Well, I’m quite surprised to report that LDS Living has scooped every major news outlet in the country in having predicted months ago that Mitt Romney would eventually enter the 2016 presidential race. All credit surely will be traced back to some obscure Relief Society Teacher, somewhere – or maybe to Mitt’s bishop. All kidding aside, in case you’ve not heard, the latest news in this year’s election saga is that GOP billionaires and millionaires have recently met and raised $100M to stop Donald Trump and to stage a coup to make sure an establishment candidate wins the Republican nomination, no matter the cost. They’ve told Marco Rubio that if he loses Florida, he’s OUT and Mitt Romney is coming IN to save the Republican Party.
This would indeed be historic! I’m left wondering if Romney and the Church believe this is the “Save the Constitution moment.” Part Deux of the Mormon Moment. I’m inclined to think they believe that it is. Don’t get me wrong, I too agree that our Constitution hangs by a thread and that our freedoms have been undermined by both parties as well as by corrupt lawyers and judges who have laid the foundation for our destruction. But I think Mitt Romney entering this race against an unprecedented populist tide would be a potential disaster for the Church.
What Mitt and possibly the Church do not understand is that a large percentage of the American people are completely disillusioned with ALL POLITICIANS! I.e. the Establishment. They are tired of people like Orrin Hatch going to Washington young and full of promise and principles, only to become soul-less 80-year-old politicians who never retire and who have long forgotten their base. Our trust in them has waned and/or is gone. We have learned by sad experience that when a man gets a little power and authority as he supposes, he becomes a part of the establishment in Washington and is given a leadership position on some Congressional Committee… or something like that.
If Mitt enters the race, I think several things are likely to happen. Americans are likely to further reject the Establishment and will bitterly oppose and resent Mitt the Mormon who thinks himself above the fray. An unsullied savior to rescue us poor naves from ourselves, will be the perception. He will force out Rubio and Cruz (maybe) and the others, all except for Trump. Trump supporters will become more zealous in their anti-establishment push for a Trump-like figure to win. Mitt will be seen as a self-righteous spoiler who is fighting against the voice of the people which is far less inspired by Trump, the person, than by Trump “the idea.” This energetic mob-like force is more interested in throwing out the establishment bums, like Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, John McCain, and 535 or so others, give or take a few.
Mitt would also not have a chance of winning, in my opinion. If 5 million voters stayed home when he ran the last time, 10 million more would stay home this time. Romney could end up actually ruining the Republicans’ chance to regain the White House and he would be hated by 50% or more of America. The same 50% the Church likes to target in their proselyting efforts. The name Romney will become a verb like “Borked” and the Church will wish he wasn’t their poster boy. Oh and by the way, if you think Trump will pull any punches against Romney and his faith as he is attacked by Romney (happening as we speak), and that Romney will do better than 15 other opponents have done, then you underestimate Trump and the “mad as hell” supporters backing him.
The other likely outcome of Mitt entering the race is that Trump could decide to run as an independent which is more likely to end in a Ross Perot – Bob Dole outcome than in a victory for Trump or Romney. Again, Romney and the Establishment will be more hated than ever before and in my view, the Constitution will hang by a thread more so than ever, with the Mormon Elders having done more damage than good. Once again proving the Church’s political ineptitude (see Prop8, LGBT, immigration, Boy Scouts, etc).
In many ways the LDS Church Establishment and the current Political Establishment have the same problem. They’ve lost the confidence of many of their constituents. This has happened as a result of NOT listening to their base with whom they have lost touch and whose support they’ve taken for granted. This is a big mistake and may prove to be devastating for both institutions. Despite obvious institutional differences, neither can long survive without the vote of confidence from the people they are called or elected to serve.
For Republicans, they elected people they believed would overturn Obama Care, de-fund the CFPB and Planned Parenthood, and who would fight harder against abortion and same sex marriage.
For Church members, we have sustained Church leaders most believed would pull out of Boy Scouts if they allowed gay leaders; oppose LGBT legislation rather than enact it; oppose illegal immigration; protect, not punish children of same sex couples, etc… The list goes on and on and on.
In short, this is the era of insurgency and the Church would do well to get back to its foundational roots. Where votes mattered and where people were not thrown out for merely disagreeing with their leaders. People of faith and people around the country are tired of being taken for granted.
This is not the year for a Mormon or for the Church to play politics. Perhaps there should never be another year for them to do so. Never that is, until men and women can again be trusted by God to do His will and to seek inspiration rather than adulation. Such a trust only comes one way and from One Source.
In times past, both Church and State have enjoyed a bully pulpit and favorable rules that have allowed them to more easily control the people and the process. They controlled the media and they controlled the historical narrative. Today, with greater access to truth and information than ever before, people are waking up. And they’re upset. They want to throw away the so-called rules. They want to send a message that they will not be overlooked – that WE have the power to destroy the craft by de-funding them and by voting them out of office even if it means leaving them to their own devices and voting with our feet.
Let me just add that this is not meant to become a political discussion of which candidate would be best or worst for our country. Some of us may have our preferences. I think most of us can simply agree that this is a year in which choosing the lesser of evils will never be such a difficult task AND that our political system becomes more fragile each and every day. May we unite in the Doctrine of Christ and not be divided by the passion of this moment.
God bless and thank you by the way for your love and prayers.