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Do we think an openly gay man can get elected to the presidency in this country? (1 Viewer)

Before the 2016 election I said over a couple dozen times in the FFA that Bernie Sanders would never be elected President because he was an avowed Socialist and I kept linking this yearly Gallup poll that showed being a Socialist was the biggest disqualifier or deal breaker as far as voting for a candidate for POTUS.

I feel the same way this year about Mayor Pete and it is not because I don't agree with his positions. Being openly gay will cost him single digit percentage of votes in rust belt and toss up states. It will be another close election and even if it is only 2-3% that won't vote for him because he is homosexual, that is the ball game right there.

I am a progressive but I am also a realist.
Dang. Its 2020. We're living in the future. If we still discount well meaning idea-based candidates based on arbitrary reasons then we get what we deserve. 

 
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Catholic, Mormon, actor, war hero, folksy, drawl, articulate, draft dodger, gay, doofus, shrill, black, white,  female, orange ... doesn't matter. Recent history shows that we will vote and justify our vote by the tens of millions for anyone if the time is right and mood grabs us. If the nation thinks that Pete's message is resonating in the moment then he's a serious contender. Honestly,  if 128 million of us collectively went to bat for for Trump and Hillary, I'm pretty sure our not so delicate standards can handle Pete.
I agree. I also think the answer you give in April 2019 to a mostly hypothetical question (let's face it, the odds of PB making it to the general would be long no matter what his orientation) is very different to the answer you'd give in November 2020 regarding a candidate who pulled off an amazing upset in the primaries and demonstrated that he has nationwide support.

Right now, he's "a gay candidate" or maybe "that gay dude on TV". But at the point where he's won the nomination he would be regarded first and foremost as an individual we've come to know over the past year and a half.

 
One other point: I'm not saying anyone in this thread is homophobic, but "Americans will never vote for X" is frequently used to launder people's own prejudices against X. I heard that kind of stuff a lot about a black candidate in 2007. Maybe it's not open bigotry as much as subconscious discomfort.

 
If you come out with some ultra “gay” agenda, no.

If you speak to people like Mayor Pete I’m convinced yes.

Who doesn’t have a gay cousin, gay coworker, gay friend at this point? 

 
Are we ready for a Rhodes scholar veteran?   I’m not sure.  

Are we over our “let’s elect a draft dodging buffoon” stage?
Actually, over the past five decades, the history of veteran candidates running against non-vets is almost uniformly terrible. McGovern, Carter, Bush Sr., Dole, Gore, Kerry and McCain all lost to candidates who never served.

 
Actually, over the past five decades, the history of veteran candidates running against non-vets is almost uniformly terrible. McGovern, Carter, Bush Sr., Dole, Gore, Kerry and McCain all lost to candidates who never served.
And Trump won the military vote by 2-1 despite being a draft dodger and berating the  Khan family , McCain and vets with PTSD.  That's a key demographic in Florida. 

 
Right now, he's "a gay candidate" or maybe "that gay dude on TV"
Thats where I was a month ago.

Then I started to pay attention to what he was saying and how he was saying it.  I think as we get into the election cycle, most voters will look past his sexual orientation, and decided to vote, or not to vote, for him based on his vision and his leadership.

 
Are there enough people in the country who can look past who he loves to see what he can do for the country?

I think if he’s a good enough candidate, being gay won’t prevent him from winning.

 
Are there enough people in the country who can look past who he loves to see what he can do for the country?

I think if he’s a good enough candidate, being gay won’t prevent him from winning.
Boy I couldn't disagree more.  I mean it isn't even close..  They just wont.   Billy Bob will NOT vote for a gay man.   Many Catholics and religious people will NOT vote for a gay man. 

Homophobia is absolutely real in this country,  I believe more so than ever.   

 
It could be that homophobia will prevent Buttigieg from winning. That’s certainly a very real possibility and it shouldn’t be discounted. 

But another possibility is that, should this man be the candidate, there will be some public expressions of homophobia by a few people that will create a wave of revulsion against bigotry and that many people will vote for Buttigieg as a rejection of such bigotry: I think this might be equally likely or more likely. 

