This week, we’re running a unique experiment: forecasting the five top values issues that will define the year ahead. Every day, I offer a new prediction, so far including the economy, the wealth gap, and health care. The political matchup of the century is my fourth nomination for 2012’s top values issues.
Do you agree?
Here’s my case: Mitt Romney has the best chance of all GOP candidates to be the last man standing as the Republican candidate for president. His squeaker of a win in Iowa this week didn’t cement the party’s nomination, but it helped. Rick Santorum came in second by only 8 votes, now making him the latest Republican candidate to surge. While he’ll give Romney a run for the money, attracting the super-conservative wing of the GOP, in the end it will be the safest and most electable candidate who will get the GOP nod: Romney.
What makes a Romney/Obama contest the political matchup of the century—and hence, one of the top values issues of the year? Religion and race. In 2008, we elected the first African American president of the United States. That was a huge moment, a political and moral watershed in American politics and society. Now, with Romney as the GOP candidate, there’s a possibility of electing the first Mormon president. That would be another huge, watershed moment. But even if Romney lost, we would have re-elected an African American president. Either way, it would be a huge moment.
There’s another twist to the religion theme. A Romney/Obama matchup would also pit a Mormon against a “Muslim.” Let me explain those quote marks. Recall that almost one in five Americans (18%) thought that Obama was a Muslim, as we discussed on OurValues.org before. That means, in effect: For some Americans, this political matchup would be viewed as a clash of two minority religions.
Is Romney v. Obama is a political matchup of the century?
What do you think of the case I have made from the data?
What else is on YOUR list?
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Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.