As associate of mine wrote a post a few years ago entitled Why Do Latter-day Saints Ignore Ron Paul? I’d like to chime in with my own opinion, having only recently been introduced to Ron Paul’s writings via The Revolution and End the Fed. I cannot, of course, speak for all Mormons, but give my own perspective on the matter.
The first issue of why Mormons ignore Ron Paul can most likely be answered by looking at how most people approach politics–they don’t. Most people in the United States do not vote. Of those who do vote, many of them choose who they vote for based on superficial reasoning “I’m voting for Obama because he’s black,” or “I’m voting for Romney because he’s a Mormon” or “I’m voting for Huckabee because he’s a Baptist” or “I’m voting for McCain because he’s a vet and so am I”. Just as bad, many vote for a certain party as though it were a football game and they were choosing their team, “I always vote for Democrats because my parents were Democrats and I’ve always been a Democrat.” How many voters take the time to educate themselves, even minimally, on the stances politicians have on various issues and the policies they would enact? To claim that Mormons aren’t just as bad as the rest of the country at doing their homework is to exercise great faith indeed. Thus, I would say that many Mormons have still never heard of Ron Paul, or if they have, they don’t know a thing about him. They might not even be aware that he was a candidate in 2008, or that he’s a Republican. They simply have not really been exposed to even the barest hint of information that might perk their curiosity enough to take a closer look at him.
Second, there are a few stances Ron Paul has that would almost certainly turn off a Mormon who isn’t determined to find out what Ron Paul really is saying. For example, if all they hear about Ron Paul is that he voted against the war in Iraq and that he’s in favor of legalizing drugs, that would be enough for most Mormons to write him off right then and there and declare him a kook. And why bother looking any closer when we’ve got Romney, and he’s a Mormon!
I am not yet a Ron Paul supporter. I’ve only read two of his books and that’s the sum total of my exposure to him. I need to do more research. But based on what I’ve read so far, I like him. I like him a lot, although I say that conditionally because I don’t know if I know everything about him yet. If he continues to be the person I’ve seen in the two books I’ve read, then I’ll continue to like him. And when it comes to examining the Mormon faith and how that would theoretically play out in politics, I believe Ron Paul’s policies can be said to match those held in high esteem by the majority of Mormons better than any other potential candidate for US President, including Mitt Romney.
I believe Mormons would support Ron Paul en masse, if they were to take the time to get to know him. But that’s the challenge. Putting up signs over freeways saying “Ron Paul Revolution!” might hurt just as much as help. The more effective plan will be for those Mormons who do support Ron Paul to take the time to educate their fellow Mormons, one at a time, by discussing Ron Paul’s views and by sharing his books and articles. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, our country has reached the point where if we want it to remain a free country, it’s going to require a lot of time, effort, skill, and knowledge. Gaining that knowledge means reading books and articles and listening to people talk. It’s not going to happen overnight, and but it can happen in a few years. I’m encouraged to see so many people who were never interested in politics or economics becoming interested and educating themselves. I wouldn’t be surprised if by 2012 we see as many Mormons supporting Ron Paul as we saw supporting Romney in the last round.