 
Boy I couldn't disagree more.  I mean it isn't even close..  They just wont.   Billy Bob will NOT vote for a gay man.   Many Catholics and religious people will NOT vote for a gay man. 

Homophobia is absolutely real in this country,  I believe more so than ever.   
Billy Bob isn't voting for any Democrat.  The voters in the middle which will determine the election largely won't care, IMO, if the candidate is good.

 
Billy Bob isn't voting for any Democrat.  The voters in the middle which will determine the election largely won't care, IMO, if the candidate is good.
Yeah I don't agree.  Like I said, my BIL's wife wouldn't vote for a gay man ever...and she HATES Trump with a passion.   Her religion will not allow her to support homosexuality in any way.

 
Boy I couldn't disagree more.  I mean it isn't even close..  They just wont.   Billy Bob will NOT vote for a gay man.   Many Catholics and religious people will NOT vote for a gay man. 

Homophobia is absolutely real in this country,  I believe more so than ever.   
Could never elect a Catholic.  Could never elect a black man.  No mormon could win a nomination.  No person with incredible business and personal baggage, who is also a terrible person, could win the presidency.

Time and time again the country has shown that they'll give a president a pass on personal issues/beliefs/behavior that they disagree with, if that person represents them well, advocates for their interest, and promotes a vision they can get behind.  It's more about how the candidate makes voters feel, more than any specific personal issues.

 
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Yeah I don't agree.  Like I said, my BIL's wife wouldn't vote for a gay man ever...and she HATES Trump with a passion.   Her religion will not allow her to support homosexuality in any way.
I try not to rush to judgement on these things. I guess your SIL could vote 3rd party. There's just no legitimate comparison on character that Trump wins with any Democrat, I mean without limitation, any of the 18 or so running or others who might run.

And I'll give Buttigieg credit for taking that head on. He's spoken more about Christianity in a few short weeks than Trump in his campaign + presidency's 4 years. Just the idea of a Christian stomaching that "2 Corinthians" sacrilegious bs is stomach turning, not to mention the rest. But like I said Buttigieg has that conversation and he wins it. He even wins it vs Pence who while truly, I'm sure, genuinely heartfelt about his religion throws tv preacher crap terms like 'Bible believing Christian' up on the wall - what kind of Christian is he implying doesn't believe the Bible? Again I respect PB a great deal for going straight at these soap sellers.

 
I think that being gay isn't the biggest hurdle for Mayor Pete. His youth and inexperience will be a larger problem, especially as he gets into the thick of the primary debates. After 4 years of Trump The Outsider, the electorate will most likely want to pivot back to some level of stability with a more seasoned candidate.

 
I think that being gay isn't the biggest hurdle for Mayor Pete. His youth and inexperience will be a larger problem, especially as he gets into the thick of the primary debates. After 4 years of Trump The Outsider, the electorate will most likely want to pivot back to some level of stability with a more seasoned candidate.
IMO, his biggest problem is that he is a centrist in a political party which seemingly  has moved to the left. That will be his toughest dilemma in the debates as his views are contrasted with people like Sanders and Warren. 

 
Boy I couldn't disagree more.  I mean it isn't even close..  They just wont.   Billy Bob will NOT vote for a gay man.   Many Catholics and religious people will NOT vote for a gay man. 

Homophobia is absolutely real in this country,  I believe more so than ever.   
Then you lack historical perspective. Following WW2, homophobia in the 50s and 60s (pre Stonewall) reached almost demented proportions in this country. Besides looking for Communists, McCarthy and his ilk also targeted homosexuals as a security threat to this nation. Simply being suspected of being gay was enough to be denied employment or housing.

Things kind of improved from late 60s until early 80s when the AIDs epidemic hit and almost all gains were erased. AIDs was perceived by many as a gay disease that was retribution from God and there was even some talk on the right in the early stages of this epidemic about putting gay men in quarantine or in camps of some sort. The idea of gay rights and particularly gay marriage seemed laughable in those days.

