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I guess that I'm thinking about some indeterminate number of folks out there who are trying to find some solace in saying "if only Jon Huntsman had been "THE MORMON CANDIDATE" rather than Mitt Romney". I'll try to create some context, and perhaps this may prove to be of some value to someone here down the road in a few years.

Mormons obviously are a mixed bag, but that doesn't mean that there isn't room for just a whole heck of alot more mixing. I mean, on the plus side of that observation I give you Ben McAdams. Newly elected as mayor of Salt Lake County, McAdams is Democrat enough to pass muster even on Daily Kos, and still Mormon enough that the local religious majority was willing to split off enough votes to keep the office in the Democratic column. And anyone and everyone can now instantly point to Harry Reid as being non-scary and completely Mormon. All well and good.

Some numbers. Of the 75 seats in the House of representatives in Utah, 61 are now held by Republicans. Does that mean that all 61 are Mormons and none of the other 14 are? The commonly stated figure for the level of Mormon infiltration in the Utah Legislature is 80%, so there is numerical room for some small cross over, and there is a small amount. Similarly, Utah has a 29 seat Senate, which now breaks out to 24 to 5 in favor of Republicans. Additionally, Mormon Utah went over 70% for Romney, and every statewide elective office in Utah is now held by a Republican (and I'm not saying that not one of those folks is not a Mormon, but I'm not able to come up with one off of the top of my head).

On the national level, 17 folks in Congress are Mormoms. Remarkably, two of the seven Mormon Senators are Democrats (and 7% of that body belonging to a religion that is openly professed by some 2 or 3 per cent of the population is not bad), with Sen. Tom Udall joining Sen. Reid in the "D" column. Of the 9 Mormon full Representatives in the House, Blue Dog Jim Matheson stands as the lone Democrat. Or almost alone, because there is a "Delegate" from American Samoa who calls himself both a Democrat and a Mormon.

In the Utah Legislature, women can caucus in a broom closet. On the plus side, both the majority leader and the minority leader in the House are female, and that has never happened before. In the national Legislature, while the occasional Mormon woman has come and gone, Mormom women are currently "extinct". And while Republicans in Utah had the chance this year to make history by backing Mia Love, a Haitian immigrant, over Jim Matheson, that seemingly turned out to be a bridge to far.

How to explain Mormom political wackiness? That's something that I sometimes take a stab at, but never in such limited space. I mean, Utah has now declared war against the federal government over the ownership of all public lands in the state and has yet to find anyone anywhere who can drag another state along on that crusade.

The subject of Mormon political strength is somewhat more explicable. The Mormom rush to he west kicked off in 1847, while the gold rushers are called the "49ers". Here we basically call them "johnny come latelies". Mormons really hit the interior of the western United States first. And while we could not grab everything fast, what we could and did grab all of are the water rights in the arid intermountain west. The initial Mormon political entity was labeled as the "State of Deseret" and would, in modern parlance, be called something far more like the states of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada.

A bit of an overreach? Perhaps! But you're welcome to be your own judge of the final results.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:44:45 PM PST

  •  So, I'm confused as to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    where you are going here in relation to Jon Huntsman. Who is finding some solace in saying "if only Jon Huntsman had been "THE MORMON CANDIDATE" rather than Mitt Romney"? The Mormons around you?

    The Mormons I talk to really don't like Huntsman, they seem to think he's a traitor. Do you run into any of this?

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:39:00 PM PST

    •  As you well know, there's the rank and file, and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gzodik

      then there's the heirarchy. The power in this doesn't lie in the numbers. It's "quality over quantity". And I, personally, join the Mormon masses in disliking Huntsamn, but for very different reasons.

      I wouldn't trust the guy as far as I could throw him, and I'm afraid that what I oppose is the source of his appeal to the local power structure. So compare him to Jindal or Christy, and maybe he still has a chance. Sadly.

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:52:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My take is that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, gzodik

    the Mormon tilt towards the Republican party is not a function of particular religious belief (though related).  Historically, Mormons had been at odds with the U.S. government (for example the Utah War or Mormon Rebellion shortly before the Civil War).  As you note, the friction continues to this day with respect to public lands -- among other things.  In any event, understandably, Mormons wanted their religious/cultural freedom -- and the less interference from the federal government, the better.  Thus, the sentiment of desiring a smaller federal government (less power over their affairs) firmly took hold, which dovetails nicely with the ideals of today's Republican party.

    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

    by winsock on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:39:06 PM PST

    •  IMO there is a lot of that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      winsock, cany, blueoasis

      but remember that Mormons aligned themselves with Dems back the day when Dems where the party of the south and racism. When the parties began to change places so did the Mormons. The switch started big time around the time Orrin Hatch knocked off Frank Moss.

      "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

      by high uintas on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:43:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, high uintas

        Remember, too, the Democratic and Republican parties also switched roles with respect to promoting small government.  From the mid 1800s until FDR in the mid 1930s (about the time Orrin Hatch was born) it was the Democratic Party that was the party of small government.  Republicans were all for the expansion of federal power, civil rights, etc.  Of course, not all federal expansion was bad for Utah or the western frontier by any means.  Nevertheless, some major ideological changes have certainly occurred between the two parties.

        Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

        by winsock on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 09:08:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  absolutely, uintas. and their early history was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas

        VERY communal.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 09:52:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, except study "The United Order'. Really one (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cany, Odysseus

      thing Brigham Young wanted to promote was that, and the whole rest of the world would rank it somewhere around "Socilaism" or even "Communism". So, if modern Mormons pine for the traditional, why don't we have a big old party in Utah on May 1?

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:56:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. But may I RSVP now? No, won't be (0+ / 0-)

        there, but thanks for the invite.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 09:54:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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