Across Wisconsin, a majority of counties are now issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (As of Tuesday afternoon, the number was at 50 of 72 Wisconsin counties, or about seventy-percent of them. By Wednesday in my area, Rock, Jefferson, and Walworth County were issuing licenses to gay couples.)
(See, from Craig Gilbert of the Journal Sentinel, County decisions reflect shifting politics of gay marriage.)
Of those counties issuing licenses, 23 of them were counties that Mitt Romney carried in 2012, including 7 of the 12 most Republican counties in the state.
Needless to say, the most-significant impact is to those couples who have the liberty to marry. Like all libertarians, I support marriage equality.
But there’s a secondary, political consideration, too: How is it that neither Right nor Left expected so many conservative counties to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses so quickly?
Even a year ago, both conservatives and liberals would have predicted significant conservative political resistance to same-sex marriage following a ruling like U.S. District Judge Crabb’s Friday ruling.
That hasn’t happened. In fact, as Craig Gilbert notes, Waukesha County is issuing same-sex marriage licenses, and it’s the most Republican county of its size in all America.
For a secondary topic, this is a story about how supposed insiders, influencers, and so-called opinion-makers have trouble understanding political trends even in their own, small Midwestern state.
The clerks in these conservative counties are hardly radicals; they’re Republicans and conservatives, themselves.
The swiftness of these changes shows how blind and out-of-touch self-designated elites are. Conservative cliques doubted this would happen; liberal cliques expected more controversy and resistance.
This is what happens when one talks only to those in a small, like-minded circle. The selection bias of conversation partners in these tiny circles is huge. Far from being clever and cosmopolitan as they image themselves, they’re mostly dull, narrow, and lazy.
This is true of liberals and conservatives. They’ve both been proved wrong and tone deaf.
And, for it all, when their predictions go wrong, these movers and shakers are surprised: What, huh, me?
It’s not the first time; it won’t be the last.