Progress has been steady since then for LGBT folks, mainly because so many people who were formerly in the closet have come out and now almost everyone has a family member, co-worker, neighbor or someone they know who is LGBT. So with this level of awareness, homophobia is probably at a all time low.

However, while homophobia is less, the public expression of it (along with racism) is more vocal, particularly given the existence of social media where people can express their bigotry openly and anonymously.

 
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IMO, his biggest problem is that he is a centrist in a political party which seemingly  has moved to the left. That will be his toughest dilemma in the debates as his views are contrasted with people like Sanders and Warren. 
On POTUS Politics yesterday they were talking about how centrist democrats out number the hard liner left democrats 2-1 in actual polling but are much quieter and not as active.   So it will be interesting as I think many GOP voters want more of a centrist government as well.

 
IMO, his biggest problem is that he is a centrist in a political party which seemingly  has moved to the left. That will be his toughest dilemma in the debates as his views are contrasted with people like Sanders and Warren. 
I don't think this is really an issue about the primary, this is clearly an issue that would arise in the general only.

 
 Besides looking for Communists, McCarthy and his ilk also targeted homosexuals as a security threat to this nation. 
100% true, and the most ironic aspect of this is that the two men most responsible for the McCarthy era, besides McCarthy himself, were closet gays (J Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn.)

 
I don't think this is really an issue about the primary, this is clearly an issue that would arise in the general only.
Why would it be an issue in the general?  I'd see it as a benefit to attract centrists to him instead of the R, in addition to the left folks.

 
Not together, though?
So far as I know, no. 

Cohn had numerous young men throughout his life (the most famous of these, during the McCarthy era, was G David Schine) and as he got older they got younger. He died of AIDS, though he insisted it was liver cancer (fictionalized in the excellent “Angels In America”.) 

I think Hoover had the same partner, his roommate and deputy, for over 40 years. 

 
It could be that homophobia will prevent Buttigieg from winning. That’s certainly a very real possibility and it shouldn’t be discounted. 

But another possibility is that, should this man be the candidate, there will be some public expressions of homophobia by a few people that will create a wave of revulsion against bigotry and that many people will vote for Buttigieg as a rejection of such bigotry: I think this might be equally likely or more likely. 
:goodposting:

Also we should not underestimate people's motivation to convince themselves that they're totally enlightened and not bigots at all while exerting the least amount of effort possible to do so. First they got to demonstrate that they're not racist by voting for Obama, now they get to demonstrate that they're not homophobic? It's a dream come true for white suburban moderates.

 
Why would it be an issue in the general?  I'd see it as a benefit to attract centrists to him instead of the R, in addition to the left folks.
I just disagreed with Tim's putting it in the context of the primary. - You may be right about the general, I was just thinking of the prejudice issue and the Trump campaign's likely use of it.

 
I just disagreed with Tim's putting it in the context of the primary. - You may be right about the general, I was just thinking of the prejudice issue and the Trump campaign's likely use of it.
I think there’s a bit of confusion here. Buttigieg’s homosexuality will be more of a challenge in the general, if he makes it. Buttigieg’s centrist views will be more of a challenge in the primaries. 

 
Could never elect a Catholic.  Could never elect a black man.  No mormon could win a nomination.  No person with incredible business and personal baggage, who is also a terrible person, could win the presidency.

Time and time again the country has shown that they'll give a president a pass on personal issues/beliefs/behavior that they disagree with, if that person represents them well, advocates for their interest, and promotes a vision they can get behind.  It's more about how the candidate makes voters feel, more than any specific personal issues.
Horse race politics, deciding whether to support someone because they may or may not succeed in the general, is a disaster. The press got way too wrapped up in this in 2016. And if anyone needs a pointer look to Obama in 2008 who broke all the usual molds of common wisdom.

