With Mr. Frothy Out of the Mix, Will Amendment One Fail?

Written by Steve Publicover on April 11th, 2012
speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Former Papal Candidate Rick Santorum (photo credit Wikipedia)

As most of you have heard by now, Rick “Google Me” Santorum has “suspended” his presidential campaign after yet another disappointing round of primaries. Give the man some credit for finally realizing what we all knew from the get go, that he never had a snowball’s chance in hell.

America is tired of extremism. In an era where even Liberals aren’t liberal any more and the mainstream GOP refusing to use Marriage Equality as a wedge issue, are we beginning to see a hint of a glimmer of rationality in politics?

The Raleigh News and Observer reported Wednesday that Santorum’s exit from the presidential race could mean trouble for the anti-gay Amendment One, which would cement bigotry into the NC constitution.

Michael Bitzer, a political expert at Catawba College in Salisbury, said North Carolina voters can still make a statement when early voting for the May 8 primary begins on April 19. Santorum and Gingrich – as well as Ron Paul – will appear on the ballot and may draw a protest vote.

The question is how bad Romney limps into the Tampa convention with the base of the Republican Party still not behind him,” Bitzer said.

At the state level, Santorum’s departure may also influence voter turnout in other campaigns. The former Pennsylvania senator’s social conservative voters would have boosted support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions. Likewise, other far-right conservative candidates could have drawn more votes.

“Without a driving factor of a presidential race at the top of the ticket, will (social conservatives) have a motivation to come out?” Bitzer asked.

What Bitzer fails to take into account is that exit polling and public opinion research throughout the GOP primary season has consistently shown two things. First, that Republicans, in general aren’t thrilled with any of the choices they’ve been presented with this year. Voter turnout at the GOP primaries has been at record lows. Romney is too bland and he’s got that whole Mormon thing scaring the hell out of the evangelicals and other extremists.

Second, that the other contenders, including the two that are left, are far too extreme, even for extremists and aren’t electable. There is speculation that the Gingrich and Ron Paul campaigns might see a slight boost via protest votes from the folks who find Romney and his magic underwear just too icky, but not enough to make a significant difference. There is also the possibility that disillusioned GOP voters may just stay home.

When you take into account the rapidly declining support for Amendment One (60% are now opposed), plus Democratic Governor Bev Perdue’s announcement earlier this year that she will not be seeking re-election, voter turnout among Democrats will be greater than NC Republicans anticipated when they approved the referendum back in September. Factor in the disaffected Republican base and the likelihood of passage seems less than it did just a few weeks ago.

While the defeat of Amendment One is far from guaranteed, it’s safe to say that the tide has shifted in the Tarheel state and now is the time to keep the momentum going and fight harder than ever. Check out Protect All NC Families to see what you can do to help defeat Amendment One. Make a donation, pick up a yard sign, or volunteer.

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