In a historic move, first broke by ABC News, President Obama today came out in support of same-sex marriage rights. Assuming you are all the intelligent people that you are, you probably already know about Vice President Biden and Secretary Duncan coming out with their support earlier but this move as effectively changed the political ball game from the minors to the majors. Being the first president ever in US history is a momentous occasion to witness whether you agree with the move or not. But what does this mean for Obama’s politics? Here’s my take plain and simple.
Race Over Romney. Period. Most everyone, on both sides of the aisle, agree that the most damage from this announcement will come from the blow to the socially conservative African-American and Latino-American communities. That much is obvious, as most other social conservatives have already fled the Democratic party (though traditional white Catholics might also seem threatened as well). But at the end of the day, a couple of facts in the electorate remain true.
1. This election will still be about jobs. The most important politics played by team Obama and team Romney will still be to prove to the people that they can provide the financial security for America going forward. There’s no point in worrying about the rights of gay couples if you’re too poor to buy the poster boards and markers to march on your state capitols.
2. African-American and Latino-Americans will still largely vote for Obama in the fall because, even though it’s a sad truth, racial pride and an eye to a historic minority presidency overrule any one social stance the president may take. While the choice was huge, nonetheless, it is certainly no bigger than a successful black/minority president would mean to the future of politics. This is even more true as statistics point to an increasingly diversified electorate in the future. Once you go black….well you know the rest.
3. A decision like this may energize a youth vote that, as a youth myself, honestly has taken a serious dip. But the idea of Obama taking a bold stance on an issue most of them feel is not only common, but a call for equality is a big push. Many view discrimination based on sexual orientation as one of the pivotal civil rights issues of our time, and none more so than the college kids that helped boost Obama to the White House in 2008. So in a sense, what he may lose from Democrat social conservatives he gains in enthusiasm colleges (Or as Hannity calls them “liberal-brainwashing factories”).
So with those three points about the electorate the only remaining issue is, of course, the Romney camp. Although the early reaction is to paint Obama a flip-flopper on the issue (what Obama aides call an “evolution”), Romney calling Obama a flip flopper is like Palin making fun of Hillary because she’s a women. Classic “the pot calling the kettle black” scenario. Since the announcement is so recent it’s hard to see where the Romney camp will actually go in this event, but by the looks of it they might not have to do anything.