Even four years after the 2012 presidential election, people are still dreaming of what might have been: a President Mitt Romney. Whether those wishing for an alternate reality are never Trumpers, loathe drama, or just recognize Romney’s merit, there’s a nostalgic longing for what might have been. Often they use Russia as an illustration of why Romney was right and should be president.
During one of the presidential debates of 2012, Mitt Romney said that Russia was one of the biggest threats to the United States. President Obama was quick to quip, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years” (as reported by CNN). Fast forward four years—give or take—and Russia does indeed seem to be a problem for us (although the scope of that problem is hotly debated). According to Fox News, “Allegations of Russian involvement in the hacked emails were well-known during the campaign and widely reported.” Beyond that, Russia’s involvement is a matter of media coverage, national investigations, and a lot of angst.
What does this mean for Mormons in general and Mitt Romney in particular? Not much. According to Huffington Post, anti-mormonism was not the reason that Mitt Romney lost the presidency. Yes, some people who don’t see Mormons as Christians decided not to vote for Mitt Romney, but at most it would have been a few percentage points difference in the entire vote; Mitt Romney still would have lost.
More importantly, what does this mean for Mitt Romney? Although he’s currently not in a political position, the recent problems (perceived or otherwise) with Russia have vindicated him. It might propel him into politics once more. The Atlantic suggests that he might be looking at public office again, perhaps a United States senator for Utah. Although politics and religion are separate, many view Romney as an ambassador of the church: “[They] talked about his call to public service in spiritual terms.”
However, there are many contingencies on this path: Senator Orrin Hatch will have to retire and Mitt Romney will have to decide to step into the limelight once more. Meanwhile it seems to bother some people that Mitt Romney is not out there governing, even though he holds no office. The Boston Globe even reported that Romney was water skiing during the health care vote.