At the end of last year, I pointed out that Mitt Romney has the highest possibility of becoming the Republican presidential candidate for the next term. Therefore, whoever wins the election next year, the White House will continue to be occupied by a Harvard University alumnus. When Romney won the preliminary election in New Hampshire, such a situation became more apparent.
There is a very high chance that Romney would be the first Mormon of the two official candidates in American history to vie for the White House. Such a religious background could become a political obstacle for him just as a black man’s blood was for Obama.
This is because Mormonism is known in history as a “cult” and as consisting of “heretics.” Its founder, Joseph Smith Jr., was charged with being a heretic and even for treason, and was executed by a mob in Illinois. Later, the Mormons practiced polygamy publicly, which was despised by mainstream Christians, and pronounced illegal by the highest court in the United States.
Mormonism’s bad reputation became widespread as a result. Readers of Sherlock Holmes know that the detective, who remains well known all over the world, made his debut in Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle’s “A Study in Scarlet,” which was published in 1887. The story portrayed the Mormons as extremely violent and evil. The two villains who were being hunted for revenge by the horse carriage driver were the sons of two Mormon elders.
Today, the Mormons, whose population ratio in the United States is close to that of the Jews, which is less than two percent, are nonetheless very successful in American society, especially the business world. Romney and Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor who pulled out of the election recently, are instant examples. They are both from wealthy families. In particular, Romney, Sr. became Michigan’s governor in his capacity as the chief executive officer of America’s fourth largest car maker during his time, and had participated in the 1968 preliminary presidential election. The current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is also a Mormon.
If the Jews have a special bloodline and genes, then the Mormons, who came mainly from Europe, in particular the line of descendants from Wales and England, are not very different from white Americans. Why do they then have such outstanding accomplishments?
The Mormons have outstanding marketing capabilities
Someone raised an example of two “acquired” factors, one of which is that Mormon youths have a two-year obligation to spread Mormonism — mainly by going around the world to persuade other Christians to convert. Romney was no exception, and he nearly lost his life in a car accident in France once. This experience trained the Mormons to excel in marketing. The second factor is the remnant effect of the practice of polygamy. The Mormons have a tradition of marrying early and having many children. Romney married before he even graduated from college and had five children. This gave him the pressure of having to earn a living to provide for his family at a young age.
In my opinion, Mormon ostracism and oppression from mainstream Christians for more than a century forced them to run off to the undeveloped Midwest, where they endured hardships to develop the region. This helped them to form very strong work ethics. In addition, Mormonism forbade smoking, drinking and other vices, and placed great importance on education. In Utah, where Mormons form the majority, the senior high school graduation rate tops the whole of America, and it has the lowest ratio of teen pregnancy out of wedlock in America. All these are testimonies to Mormon tradition.
The success of a society in general brought about the appearance of two Mormon candidates in this year’s preliminary presidential election. Among them, Romney stands a high chance of being the official Republican candidate. The question is: Can a population that is 98 percent non-Mormon accept a Mormon president?
This is an especially sensitive issue for the Republicans, because Christian conservatives are the grassroots of the party. The Mormon insistence on regarding the Book of Mormon to be of equal status as holy literature with the Bible is something that most Christians cannot accept, which led to the Mormons being regarded as a cult, and even as heretics.
Moreover, though mainstream Mormons have discarded the practice of polygamy, many North American branches of the sect continue this practice, enjoying the company of many wives. News and lawsuits with regards to this practice never stopped making the papers, which only served to heighten the Christians’ negative view of the Mormons.
A poll taken last year revealed that 22 percent of Americans would not support a Mormon for president, and only five percent of the voters admitted that they would not elect a black president. A comparison of the two poll results bodes well for Obama being elected for a second term.
Such a superficial analysis has overlooked the residual racialism deeply rooted beneath the American society, in particular within the Republican grassroots. This residue appeared repeatedly during the Republican preliminary elections. Key candidates like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum continued to make discriminatory comments against blacks to pander to the Republican grassroots.
From this perspective, Romney actually enjoys a potential advantage. Mormonism is one of the “whitest” of the main religions in the United States. More than a century ago, Brigham Young, the second-generation head of the Mormons used the story of Cain in the Bible to prohibit black people from becoming missionaries in the name of God’s punishment. Even though Mormonism abolished this prohibition on the surface in order to spread Mormonism in South America and Africa at the end of the last century, the number of black Mormons in the United States itself is still very minute. Blacks, who account for 13 percent of the entire American population, stand at only one percent in Utah, where the Mormons are the majority. This is the smallest population ratio in the whole of the United States. The New York Times published a family photo of three generations of Romney’s family with more than 20 members some time ago, and not one black person could be seen in the photos.
A survey of new white evangelical Christians last year revealed that if Romney faced off against Obama, 91 percent of them would cast their votes for Romney. The mainstream Republican choice of Romney as the presidential candidate therefore hinted at an undeclared war using the racial strategy.