thunder, I call Gingrich *despite* the fact that that article is dead on. I am basically saying I think anti-Mormon bigotry is such a strong role that this article can be 100% correct in every detail and Gingrich still wins.

    But to play it safe, we bet for or against Romney. I’ll take that bet.

    I’ll also be happy to lose it.

    Loved this quote: “Indeed, if there’s one thing that the long history of post-reform nomination politics tells us, it’s that large national polling surges can rise—and dissipate—overnight. … And it’s obviously more true than ever this year, with Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain…”

    I believe this article is sincere and, had it not been for Romney’s Mormonism, would have been correct.

  43. Alright then. You’re on Bruce.

    I’ll bet he does actually manage to get the nomination. I don’t think the prejudice is actually that bad – not bad enough to deep-six Romney. And this time round, the Republican elites seem determined to get him in, and are stomping out any populous gas pockets pretty quickly.

    I suspect Romney may win the GOP nomination the same way Lincoln won it – by being everyone’s second choice – the guy everyone settles for. No one really likes him, but if they can’t have their preferred candidate (which I think they can’t) – they’ll vote for him as a second pick.

    He’ll win by being the last guy standing who doesn’t look like a freaking basket-case.

  44. Seth R,

    You’re on!

    And I hope you win.

    Should we meet for lunch after my victory? ;)

  45. No idea.

    Note – this is just for the primary. I doubt Romney can beat Obama. Mainly because anti-Mormon spin is actually stronger on the Left than on the Right. Proposition 8, abortion, women’s rights, ERA, blacks and the Priesthood. Expect it all to make a showing if Romney is in the general election.

  46. If Romney can’t win in the general election it will be more because of Republicans who won’t vote for a Mormon (they’ll stay home or vote 3rd party) than anti-Mormonism on the Left (as those on the Left wouldn’t vote for a Republican anyway).

    If Romney wins, expect to see the most popular 3rd party candidate since Perot (and maybe even bigger). He’ll be the convenient “non-Mormon” option.

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