 
Horse race politics, deciding whether to support someone because they may or may not succeed in the general, is a disaster. The press got way too wrapped up in this in 2016. And if anyone needs a pointer look to Obama in 2008 who broke all the usual molds of common wisdom.
Exactly.  Put it to the voters.  Give the candidates a fair shake.  See who energizes the population the most, motivates folks the most, whose vision the most folks buy into, who can raise the most money, who gets folks to turn out and vote for them?

There's a history of setting aside personal feelings about the beliefs/actions/history of a candidate and supporting them based on their politics.  No real reason to believe this would be different.

 
So far as I know, no. 

Cohn had numerous young men throughout his life (the most famous of these, during the McCarthy era, was G David Schine) and as he got older they got younger. He died of AIDS, though he insisted it was liver cancer (fictionalized in the excellent “Angels In America”.) 

I think Hoover had the same partner, his roommate and deputy, for over 40 years. 
They weren't roommates, they lived in separate quarters, although spent most of their time together

 
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This conversation reminds me so much of the "is America ready for a black President?" threads from back in 2007-8. A common refrain back then was the idea that people would say they were fine with it when asked in polls, but then would do something different in the voting booth. Obviously that's not how it worked out. The flip side is that there is at least anecdotal evidence that some voters didn't vote for Hillary specifically because she's a woman, setting aside from broader commentary about differences in how the media handled her. Of course the national polling ended up being reasonably accurate, but it's possible sexism made a difference in a few key/close states. 

The last poll I saw was that around 70% of voters don't care, which seems like it's around the threshold of where it needs to be. The candidate also clearly makes a difference. People's prejudices are real but tend to break down at a personal level, so candidates who connect with voters can overcome some of that. In this specific election it also helps that the opposing candidate is likely to have significantly higher negatives. My guess is the number of people who would never vote for Trump is substantially higher than the number who would exclude a candidate just on the basis of being gay. 

So that's long way of saying yes. 

 
This conversation reminds me so much of the "is America ready for a black President?" threads from back in 2007-8. A common refrain back then was the idea that people would say they were fine with it when asked in polls, but then would do something different in the voting booth. Obviously that's not how it worked out. The flip side is that there is at least anecdotal evidence that some voters didn't vote for Hillary specifically because she's a woman, setting aside from broader commentary about differences in how the media handled her. Of course the national polling ended up being reasonably accurate, but it's possible sexism made a difference in a few key/close states. 
You're talking about the "Bradley Effect", after the CA gubernatorial candidate who was leading in the polls before the 1982 election but ended up losing. That was mostly debunked in 2008. Everything I've seen about 2016 suggests there was not a "Female Bradley Effect" with respect to Hillary (nor is there any evidence of the alleged "Shy Trump Voter" that was occasionally thrown about). However, that is not the same thing as saying that latent sexism didn't play a role. If a voter who was genuinely torn between Hillary and Trump tipped at the last minute toward him, there is no way to really know if sexism played a role, directly or indirectly. The voter himself may not even know for sure. In a race as close as theirs was, it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume sexism (along with many other factors) played a decisive role.

I also don't think you can look at Obama's victory in 2008 and Hillary's loss in 2016 and draw any conclusions about how race or gender affected the race (not that you were saying that, just that I've heard that type of analysis since 2016). The 2008 election was going to be a strong Democratic race regardless; if Hillary had won the nomination there's a very good chance she would have beaten McCain. Conversely, if Obama had lost a close race, we would likely be talking about maps like this one, which showed that Appalachian counties, unlike literally everywhere else in the country, gave him fewer votes than they did Kerry, and concluding that racism against black candidates was still very much a factor. 

BTW, this whole discussion reminds me of my favorite story from the 2008 campaign, which seemed somewhat encouraging at the time but in retrospect seems foreboding:

So a canvasser goes to a woman’s door in Washington, Pennsylvania. Knocks. Woman answers. Knocker asks who she’s planning to vote for. She isn’t sure, has to ask her husband who she’s voting for. Husband is off in another room watching some game. Canvasser hears him yell back, “We’re votin’ for the n***er!”

Woman turns back to canvasser, and says brightly and matter of factly: “We’re voting for the n***er.”

 

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