From a personal perspective, I have no fight in gay marriage. And it baffles me that there are some that consider it central to their political ideology. One of my friends is a social conservative and recently told me that the three things that matter most to him when voting for a politician are there views on abortion, gay marriage, and the economy.
The fact that the first two issues he mentioned were abortion and gay marriage were troubling for me. I think I'm gradually moving towards having a pro-life outlook. But when it comes to public policy, it's nowhere close to any of the issues that I consider important on a national level. When it comes to Federal policy, I'm concerned about economic regulation, taxation, and monetary policy.
I consider those issues the most important. But a lot of voters don't. And it's not because of anything sinister or ignorant. The vast majority of Americans consider our economy good enough to warrant spending attention on other matters. And those other matters include things like abortion, gay marriage, drug prohibition, and other fringe issues that, when you look at the big picture, really aren't that important.
But still, how important are my issues? I'm increasingly coming to the opinion that, in terms of monetary policy, having a Republican or Democrat in the White House doesn't make a lick of difference. They'll each appoint some former Ivy League professor with their own theories on monetary policy, but life will still be the same.
Because each Fed chief looks at the raw numbers of unemployment and inflation and tries to strike some happy medium. And Fed chiefs aren't stubbornly ideological. If something isn't working, then discard and do something else. The inflation hawks voted for QE3 because they basically said "we thought there would be a ton of inflation with the previous rounds of QE, and there wasn't".
Although I believe that a President Romney would have been much better for the economy and especially the stock market, from the average voter's viewpoint, neither President wouldn't have mattered much. Because they don't own a lot of stock. So why would they care which President is better for Wall Street?
My issues might be more important, but the effects that any one politician can have on them is probably negligible. This is the tragedy of Federal politics. You have tons of people on one side caring about fringe issues that could actually change and some people on the other caring about important issues that they have no power to control.