President Trump came to Utah this week. In addition to drastically cutting the size of two national monuments, he also attempted to cut Mitt Romney out of the Republican Party. The president all but endorsed Orrin Hatch for re-election. That provided Hatch with the signal to Utahns that he should run again. But it also signaled that Romney does not have a place in the race for the GOP nomination.
Yet, it is not the end of the road for Romney’s public service. He can still run for U.S. Senate on another route. That is the United Utah Party.
Before he first ran for president in 2008, Mitt Romney as governor of Massachusetts was known as a non-ideological public servant who was willing to work with people regardless of party affiliation. He also was known for coming up with pragmatic solutions to problems. One of his best-known programs was health care reform. His Romneycare plan became the model when Obamacare was being developed. All of that fits more closely with the United Utah Party than the Republican Party.
Romney was right when he called out Donald Trump and urged the Republican Party to reject Trump as the party’s presidential nominee. The Republicans did not listen to Romney. While Romney has attempted to work with Trump, even offering to be secretary of state in a Trump administration, he has been willing to distance himself from the Trump administration when he feels it is wrong. For example, in the wake of the Charlottesville white supremacist protests, Romney urged Trump to condemn the white supremacists. Trump ignored him. Similarly, the United Utah Party has opposed the extremism of Donald Trump.
More recently, Romney pointed out that Alabama candidate Roy Moore as a Republican senator would be a stain on the Republican Party. Again, the Republican Party is ignoring him. Trump gave a full endorsement to Moore and the Republican National Committee once again is pouring money into the Alabama election to elect Moore to the U.S. Senate. Similarly, the United Utah Party opposes the kind of behavior multiple women have accused Moore of.
Romney and the United Utah Party have much in common. We are a centrist party attempting to reform politics. We favor pragmatic solutions rather than more ideological rhetoric. We are bringing together former Democrats, Republicans and independents to unite against extremism from either the left or the right.
Romney is a moderate who is no longer welcome in a party that has gone increasingly to the right. He would fit more comfortably in the United Utah Party. Our platform is much closer to the views of the moderate Mitt Romney than they are to the right-wing Republican Party that is rejecting him.
Therefore, Gov. Romney should consider running on our ticket for the U.S. Senate. Our party base is nothing like the Republicans Romney has accustomed to. We share Romney’s centrist views. We favor practical solutions – the kind of solutions Romney pursued as governor of Massachusetts and as the head of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics.
Mitt Romney can become the U.S. Senator from Utah, but not as a Republican. He could do so as the candidate of the United Utah Party. He would find the experience much more enjoyable than running as a Republican and catering to the more extreme Republican activists. And the people of Utah would be able to choose him rather than wait for the Republicans to choose who they want. We believe Utahns would appreciate that.
Richard Davis is chair of the United Utah Party.