With a black man and a Mormon running against each other in the presidential race, will racism or anti-Mormonism effect the outcome? Political scientist Norman Ornstein does not think so.
"I'm really skeptical at this point that either of those things, which are big factors more generally in society, racism especially, are going to have any significant impact on the campaign itself," Ornstein told The Christian Post Thursday.
Others disagree. In a February blog post for The Washington Post, Donald Kinder, professor of political science and psychology at University of Michigan, wrote that racism could hurt Obama's chances of reelection. Kinder co-authored a book, The End of Race? Obama, 2008, and Racial Politics in America, which argued that Obama's victory in 2008 would have been much larger if not for racism.
Meanwhile, in a Sept. 9 blog post for The Huffington Post, Mark Joseph, a talk show host and publisher of Bullypulpit.com, argued that "millions of Americans are simply not going to vote for [Romney] because of his Mormon faith."
Ornstein argued that, while it will not make a difference in the election, race is a factor in the antipathy toward Obama. Though, "when you look at the bile focused on Clinton when he was president, it tells you something in the larger sense as well."
Ornstein also believes that Romney's candidacy will lead to less anti-Mormon sentiment in the country, because some who hold those views will end up voting for him.
"I actually think that one of the achievements Romney will have in this campaign is to negate a good deal of [anti-Mormonism] in the end. You're going to get an awful lot of people, evangelical Christians, for example, Protestants in particular, who have had strong anti-Mormon sentiment. They're going to vote for Mitt Romney and, in the end, it's going to have to counter some of the feelings or stereotypes they have about it."
Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and writes a weekly column for Roll Call. His most recent book, coauthored with political scientist Thomas Mann, is It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.