Friday, May 11, 2012

Editorial: President Obama Endorses Gay Marriage - Will It Cost Him The Election?

An Editorial from Eddi Haskell

Thank you President Obama for speaking out!

As just about everyone who is reading this already knows, President Obama has endorsed the right of same-sex couples to marry.  Vice President Biden, a person who I know personally since I interned with him in college in his office (he made it a point to speak to the 18 year old me every day and made me feel important), and a great guy, forced his hand last week by coming out in favor of it last week.

(One thing - the next time anyone decided to attack the hierarchy of Roman Catholic Church for opposing gay rights, individual Catholics, such as Vice President Biden who is quite religious in his convictions, and goes to mass regularly is not alone in supporting gay rights - in fact, according to CNN, most Catholic voters in the United States - who account for as much as 25% of the electorate support him in this issue. This is why I get so angry seeing anti-Catholic hate attacks in places like gay- uberblog Joe's Blog for example).

I am not sure this endorsement will help President Obama win reelection.  I actually think it will not hurt, but am not sure about how much it might.

Why is this?

The U.S. decides elections by something called the Electoral College, not by popular vote. This is why President Bush won the 2000 election over Vice President Gore even though Gore won more votes. Bush took more electoral votes, and each state (with some rare exceptions) votes as a block. The election in 2000 came down to the State of Florida, and the county in which I vote, Palm Beach Country. And enough shenanigans were pulled to award the election to President Bush, ushering is a disastrous 8 years for the United States.

In 2004, John Kerry would have beaten President Bush if the State of Ohio would have voted for him. Ohio is a socially conservative state, and gay marriage was a hot button issue there that year. It is widely assumed that Kerry's stance -- not endorsing gay marriage, but not opposing it as much as President Bush had, cost him the election.

The 2012 election, coming up in November, comes down to about 10 key states that voted Democratic last time, when President Obama won in an electoral college landslide. These states are Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Indiana is already solidly in Romney's camp.

If Romney can pull off about six of these states, shown as Grey above,  he will win. This map reflects current polling data. These states are socially conservative and are not native bastions of gay rights. I just hope that President Obama's announcement will not swing socially conservative Democrats against him.

If it does, we need to get ready for a long election night in November. Many of us will wish he waited until 2013 to make his position known.  Let's hope this does not happen, because Mitt Romney has just admitted he was a severe homophobe when he was younger.


  1. Great editorial Eddi. Right on as usual

  2. Thanks for clarifying things for us non-Americans, Eddi!

  3. Well it seems there is hope ( ) The thing I see and I may be wrong, is the haters seem to have more time to hate. If you look at this poll the strongly apposed is very small to the agree or in the middle. In support, maybe it is time to just out yell the haters with every free moment.

    1. I hope you are right, and that this will help. But the election in the United States will come down on how independent votes (those not registered Democrat or Republican), and conservative blue collar democrats vote-- in 10 key states. Obama carried both groups last time in these states. If he can do it again, he will be reelected.

  4. I'm not always an optimist, but I can't ignore my gut feeling that this is the right move at the right time.

    I think we've reached the point where gay rights may not win an election, but ugly hatred just may lose one.


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