Well, the postmortem analysis has begun in earnest. A lot of it focuses on demographics. We can study the Evangelical vote by state. We can break down the exit polls. We can talk to the insiders. Some are choosing to beat up n the Religious Right. Some say religion did not matter. Some are just blaming. Some say it was the Mormon Issue, though not the way we think. And some think the election was an overall positive for Mormons.
I think analysis this early in an election this dramatic is barely worth the electrons used to distribute it. Too much data, way too many emotions running rampant, and amazing shifts in voter behavior require thought and deep reflection, which take time. But like everyone else, I have some initial thoughts and they centered on an amazing thing – Same-sex marriage prevailed as a ballot measure in four states, all the places it was being considered. That is an incredibly dramatic shift in public opinion on something very deeply fundamental in a very short time. It was just 4-6 years ago that it had NEVER prevailed when put to the electorate. So, what are we make of that?
One – sociologists, political scientists and others need to get busy studying this one.
Two – clearly this is not considered “deep” by most people – it is just another issue. That represents something very scary. It would seem to indicate that everything is a matter of taste and fashion. A frightening and probably premature conclusion, but it is evidence.
Three – it’s generational. Tuesday night both I in my post, and Gov. Romney in his concession speech touched on the need f or teachers and parents and others that form young people to inculcate those young people with our values. It seems clear that most young people have been inculcated with very different values. As they then come of age to vote, we see those different values spring from their generation. We have GOT to get busy.
Which brings me to the Mormon issue and the presidential election. Clearly for the electorate to change this dramatically, this rapidly, on an issue like same sex marriage, there is enormous energy behind it – ENORMOUS. We spent a lot of time during the campaign looking at how 1) The same sex marriage movement reviles Mormons because of Prop 8 and 2) that the Mormon issue was alive and well and discussed ad infinitum in the hard left places like Kos and Democratic Underground. We assumed these were isolated corners of the far left universe and therefore not very significant. However, given that to almost everyone’s amazement the high D turnout models proved to be correct, one must wonder if the energy radiated out from these far left corners more than we thought. While Mormonism was not a campaign issue, was it an energizer for the left/Democrat constituency?
Of course it was for some, and the radiative effects of that some are almost impossible to measure, but it seems reasonable to conclude that the Mormon issue played in this game though not as we might have expected.
Frankly, this scares me more than simple anti-Mormon bigotry would have. It means that religion, with the Mormons currently on point, has moved in the minds of the left from being a sort of quaint notion held by social neanderthals to being the evil enemy. We know that was true of the LGBT crowd, but if the radiative effects we propose here are in play then that view will also radiate. The so-called “War on Religion” threatens to expand beyond the border skirmishes we have seen to date. In this light the HHS mandate moves from another skirmish to a reconnaissance in force.
The closeness of the election and the divided Congress would mitigate against such things, at least on an legislative level. But this president has a penchant for regulatory overstep and the potential judicial appointments are terrifying to contemplate.
I think we still need a few days the nurse the wound, but we cannot take too long. There is a lot at stake.