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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Evangelicals are an essential part of the Republican base. One of the more reassuring aspects of the 2012 campaign is that Romney’s membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has not prevented him from consolidating support from far right establishment, who have often been suspicious of Mormons. At the Republican convention, evangelical leader Mike Huckabee said: “I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country.”

However, Romney’s faith remains an issue to many voters. According to Reuters/Ipsos, 35 percent of voters would be less likely to vote for a Mormon. By embracing “God” in a vague way, Romney is reassuring these voters that he is a God-fearing man.

At the same time, Romney is playing on a persistent fear of President Obama that has been nurtured by the right wing. Nearly four years into his presidency, only 49 percent of voters correctly identify the President as a Christian. Nearly one in five think he is a Muslim.

By asserting that he will not take God “out of his heart,” Romney is, by inference, suggesting that his opponent has done so.

This desperate move – like his blowing of the racial foghorn – indicates that Mitt Romney’s central theory of this campaign is not working, as Greg Sargent has pointed out.

Romney believed that voters would believe that the economy is failing and would see the election as a referendum on the economy. Instead, it’s clear that voters see the election as a choice, as the president said in his convention speech, between two paths.

A just released poll by right-leaning pollster Rasmussen Reports finds that voters trust President Obama on job creation by a two percent margin. That’s within the margin of error but a sign that voters don’t buy the argument that Mitt Romney knows how to create jobs better than the president does.

So what do you do when you can’t win on the economy? Mitt appeals to the fears of the voters with implication, insinuation, and invented charges.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” By definition this is an objective to which most of us can only aspire. Mitt Romney could start by not involving God in his falsehoods.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File

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