Mitt Romney’s Mormon mission

Romney’s anti-Trumpism may be dormant, but it isn’t dead. The fact that Romney is at once America’s most famous Never Trumper, the world’s most recognizable Mormon, and the face of the pre-Trump GOP, has won him support across the political spectrum in Utah. “The number of Mormons in Utah who have celebrated Mitt Romney’s criticism of President Trump in the past, and who have publicly taken similar stands themselves, seems to suggest that they will welcome that kind of independence from Romney,” said J.B. Haws, a history professor at Brigham Young University. According to Haws, Romney and other Mormons find in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, as well as semi-canonical proclamations from church authorities clearly-explicated reverence for the Constitution and for ideals that stress that “good government hinges on people’s choices, on the involvement of honest-hearted people.”

To Romney, his mere presence in the Senate—more than any policy issue—will set an example for what Mormon politics, and the Republican Party, could and should be in the era after Trump. Perhaps, as Romney’s own father suggested in 1967 and others have echoed since, the saving of the republic comes not from some dramatic act but the steady commitment of those committed to protecting American democracy. “I have faith that the Constitution will be saved as prophesied by Joseph Smith,” said then-church president Ezra Taft Benson in 1987. “It will be saved by the righteous citizens of this nation who love and cherish freedom. It will be saved by enlightened members of this Church—among others—men and women who understand and abide the principles of the Constitution.”