Thursday, December 8, 2016

Last Call For Economic Anxiety Was Really Social

David Bernstein over at the Volokh Conspiracy argues that it wasn't race, it wasn't class, it wasn't demographics or jobs or Russia or misogyny against Hillary Clinton or "fake news" or any widely cited reason that handed the country over to the Republicans. No, his argument is that it was a massive social backlash against all those nasty sneering liberals who got same-sex marriage legalized.

The presidential election was so close that many factors were “but-for” causes of Donald Trump’s victory. One that’s been mostly overlooked is Trump’s surprising success with religious voters. According to exit polls, Trump received 81 percent of the white evangelical Christian vote, and Hillary Clinton only 16 percent. Trump did significantly better than the overtly religious Mitt Romney and the overtly evangelical George W. Bush. He likely over-performed among other theologically conservative voters, such as traditionalist Catholics, as well. Not bad for a thrice-married adulterer of no discernible faith.

To what can we attribute Trump’s success? The most logical answer is that religious traditionalists felt that their religious liberty was under assault from liberals, and they therefore had to hold their noses and vote for Trump.

All elections apparently come down to God, guns, and gays. Oh, and US Solicitor General Don Verrilli.

Let’s focus on one of these incidents, the time the solicitor general of the United States acknowledged that religious institutions that oppose as a matter of internal policy same-sex marriage may lose their tax exemptions. At oral argument in the Obergefell same-sex marriage case, there was the following colloquy:

Justice Samuel Alito: Well, in the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax­exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same­ sex marriage?

Soliticitor General Verrilli: You know, I ­, I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. ­ I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is ­­it is going to be an issue

With the mainstream media busy celebrating the Supreme Court’s ultimate recognition of a right to same-sex marriage, this didn’t get that much attention in mainstream news outlets. But in the course of researching my book, “Lawless,” I noticed that Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.’s answer was big news in both the conservative blogosphere and in publications catering to religiously traditionalist audiences. The idea that Regent University or Brigham Young University or the local Catholic university or the many hundreds of other religious schools — and potentially other religious organizations — could be put at a severe competitive disadvantage if they refused on theological grounds to extend the same recognition to same-sex couples as to opposite-sex couples struck many as a direct and serious assault on religious liberty.

In short, many religious Christians of a traditionalist bent believed that liberals not only reduce their deeply held beliefs to bigotry, but want to run them out of their jobs, close down their stores and undermine their institutions. When I first posted about this on Facebook, I wrote that I hope liberals really enjoyed running Brendan Eich out of his job and closing down the Sweet Cakes bakery, because it cost them the Supreme Court. I’ll add now that I hope Verrilli enjoyed putting the fear of government into the God-fearing because it cost his party the election.

Which is weird, because NC GOP Gov. Pat McCrory's re-election bid was the prime example of a test to see if Bernstein's theory is correct, and McCrory paid the price for signing a "religious liberty" bill, doing significantly worse than Trump or GOP Sen. Richard Burr, who both won in the state, while McCrory lost.

I don't buy it was Obergfell at all.  It's a convenient excuse like "economic anxiety" when white Americans did far better economically than black or Latino Americans over the last eight years and then screamed that the Democrats abandoned them when Hillary Clinton, due in no small part to the pressure of Bernie Sanders, had the most progressive platform in history.  No, I can see why white voters wanted to teach those people a lesson, but it wasn't same-sex marriage any more than it was atheist dudebros.

It's much more likely that Christian Dominionists were so horrified at the idea of a woman president who was nice to brown people that they revolted.  Joke's on them, they got a revolting president who's not even in office yet and he's already unleashing his brownshirts on union steelworkers who dare to criticize Dear Leader, complete with death threats for ordinary citizens who are guilty of thoughtcrime.

It's one thing to make excuses for Trump voters, that liberals somehow left them no choice but to vote for the monster, except we have these things called primaries, where Republicans made the choice themselves to nominate Trump.   But the real issue here is once again, it's everyone's fault but the actual people who actually cast votes for Donald Trump, that Donald Trump will be this nation's next president.  I'm tired of it.

Second, you guys keep calling yourselves Christians, and I have yet to see Christ-like behavior in acceptance, tolerance, humility or compassion from evangelical Christian Republicans.  What they see is a chance to settle centuries-old scores with people who aren't evangelicals, starting with "godless liberals" like myself.

Yeah, keep telling yourself it's an attack on "the right to be bigots" that lost the election, rather than the actual bigots themselves.  You're just as bad as he is.  Own it already.

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