In the run-up to Super Duper Tuesday (as much fun as that was, moreso now that not a whole lot was actually clarified by it), I listened to a fair amount of political commentary on the radio and on TV. In fact, one of my new favorite shows is Morning Joe on MSNBC. Most mornings I sit on the couch quietly slurping my cereal and watch CNN or Headline News. A few weeks back, I turned on Morning Joe and have been hooked ever since. I imagine the luster will fade once the elections are over. Most commentators have been making a big issue over voter identity in this race. When Obama was the underdog, most commentators believed blacks would support Clinton believing that Obama's race was not enough to turn the tide in his favor in that group. Women were expected, and apparently generally are, supporting Clinton, presumably because they're women. Evangelicals support Huckabee because he used to be a Southern Baptist preacher and is still a conservative Christian. And Romney carried 83% of Utah's Republicans. The Mormon majority state voted for the Mormon candidate, which is unsurprising.
But in the weeks prior to yesterday, there was a great deal of snotty condemnation of the fact that a good percentage of the Christians in the US won't vote for Romney because they are suspicious of his Mormon faith. Mormons can vote for Mormons, women for women, blacks for blacks - that kind of identity politics is fine, but when it reverses itself, somehow that is unacceptable? Why is a woman voting for a woman solely because she's a woman less sexist than a man who won't vote for a woman because she's a woman? Why is it racist for a white person to refuse to support a black candidate but not racist for a black person to refuse to support anyone but a black candidate? Why is the positive accepted but the negative condemned when they are just two sides of the same coin?
To me, this points to another failure in our political process. People do not tend to vote with a rational understanding and weighing of the issues. They do not closely examine their own values and then pick a candidate who most closely agrees with them or who will support what matters most to them. They vote with their gut. They vote with social pressure. And all too often that makes for very poor politics.