I visited dozens of cities in 11 states last fall while on tour promoting “The Wedding Letters.” At nearly every event, I was pelted with more questions about Mitt Romney’s chances as a presidential contender than about my new book.

These good people probably know that I don’t write deep-thinking political non-fiction or fictional political thrillers. But many do know that I am the co-founder of this site, launched in 2005 as an outlet to free the lifelong political junkie in my system. You probably also know that my role with the site and our popular 2012 Power Rankings has led to regular appearances on the Fox News morning show, “Fox & Friends.”

Take these factors and combine them with my religion — I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — and I’ve become a natural target for questions about Romney.

Many of the questions I answer with this single statement: If you’re a republican, please don’t support Mitt Romney just because he’s a Mormon.

Remember 2008? During the general election, President Obama won 96-percent of the black vote. That was eight points higher than Senator John Kerry won in 2004. The increase for Obama was more than enough for him to win key swing states and sweep into the White House.

When the electoral dust settled, I had conservative friends bemoan the fact that black voters supported Obama in record numbers simply because of his race.

Living on the edge of the south in Virginia’s solidly conservative Shenandoah Valley, I occasionally encounter voters who pledge to stay home or vote third-party if Romney is the GOP nominee in 2012. Because of religious differences, they say, they simply cannot support him.

When I share this unfortunate reality with friends of my faith, they loudly complain about someone skipping an election simply because of a fellow republican’s religion. This is where it gets interesting.

How can one complain about an evangelical voter not voting for Romney based on religion when that’s the very reason some Mormons are supporting him?

If you support Obama’s reelection, do so because you agree with the decisions he’s made, his vision for a second term and whether he’s closer to your views than the alternatives. But don’t support him simply because of his race.

If you’re supporting Mitt Romney, do so for the same reasons, because you agree with him politically and see him as the best of the available options. But don’t support him just because he’s a Mormon.

Jon Huntsman, also a Mormon, has faced a different kind of religious bias. Some members of the Church like to ding him because early in the campaign he was famously ambiguous about his faith, citing his membership in the church as “tough to define.” I have good friends who stopped listening to him because he was no longer Mormon enough.

Isn’t it a double standard to discount Huntsman based on religion and criticize those who discount Romney for the same reasons?

In the 2008 nomination battle, did some women vote for Hilary Clinton simply because she was a woman? Certainly.

In 2000, did some conservative Jews support the Al Gore – Joe Lieberman ticket simply because Lieberman was the first Jewish candidate on a major political party ticket? It’s hard to believe otherwise.

I understand the appeal. Jews took pride in Lieberman. Women took pride in Clinton. Blacks took pride in Obama. Mormons take pride in fellow Mormons. There is nothing wrong with sharing in that sense of breaking barriers.

But are those reasons enough to support a particular horse?

I wonder if members of my faith buy my books strictly because I’m a Mormon. I hope not. I hope they buy them because they’re entertaining, inspirational reads.

Do Mormons listen to Glenn Beck simply because he’s one of them?

Do people buy Gladys Knight CD’s just because she joined the Church fifteen years ago?

Maybe this kind of preferential, biased thinking is unavoidable. Perhaps we’re hardwired to support, whether at the ballot box or at the cash register, those we believe are like us.

But does it have to be that way?

If I were Mitt Romney, I’d want your vote because you agree with my campaign platform and think I have the best chance of evicting Obama from the White House.

If I were Obama, I wouldn’t want your vote because I’m black, I’d want your vote because I represent your belief system and because you believe I have the country on the right track and deserve another four years.

If you see me at book event and want to talk politics, I’m happy to oblige. But if you ask me about Romney, brace yourself for an unpopular position.

If you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please don’t vote for Mitt Romney just because he’s a Mormon. Doing so makes you no different than those voters who won’t just because he is one.

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