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The problem is with the primaries, and not in a contest between Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton. It is in the primaries that Romney simply will not be able to survive Evangelical bigotry. Check out this editorial for a very good analysis that approximates my view (that it simply can't happen in this country) very well.

What you're neglecting Dave is excitement and turnout. One can argue (although it is debatable) that Evangelical fervor over homosexual marriage had a lot to do with Bush winning. It was less who people would choose to vote for than if they actually made it to the election booth. And there some Evangelicals who might have come, might not feel excited enough to come.

Of course unless something happens three years from now, given many of Bush's missteps I think Republicans may find themselves in a situation akin to what Democrats found themselves in after Clinton. I just wish the Democrats could nominate someone half decent. Clinton in '92 was the last one vaguely interesting. Gore was an awful candidate as were everyone last time with the exception of Leiberman.

The Republicans actually have a solid bunch. But there is a lot of baggage due to Bush. Bush has, in certain ways, alienated a lot of Republicans and his attempts to evade responsibility for many bad decisions will eventually come home to roost. Certainly in the mid term elections. And perhaps in 2008. (Although I confess I hope the Middle East turns out - both for the obvious reasons and because I think Condi Rice would make a great President)

Also, check out the Washington Monthly piece on the subject in your LDS Headlines link. Sadly, the piece is just wrong. It tries to draw an analogy with the AZ governor's race & claim that Salmon's religion cost him evangelical votes. Problem is...the comparison was with the # of votes that ultra "conservatives" like Cong. Flake got. Yes, you guessed it. Flake is also LDS. Duh...

Maybe Washington really is just plain ignorant re: religion & politics.

I guess it depends on the "Mormon-ness" of the candidate. Mormon and Democrat Senate leader Harry Ried (NV) has had narry a peep about his religion while many
articles have been written about
Romney for a number of months.

In appealing to the religious conservatives in the country and successfully propping them up as their base, the GOP now needs to cater to the Christian fundies more than before, particularly with the narrow margins that they have won with in the past two elections. To cater to their religious biases of the GOP base, the candidate must be of the 'right' brand of Christianity, and we all know the fundies take on Mormonism.

Personally, I think it will hurt him. Here is a good link.
In summary:

  • A 2000 national survey by Ellison Research of 518 Protestant ministers found that 63 percent would vote for a Jewish candidate and 64 percent would vote for a Catholic but 76 percent confessed that they would be less inclined to vote for a Mormon candidate.

  • A Mormon-sponsored 2001 survey of non-Mormon clergy in Utah and California revealed that 78 percent would not classify Mormons as Christians. The survey found that these ministers mostly characterized Mormons as “well-meaning, but misguided.” About 1 in 3 of the pastors described Mormons as “non-Christian cultists.”

  • On Orrin Hatch's 2004 run: After he’d experienced the slings and arrows of campaigning in Iowa and other states, he lost some of his graciousness. Implying that prejudice was stronger than he had realized, Hatch popped off, saying, “I am not going to take any crap from anybody about my religion.” The charge that seemed to irritate Hatch the most was that Mormons are not Christians. “I take my Christian faith very seriously,” protested the annoyed candidate.

  • Very interesting. I'm a big fan of your jeremaid directed at evangelical intolerance. Keep it up.

    Back in March there was quite a bit of discussion on this topic on this thread at M*.

    Ed Enochs chimed in with a rather strong anti-Mormon-candidate evangelical sentiment. But for some reason I don't feel he represents the feelings of most evangelicals. I hope not.

    I too think that most evangelicals would prefer a more conservative Mormon candidate to a liberal candidate. I also think that hearing the evangelical discussion during an election involving a Mormon candidate would be interesting.

    I actually think that Ed Enochs did/does represent the views of most Evangelicals, as unfortunate as that is. At least, he vocalized what I know most of the Evangelicals who lived around me in Dallas growing quietly believe. Most of them are not as rude or offensive as Ed Enochs, or are content to quietly harbor such beliefs, but I think that they do agree with the substance, however bizarre, of what Ed Enochs was saying/doing.

    And that is why Mitt Romney simply cannot survive the primaries. If he could survive the primaries, then I think he would be by far the strongest candidate against Hillary Clinton. But the Republican Party will eat him alive in the primaries, because that is where the Evangelicals can assert their greatest influence.

    In the Washington Monthly editorial that I linked, the author relates her own experience with Evangelical bigotry toward Latter-day Saints as she was exposed to the Godmakers or some other such calumnous film as a five year old in her Sunday School. I can add my experience in Dallas as evidence that this kind of unbelievable hate really does take place in Evangelical churches. At least a couple of times a year I would have to deal with the aftermath in my high school of hundreds of students having seen the Godmakers at their Wednesday youth group activity at "Fort God" (i.e., their name for the Prestonwood Baptist Church), or after their "Christian" pastor had delivered an anti-Mormon sermon from the pulpit on Sunday.

    And that is why Mitt Romney simply cannot survive the primaries. If he could survive the primaries, then I think he would be by far the strongest candidate against Hillary Clinton. But the Republican Party will eat him alive in the primaries, because that is where the Evangelicals can assert their greatest influence

    Wow, john and I agree. The question is, which one is slipping to the Dark Side?

    :-)

    The primaries may be difficult, perhaps. But his conservative views would win over hearts and minds in the primary states' voting booths.

    And of course, a Hillary Clinton/Mitt Romney matchup would garner 97% of Republican's votes.

    I did know about Orrin Hatch's, but not Harry Reid's religious identity. Very interesting.

    Note: They're posting over at getreligion.org on this topic, too.

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