How Obama Can Win Utah (Without a 20% National Victory)

By: Inoljt,


Democratic candidates in Utah must feel as if they're facing an impossible task. The state is often considered the most far-right Republican stronghold in the United States. Winning Utah is akin to slaying a mighty dragon with only a bow as one's chosen weapon.

Like all dragons, however, Utah has a weak spot. The year 2012 may be a ripe time for Obama to shoot an arrow through it.

The majority of Utah's voters are Mormon; the religion is a heavy influence on daily life in the state. The vast majority of Mormons are also conservative, because Mormonism is an inherently conservative beast. In every presidential election so far, Mormons have proved to be strongly Republican.

Mormons like to think of themselves as average, normal Americans. They're good people. They help with the community. They love their children and teach them traditional values. Nobody cares if they have a different religion.

Except many people do care very much indeed, especially the type of person who tends to vote Republican. Many would never vote for a Mormon.

Imagine the following scenario, below the flip.

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Mormon Mysteries #549

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project& My Left Wing

click to enlarge

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Gary Lawrence: Familiarity breeds contempt (for Mormons)

Gary Lawrence, director of Proposition 8's Mormon grassroots effort.

The Brethren [the top echelon of Mormon leadership] have felt that the best way to organize and pass the Proposition is to have an Ecclesiastical arm and a Grassroots arm to the organization ... The senior folks who run the grassroots are LDS at the coalition and are headed by Glen Greener and Gary Lawrence.
Here's Gary, back in August, firing up his Mormon brigades ...

Why Mormons Are In This Fight:

If same-sex marriage advocates [win], the whole structure collapses -- the family, the nation, and in time civilization itself. The time has come for those of us who believe that God, not man, created marriage ... to take a stand and defend it.
(Gary's astounding post-victory TV interview after the break)

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What's happening with Prop. 8?

The polling is really astonishing in recent days.  Support for Prop. 8 has gone from a fifteen point deficit to a five point lead in a month.  Supporters have vastly outraised and outspent the No side.

All I've seen is the ad Mocking SF Mayor Newsome and the California Supreme Court.  It's really quite effective.  And
the Mormons have really organized; this could even reduce Obama's
margin in the state.

But I think there are also some other considerations:

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What Do Mormons Have Against Love?

There may not be any suspense as to whose column California's electoral votes will go this year (latest Field Poll has Obama up 16%) but that doesn't mean we don't have some tight electoral battles in CA in November, perhaps most notably Proposition 8, which seeks to prohibit same sex couples from marrying in California, as they have been doing happily since June 16.

I think AG Jerry Brown's ballot summary puts it even better:

"ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Changes California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

You can imagine the conniption fit that the right-wing had when they saw Brown's summary, calling it "biased" against the initiative. Umm, if you're going to seek to eliminate ones right, best not to complain when someone calls it what it is.

On the bright side, the momentum seems to be with No on 8. The new Field Poll shows 55% against and just 38% in favor (last month it was 51%-42%.) So, good right? Well, this momentum is fueling the other side to the point where, even with Brad Pitt's generous $100,000 donation yesterday, the Yes on 8 forces are outraising No on 8.

From The LA Times:

As of today, Prop. 8 opponents have raised $11,119,614.56, while the Prop 8 supporters side has amassed $16,647,476.77. (Pitt's contribution hasn't made it's way to the official tally yet, so add $100,000 to the no side of the equation.)

And, as Julia Rosen points out at calitics, wealthy Mormons are largely fueling the Yes on 8 fundraising AND activism surge.

The Mormon church is getting heavily involved in the campaign.  It looks like about 35% of contributions to the other side have come in from Mormons, or at least that is what they are claiming over at this Mormons for 8 website.  A high percentage of the large checks are coming from Utah.

Here is the question: is a religious institution trying to buy this election and change the California Constitution?

They aren't just donating.  They are fueling their GOTV activites.  Mormons have been invading neighborhoods en mass.  They are not using walk lists, but rather descend in large groups to knock doors and try and pass out the million yard signs they think is going to win them this election.  It's flat out creepy.  It freaks out entire communities and usually the No on 8 campaign hears within a few minutes where the Mormons have decided to invade on any given day.

It would appear that the answer to Julia's question would be Yes. Check out this letter from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The call to action is clear.

The Church will participate with this coalition in seeking its passage. Local Church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved in this important cause.

We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.

And they are answering that call, big time. So, the No on 8 folks are taking nothing for granted. They figure that, judging by how other statewide anti-gay marriage initiatives have polled prior to election day, that they'll need a 7 to 10 point cushion in order to prevent this thing from passing.

If you can, help Californians protect equality by contributing to No on 8 over at the Calitics Equality ActBlue page.

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