Mitt Romney just made a savvy next step in his quiet, camouflaged 2016 campaign. Like a growing number of Americans, Romney refused to declare a political party when he filled out a new voter registration reform in Utah. It's the sort of party-rejecting step that could position a reinvented Romney to become America's first non-Democrat or Republican president since the 1800s.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the new Utah registration form completed and signed by Romney last August deliberately leaves out any party identification. As the Republican nominee in 2012 and a Republican candidate in 2008, this would seem to suggest either a rejection of his party or, perhaps, some sort of clerical error. Or maybe it's neither.
Analysis done in 2012 by Utah Data Points noted that unaffiliated voters in the state vastly outnumbered the number of registered Democrats (though those voters often identified with the Democratic party). Nationally, the trend is more stark, as we noted in a look at California's evaporating Republican party. Data from the independent-friendly organization Third Way suggests that registration between 2012 and 2013 saw national decreases for the Democrats and Republicans -- and an increase for independents.
What better way for Romney to reintroduce himself to America! Other politicians have revamped their political identities successfully -- perhaps most notably former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg who has, at one time or another, affiliated with each of the three political options. In 2007, he became an independent, setting off speculation that he too would seek the presidency.
[At this point in this article -- a Friday lark riffing on a thing that is amusing to political die-hards -- we'd like to point out that we are not being sincere. (Hopefully you had already realized that.) It was all a mistake on the Depart of Motor Vehicle's part, as the original SLT article makes clear; Romney is and will remain a Republican. Why point out that this is a joke in the middle of the article? Because that is funnier. People will read the first few sentences or paragraphs and get all mad. Then they'll skip to the bottom, where the last line will be, We now know more about Romney's smart 2016 plans than we might otherwise have expected, and assume that their assumption that we are idiots was right and that this is just garbage nonsense. Which we object to; it is high-quality nonsense. Anyway, play along with the angry people in the comments, alright?]
Romney is headed to Iowa later this month ostensibly to campaign for Senate candidate Joni Ernst. He already leads in Iowa polling despite "not planning on running," making the state a safe place to try on his new, I'm-frustrated-with-party-politics-too campaign look.
Or another possibility: In 2012, Romney had an agonizing time trying to close the deal with primary voters. Why not simply side-step the primaries altogether? The possibilities are endless when you just wildly speculate about things.
We now know more about Romney's smart 2016 plans than we might otherwise have expected.