As I was writing the post below this one I started to think about one of the likely effects of this next election cycle, and perhaps one or two beyond it: the unraveling of the coalition, always an uneasy one, between the so-called Religious Right and the more traditional Stocks 'n Bonds Republicans.
It's funny for me to think that my Catholic ancestors mostly voted Democrat for their political lives; the Democratic party was seen as the party of the little guy, the party of the labor unions back when labor unions were still seen as a good and protective force in the lives of ordinary workers, the party of social justice and of respect for the decent hardworking values of the average American.
Catholics, by and large, were Democrats. Their best political home was in the Democratic party. But all of that changed when the Democrats became the party of abortion on demand.
For the first time not only Catholic voters but also others who took their religious belief seriously started to feel unwelcome in what had forever seemed to be the party of the little guy--because they decided to ignore the littlest guys of all, the unborn, instead lining up behind the notion that killing some humans was a good idea.
There was a time when voting Republican seemed like the morally correct thing to do, too. I remember being quite happy the first time I voted for a Republican in a presidential campaign. But somewhere between then and now, I fell for the sort of "Hold-your-nose-and-vote-for-X" logic that kept me voting for Republicans even when I was unsure about their values or actually opposed to some of them.
For me, personally, I've reached a breaking point with McCain. My poor nose won't put up with another election cycle squeeze, and I don't think I could keep the stench of his support for ESCR from reaching my nostrils anyway, no matter how tightly I grip the olfactory organ.
Of course, I'll never vote for Obama, so that leaves a third-party choice or no vote at all.
The question is, how many serious Catholic voters, deeply religious Christian voters, and others who formed the coalition that used to be called the "Religious Right" are starting to think the same way?