Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dancing with the Mormons

[Politics-ish] For anyone who ever doubted why Mitt Romney would be a contender for a presidential candidate, all I have to say is this: Marie Osmond.

While you struggle to make the connection allow me to scoop you in on the latest Dancing with the Stars gossip. Our lovable Marie Osmond has cruised through the series despite getting some of the lowest marks by the judges for her abysmal dancing. Even last week she fainted while dancing because according to her "I forgot to breathe." Fair enough, honest mistake, that's one of those natural bodily functions that often slips my mind from time to time.

And yet the audience votes that keep coming in save Marie every time. One of her fellow dancers Maksim Chmerkovskiy has recently said it's all a sympathy vote because of her father's death and her sons going into rehab. Maksim also confessed that his celebrity partner Ugly Spice has personal problems of her own that she didn't flaunt in front of the nation that is that her kid has chicken pox.

I have another theory. Marie is swimming in votes because, sure there is a pity factor, but she also has an LDS social network supporting her that is vast, organized and efficient.

If one accepts Robert Putnam's theory of social capital you have to appreciate then how the LDS community has a very intricate network of support for members of its community that operates on formal and informal levels.

This is what not only keeps Marie going but also supports Mormon politicians nationwide. Sure the majority of Americans are scared of Mormons, but that doesn't completely counter the efficiency of the existing Mormon populations ability to elect voices of their community.

Look at national politics: 11 Mormon house reps, 5 in the senate including Majority leader Harry Reid. 5 senators may only be 5% of the senate but keep in mind there's only about 7 million LDS members in the US, 300 million thereabouts in the US at large.That's almost 200 percent representation.

Pretty damn impressive political machine there, and its the same machine that Romney will be counting on to not only drum up votes, but also organize outreach and fundraising to finance his extreme evangelical makeover necessary to win over the rest of America's value voters. (Eric S. Peterson)

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