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.