Are Americans Ready for Some Flava in the White House?


Full disclosure: I hate Mitt Romney. In the same blind, irrational, unflinching way that he hates me and the rest of the gays. So, when I began looking at The Fix’s analysis of how Americans feel about a Mormon president, I hoped to find they weren’t interested. But I’m a good person—really!—so I had to question my own base desires. What I came up with, besides the disclosure above, is that it’s absurd for Romney to be running on a religious right platform. Since he doesn’t believe in the same Christian values as the religious right, he’s using religion, loosely defined, to justify a government that interferes in your private life without helping you out in any way (bye, bye Roe v. Wade, hello lower taxes for the rich). Either that or Romney thinks Mormonism should be the moral foundation for government, which makes far less sense than the also-problematic idea that Christianity should.

(By the way, the polls show that Americans are on the fence about voting for a Mormon candidate, which makes me think that a Mormon running on a religious platform won’t make the cut.)

The polls the good little wonks over at WaPo parsed held another surprising tidbit. While a higher percentage of people indicated they would be “more likely” to vote for a candidate who was African-American than “less likely,” fully twice as many said they would be less rather than more likely to vote for a female candidate (7 percent more/14 percent less). That’s a strong showing for the women-aren’t-as-competent contingent.

Isn’t it hard to believe we’re actually conducting polls about whether the U.S. is ready for anything other than a middle-aged Protestant white man for president? Dozens of countries have had female leaders and at least a handful have been led by members of an ethnic minority.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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