Many of the more thoughtful readers of this blog have been essentially disenfranchised by the mainstream media in their preferred explanation for Bush’s victory – that it was a redneck assault on gay marriage and stem cell research. This assertion relies on exit polling which lists “Moral Vision” highest among the voters’ motivations. Never mind that these same exit polls have been discredited for completely missing the result of the election, let’s examine the question itself.
What is “Moral Vision”? Well, it’s certainly subject to many interpretations – and one of them could be anti-gay, of course – but that wouldn’t have been what would have sprung to my mind had I been stopped by a pollster on my way out of voting. I would have thought immediately of the Middle East and the War on Terror, because I believe that to be a moral war against particularly dangerous brands of fascism that threaten to engulf the world. That was my reason for voting for Bush and it was, to me, entirely a moral one. Although I wasn’t stopped, I might well have chosen “Moral Vision” because of that and I favor gay marriage and stem cell research (though I am not qualified to say how extensively it should be funded vis-a-vis other research).
So what we are looking at is a junk question subject to the broadest interpretation. That it is being exploited for other purposes is dishonest and indeed almost sinister. It is also self-destructive to those doing it.
UPDATE: An interesting article on the subject here. (hat tip: Nancy Block)