IF GINGRICH REALLY WANTS TO PUNISH ROMNEY, WHY NOT RUN THIRD PARTY -- WITH TRUMP? (Update: oops.)
(UPDATE: Is this post already invalid? CNN now says Trump will endorse Romney. Still, the third-party idea still seems valid, if vengeance is Newt's goal....)
Well, you probably know this:
Word started leaking out in Las Vegas earlier that Donald Trump's "major announcement" is to back Newt Gingrich, and sources are confirming it to POLITICO.
The announcement is expected to come at an 12:30 p.m. press conference tomorrow that The Donald is holding.
The move is a bit unexpected since Trump had talked even within the past few days about how he may be compelled to run a third-party campaign of his own if he didn't see a Republican candidate who he thought could beat President Barack Obama....
One thought crosses my mind: Trump is willing to endorse Gingrich but he waited until after Florida? There's got to be a huge bloc of New York-born Floridians who still remember Trump fondly as that nice young man who fixed up the skating rink in Central Park. Poor Newt.
Now? I don't know if this really helps Gingrich -- doesn't Newt already have the pro-grifter vote sewn up? Is this going to add any new supporters?
But it brings to mind something I've been thinking for a while. We know Gingrich isn't going to win the GOP nomination -- upcoming contests include states such as Maine and Michigan where Romney has ties, plus Nevada, where 25% of 2008 caucus-goers were Mormon, and then comes Super Tuesday, which is a pure money contest like Florida, except across multiple states -- so if Newt's goal is vengeance against Romney, how much longer is he going to be effective at that?
Whereas if he ran third-party -- perhaps pursuing the Americans Elect ballot line, and taking his crazy supporters with him -- he could not only punish Romney all year, he could destroy any chance that Romney could win this thing.
And hey, why not make the ticket Gingrich/Trump? As Public Policy Polling noted (in a December survey that showed Romney leading President Obama head-to-head):
One thing that could confound Romney's prospects is if a strong third party candidate entered the race. We find that pretty much all of the big names who have been mentioned for potential independent bids would take a lot more voters from Romney than Obama.
The strongest potential independent candidate we tested is Donald Trump who gets 19% in a three way contest with Obama at 45% and Romney at 31%. The folks who say they would support Trump go for Romney 71-10 in a straight up head to head with Obama.
So there's your ticket! And I think it could be deemed technically in compliance with the Americans Elect requirement that the two people on the ticket be from different parties, because Trump became an independent in December.
As I've said before, I'd happily join Americans Elect just to get Gingrich the ballot line. Hell, if that wasn't possible, I'd circulate petitions for Gingrich/Trump if legally allowed to do so, and I'd urge all of you to do the same. Operation Chaos II! Let's do this!