To the frustration of many mainstream reporters, far too many blue-collar Americans simply refuse to do what the elites believe is best for them, when it comes time to step into ballot boxes (or discuss their views with pollsters, whichever comes first). This has, here in Beltway land, become known as the whole "What's the Matter with Kansas?" syndrome. Or, with a nod toward the candidate in the White House, one could call it the "God, guns and gays" mindset.
Anyway, this Kansas template -- obviously -- exists in other red zip codes across the nation.
Why do blue-collar people -- which, in MSM terms almost always means white people -- vote the way that they do? Well, NPR recently served up a pre-election story about politics in the Ohio River Valley that gave the Kansas template its due, then went one step further.
The crucial content in this story, of course, comes via a local authority on a secular university campus.
David Cohen, a political scientist at the University of Akron, says voters like these explain how someone can still be undecided in a contest between two such very different candidates.
"This is a population that, if you look economically, they should be voting Democrat," he says.
But he adds that people in this part of the state are also often very religious, social conservatives.
The region has its share of evangelicals, of course, but many or most of these churchgoers are Democrats who go to Mass once a week -- or more.
So what, according to this report, is another X-factor in the Ohio River Valley, in this tense election?
Additionally, he says, President Obama's race seems to be a factor with at least a portion of these voters.
"But you also have to remember that Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and especially among evangelicals, that makes them uncomfortable," he says, "so they don't have a natural fit on the Republican side, either."
This issue of racist Bible-thumpers is explored, just a bit, in the rest of the report with quotes from the locals -- who are said to be reluctant to talk about race, period.
However, there is no evidence -- other than the Cohen quote -- that this damning connection exists for significant numbers of voters. Perhaps this claim is simply so true that it does not need to be defended and to quote authorities on the other side would be another case of that whole "false balance" argument that is growing in popularity, these days.
But has anyone seen hard, factual evidence that voters -- Republicans and Democrats -- who are conservative on moral and cultural issues are more likely to be hesitant to vote for African-Americans? Perhaps they are reluctant to vote for African-American candidates who clash with them on the crucial social issues that have been so pivotal in our nation's political battles since, oh, 1973 or thereabouts?
Just asking. You would almost think that the NPR producers did not realize that a key element of this story could be read as an insult to 40 percent of the American population, give or take a few percentage points.
Like I said, does anyone have any hard evidence that moral conservatives are more likely to be racists? By this I mean journalistic evidence, with URLs and clear attributions, as opposed to blunt statements of mere opinion.