From the start, Mitt Romney has been the beneficiary of a different vision for America. The problem is that his vision, like the ones shared by many, is the result of his religion. And being a Mormon has done him no good.
True, when polled most may say that religion is not a factor. But few would answer that question accurately.
However, before Romney became the nominee Mormons believed there was clear prejudice, and 22% of those in the US said that they would not vote for a Mormon even if he or she were from their own party.
A new national poll released Monday confirms there continues to be a reluctance to vote for a Mormon presidential candidate. The Gallup poll showed 22 percent of Americans would not vote for their political party's presidential nominee next year if that person is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Romney's campaign, like those from Massachusetts before it, is guided by people who are out of touch. They are not in the mainstream, and he will suffer the same fate. You just do not win if you are from Massachusetts. No nominee or person seeking the nomination from Massachusetts has won since John Kennedy. And none will.
Romney had a chance to change the arc of his campaign by moving his national headquarters to Washington, DC. Instead, he remained where fate is dealing him a blow, like the others before him.
But the biggest problem is the Romney Campaign's decision, perhaps buttressed by the Mormon Church, not to address the prejudice that lingers over his religion. Florida, Ohio, Iowa and Virginia are all turning to Barack Obama almost certainly due at least in part to the voters' distrust of the Mormon Church.
Is there time for Romney to address his religion, as Obama did with Reverend Wright?
No question, but that time is rapidly falling prey to the end of this campaign. And while the debates could be a good forum for discussing religious views, there is little doubt but that the format is simply too short for a speech on religion.
It is the view here that Romney must address his religion prominently and with forceful support except perhaps its specific position on GLBT issues. This will, after all, be a chance to emphasize the benefits of the Mormon Church while addressing the importance of religious tolerance. Helping both himself and his church.
And it could dispel some of the prejudice faced by Romney. However, on at least GLBT issues, Romney would be better off modifying the position of the Mormon Church on being gay and lesbian or remaining silent.
Some of us know of the good works of being Mormon. Its approach to society is a bit like Buddhists in Thailand, with time taken for doing good for others in need. One or two years, devoted to helping others and trying to extend the reach of the Mormon Church.
He should also emphasize the Mormon Church's assistance to its church members when they are not doing well. He will have to transition this point into one for America, but this can be done.
If Romney fails to have his Obama Philadelphia moment, then he is lost. Even with the debates, which will not ask the right or tough questions, he will not get enough of a boost with or without questions about his religion.
If he is really interested in winning, he needs this speech. Nothing else will do.