As we start heading toward the next round of elections, both sides – the GOP and the DFL – are planning to make the biggest electoral hay that they can out of the Same Sex Marriage issue.
The GOP majority in the legislature put the issue of a Marriage Amendment on the ballot for next year. The issue might just overshadow all other issues on the ballot, short of the presidency itself.
Just a couple of observations:
- Both Sides Need It To Be An Issue: there’s evidence that the GOP left a lot of votes on the table in the 2010 gubernatorial election when Tom Emmer didn’t make gay marriage a key campaign issue. Naturally, gay marriage is a bloody shirt that the DFL can wave at its constituents; they think it’ll get people to turn out.
- Neither side wants this issue to be resolved: You caught the bit about this being a vote getter – or at least a perceived vote-getter – for both sides, right? It’s not just this election; however this amendment turns out next year, it’ll be an electoral carrot and stick for both parties to dangle out there for years to come…provided it’s not actually resolved, one way or the other.
- The GOP Has More To Gain By Keeping It As A Public Issue: While I agree with Andy Aplikowski that Minnesotans are generally a fairly socially libertarian bunch, I think that when you add up the math for the GOP, it’s a lot easier to get to “landslide win” if the evangelicans turn out for you. And while evangelical conservatives will turn out for economic issues, throwing them some social red meat surely can’t hurt. Can it?
- The DFL Has More To Lose: The Democrats nationwide are scrambling to give their base – to say nothing of independents – a reason to turn out next November. Saddled with a turkey of a President, a Senate with approval lower than Mullah Omar, a slew of Senate seats at risk, the unions’ attempt to outsource agitation to the “Occupy” movement dissolving in a welter of filth, crime, sexual assault and counterculture dissipation, and Progressivism in the heartland rocked back on its heels by two-chamber flips in Wisconsin and Minnesota, the DFL needs to be able to wave the bloody shirt of “bigotry” at its gay and gay-sympathetic constituents.
- The DFL Needs It More: If the Democrats nationwide are in a public relations bind – still running against George W. Bush, looking forward to a campaign that has to answer the question “are you better off now than you were four years ago?” with “Hey! Mitt Romney has weird hair!” – the DFL is worse. They’re not really even a party anymore; The DFL is a shell that basically administers outsourcing contracts with “Alliance For A Better Minnesota”, “Take Action Minnesota”, “Win Minnesota”, “Common Cause”, “Draw The LIne” and other checkbook advocacy groups that do most of the “party’s” actual work; think “the Hessians”. DFL could use something to get people to remember they exist. (But they’ll likely subcontract this out to “Minnesotans For Marriage Equality”, a fully-owned subsidiary of “Alliance For A Better Minnesota”. Yes, it’s fictional, but you know that’s basically how it’s going to work, don’t you?)
- The DFL Doesn’t Want Single-Sex Marriage Legalized: Think about it. They’ve been nominally for gay marriage for thirty-odd years. And from 2006, and especially 2008, through 2010 the DFL had absolute control of the Legislature; it was two chambers against Tim Pawlenty. Now, the DFL maintains that a majority of Minnesotans support same sex marriage. So if they actually believe that, why not push it through in the 2008 or 2010 sessions, when they had overwhelming control, were riding high on two landslide victories and the Obamascenscion? “Because Pawlenty would have vetoed it! Why waste the votes?” is the usual answer. So why not bypass Governor Pawlenty and go for an amendment? Or use that purported majority of Minnesotans that favor the issue to either override the veto, or use it to get Republicans voted out of office back in 2010? There really are only two reasons; one would be that there just isn’t that much of an electoral demand for same sex marriage – but we just know the DFL wouldn’t blow smoke up the state’s skirt, would it? The other reason is that it’s not in the DFL’s interest either to push this issue (in the oh-so-unlikely even they’re lying) or, I suspect most likely, they don’t really want same sex marriage legalized; that would take it off the table as a get-out-the-vote issue.