Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Mormon Factor (Reason #8)

This is an addendum to the previous article on reasons why Mitt Romney would be the perfect VP pick for McCain. And, it seems an odd one, but it is true nonetheless. Reason number eight is: He is a Mormon. That may seem counter to everything we've heard in this campaign so far, but consider the following:

• Mitt Romney raised more money than any other GOP candidate in the primaries
• Most of his money was raised in California and Utah (both states with large Mormon populations)
• We know that Mormons were giving to his campaign in record numbers partially over excitement to see the first Mormon President

Those are the positives. There are other reasons John McCain should consider picking a Mormon for his VP. Namely, after the way that evangelicals spurned the Romney candidacy many Mormons feel like victims of religious discrimination. Had Mitt Romney been a Baptist, Pentecostal, or Methodist, many feel he would be the GOP nominee right now. While their are only 6 million Mormons in the U.S. (13 million worldwide) most Mormons vote conservative Republican. Given the religious smear tactics engaged in by Governor Huckabee and the seemingly offensive remarks made by Senator McCain's own mother, many Mormons now feel like outsiders in the GOP. Given the fact that Mormons make up a large percentage of the population (and even larger percentage of the voters) in states like California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Nevada- and given the close call in the past two elections the question arises: Can the GOP win without the Mormon vote?

Sure, there is the chance that they will all show up on election day and vote Republican like they always do, but how many will stay home? And given the close elections of recent years, is it worth risking? On the other hand, imagine if McCain chose Mitt Romney for his running mate. Again you would have:

• Mormons contributing excited at the idea of the 1st Mormon Vice President
• An active pool of grassroots organizers from which to draw from
• A certain number of Mormon voters who aren't necessarily politically active but would show up to vote for the first Mormon VP in U.S. history
• Instant increase in the McCain-Romney's ticket ability to raise money

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