Romney Campaign, RIP

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So what’s the verdict on the religious significance of Mitt Romney’s run? Here are some provisional thoughts.
1. Romney’s Mormonism did hurt him. There were evangelicals who voted for him, but in those states where they are thickest on the ground, there were too many who didn’t. As a generic Protestant, he would, I suspect, have been able to hold off Mike Huckabee across the South.
Update with empirical data in support of above: Fully 49 percent of GOP voters in Alabama said that the religious beliefs of the candidate matter “a great deal” to them. Of those, 61 percent voted for Huckabee, and only 9 percent for Romney. Evangelicals made up 77 percent of the vote. This would seem to provide some basis for ascribing Romney’s problems to anti-Mormonism among evangelicals.
2. The fact that Romney obtained endorsements from leaders of the religious right–Paul Weyrich, for example–was a good thing for the country. After the warm evangelical embrace of George W. Bush as “our Christian president,” it was gratifying (at least for devotees of the constitutional prohibition on religious tests for office) to hear conservative Republicans insisting that “we are choosing a president, not a pastor.”
3. The absence of voices among the pundit class denouncing evangelicals for anti-Mormon bigotry was unfortunate. This may be put down to the soft bigotry of low expectations: What do you expect from those people? But had Romney chosen to run as a business conservative who was moderate on the social issues, I suspect there would have been more stepping up on his behalf. He never enjoyed the period of media embrace that Huckabee did.