The way politics is changing

There's a story in today's Sun-Sentinel about tonight's Democratic Party candidate's forum on GLBT issues, to be broadcast on Logo, a fairly obscure gay cable channel.

It's a pretty significant step, I'd say, for six candidates--all the top tier--to show up for this kind of forum. They've been reading their demographics, which show that among younger people, gay rights are quite popular, even expected, and that the older voters who still think gays are icky aren't voting for Democrats anyway. Factor in that gays vote at astonishing rates, and it makes perfect sense for these candidates to show up.

That six candidates are willing to appear at such an event is significant, said Fred Fejes of Fort Lauderdale, a professor of communications and multimedia studies at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Fejes is writing Moral Panic: The Origins of America's Debate on Gay Rights, due out in 2008.

Fejes said it shows they've analyzed the risk of a backlash from appearing sympathetic to gays and their issues, and they've decided that the possibility of mobilizing a large number of Democratic voters is more important.

A new Quinnipiac University Poll on Thursday found that support from gay groups wouldn't hurt a presidential candidate's standing with 60 percent of Florida voters.

One in 10 would be more likely to vote for a candidate supported by gay rights groups and almost three in 10 would be less likely. Among Democrats, it's more likely to have a positive effect. For Republicans, it's far more likely to have a negative effect.

Pretty much what you'd expect, even though it seems Republican men can't seem to get enough cock lately.

There's one more change I want to mention, though. Shirley Herman, quoted at the end of the article, wishes that this was a more high-profile event, broadcast on NBC instead of Logo, because "If they say it on Logo, they're safe." Ask George Allen how safe he feels these days. I'd be willing to bet that there will be gay-hating right-wingers cluttering up YouTube with what they consider damning statements as quickly as the candidates make them. This debate will get plenty of coverage, don't you worry.

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