Those who fear that the Americans have locked themselves into two rigid, closed-minded political camps might be heartened by the evidence to the contrary that Minnesota produced on Nov. 6.
The result worth noting was the defeat of the constitutional amendment that would have required voters to present a valid, government-issued photo ID card in order to receive a ballot at the polls.
The amendment was defeated, receiving 46.2 percent of the vote, or 3.8 percent less than passage required.
But in 2011, the voter ID concept was showing whopping leads in some opinion polls, and as recently as September Survey USA found 62 percent approval.
That means that in the final weeks of the fall campaign, a lot of Minnesotans behaved the way conscientious voters should. They paid attention to the arguments for and against the amendment. They considered the importance of the state's Constitution, a bedrock document that's seldom amended and, once altered, even harder to convince politicians to change.
Then they did what good citizenship occasionally requires: They changed their minds.
When that can happen in the span of a few weeks in Minnesota, it seems more plausible that it can happen elsewhere and on other issues. The voter ID campaign in this state seems well worth postmortem dissection.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.