When the race for the Republican nomination really started to heat up—you know, the good old days when we had Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, Huntsman, Cain, Perry, Paul, and Bachmann all up there on stage battling it out in what seemed like a never ending time warp of debates—I didn’t align myself with a candidate because I simply could not fully support any particular individual. I remained neutral and analytical of each candidate, and I came to realize that none are perfect, but all would do a better job than the current occupant of the White House.

Well, the time has come, and I’m going to make waves, but yes, I support Mitt Romney for President of the United States.

Now to my friends and colleagues, all of whom I greatly respect, who are ardent supporters of the likes of Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and others, those that group Romney and Obama in the same category: hear me out before you label me “part of the Establishment.” I’m a Conservative, and some days, I feel as if I’m almost verging on Libertarian. The bottom line is, I believe we need to support whoever the nominee is in an effort to defeat Barack Obama. And right now it’s looking pretty clear that that nominee will be Mitt Romney. The United States as we know it cannot handle another four years of a more “flexible” Barack Obama.

I know what you’re thinking. “Romney’s a moderate! He’s not Conservative enough! He’s a typical big government Republican! He’s just like Obama!” Well, I know Mitt Romney isn’t as conservative as I’d like our nominee to be. Heck, he even called himself a moderate back in 2002. I am not here to defend Romney’s past; to do so would be irresponsible because there are flip flops and actions in Romney’s past that I do not agree with and cannot defend in good conscience, such as the implementation of “Romneycare” and his previous liberal views of social issues. But I know this: Mitt Romney wasn’t raised by parents with Marxist ties, mentored by a communist, and he doesn’t believe that taking from one man and giving to another  by force makes world events fair, as does our current campaigner-in-chief.

And whether you like Romney or not, the man has experience running a private sector business. He’s held a job outside of a political office, and he’s created jobs. He’s saved financially failing businesses (including the Salt Lake City Olympics) and if anything, he knows more about how the economy works than does Mr. The-Public-Sector-Creates-Jobs-Obama. I may not agree with views Romney has held in the past about certain social issues, but I’m honestly not focused on social issues right now; this election is still about the economy.

Let’s address Ron Paul for a moment. I’ll be completely honest; when the GOP candidate race began in earnest, I thought the man was insane. I disregarded much of what he said and simply didn’t pay attention to him. But I realized that was a rather ignorant and closed-minded way to look at politics, so I started doing a little research. It came to the point that I was constantly searching YouTube for more clips of Ron Paul speeches; I liked what I heard. And I realized that no, Ron Paul really isn’t crazy. He’s a maverick in politics by today’s standards, speaking up for the Constitution and liberty above all else and envisioning a government smaller than any of us have ever imagined in our lifetimes. I sincerely respect and I do agree with much, but not all, of what Ron Paul says. I also think it’s quite remarkable how great of an impact Ron Paul has had in his 2012 campaign, waking up thousands more Americans to the cause of liberty, including myself.

But I believe if we split the Republican vote, we hand the election to Barack Obama. And that’s a risk that I am still not willing to take. I’ll probably be accused by some of just voting for the “lesser of two evils” in voting for Mitt Romney, but I don’t see it that way. Any step toward conservatism is positive.

The very future of this country hangs frailly in the balance of this election. Call me a pessimist, part of the GOP Establishment, an extreme right-winger, an air-headed college student, whatever— but I do not have confidence in the continued fairness or the very existence of the electoral process as we know it if Barack Obama is reelected. We’re headed down a socialized path of destruction if we give the current President four more years. If we make Obama a one-term president, even if his replacement is not as conservative as we’d like, we’ve got a fighting chance to continue to make that bold march towards smaller, more limited government and a restoration of the true liberty that the Founders envisioned.

Mitt Romney isn’t perfect. You might call him the lesser of two evils, but he’s most likely going to be our nominee against an incumbent who I believe is the greatest national security threat to this nation. Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Republicans, conservatives, libertarians arguably share the same ideological house, but we’re divided and risking a devastating fall. We as conservatives can either put aside our differences and unite around Mitt Romney as our nominee and have a chance for the continued fight for liberty, or we can allow differences to divide and conquer us.

Sarah Hinds | Webster University | @Sarah_Hinds76