Saturday, May 14, 2016


The #NeverTrump folks think a third-party campaign can happen -- still! -- if they just clap louder:
A band of exasperated Republicans -- including 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a handful of veteran consultants and members of the conservative intelligentsia -- is actively plotting to draft an independent presidential candidate who could keep Donald Trump from the White House.

These GOP figures are commissioning private polling, lining up major funding sources and courting potential contenders, according to interviews with more than a dozen Republicans involved in the discussions. The effort has been sporadic all spring but has intensified significantly in the 10 days since Trump effectively locked up the Republican nomination.

Those involved concede that an independent campaign at this late stage is probably futile, and they think they have only a couple of weeks to launch a credible bid. But these Republicans -- including commentators William Kristol and Erick Erickson and strategists Mike Murphy, Stuart Stevens and Rick Wilson -- are so repulsed by the prospect of Trump as commander in chief that they are desperate to take action.
Are they really doing this because they're "so repulsed" by Trump? Maybe to some extent. For Vietnam chickenhawks like Bill Kristol and Mitt Romney, I think there are delusions of grandeur involved -- as with advocacy of the Iraq War, they can tell themselves that this is their World War II, that history has summoned them and they're standing up to totalitarian tyranny (without, y'know, actually experiencing any physical risk).

But what about the rest of them? I think this is a factor:

Bill Clinton didn't win a majority of the popular vote in either of his elections, thanks to Ross Perot. Republicans never stopped pointing that out, and many in the press bought the notion that Clinton didn't have a mandate. Some #NeverTrumpers might want to hobble Hillary the same way.

But I think the main motivation is this:
Donald Trump’s campaign is considering hitting his Republican enemies where it hurts: Their wallets.

As Trump moves to work in closer concert with the Republican National Committee apparatus, some campaign aides and allies are pushing him to block lucrative party contracts from consultants who worked to keep him from winning the nomination, according to four sources familiar with the discussions.

“The Never Trump vendors and supporters shouldn’t be in striking distance of the RNC, any of its committees or anyone working on behalf of Donald Trump,” said a Trump campaign official.
For the general election campaign, #NeverTrumpers want to keep up a revenue stream somehow, and this is a way to do it.

And beyond that, I bet they were spooked by recent polls showing Trump in a tight race with Clinton nationally and in battleground states. What would happen to them in the next four years if Trump were to win? They might have to get real jobs. That's not a viable option! They have to do something!

Well, whatever beats Trump is fine by me. We'll be told Hillary has no mandate even if she wins a two-candidate race in a landslide, just because she ran against Donald Trump, so if she wins a three-way race, great. Go ahead, #NeverTrumpers. Bring on whatever sap you can cajole into running.


Unknown said...

Actually, the reason they would do this would be to boost turnout among Republicans (giving them two options) which helps them hold the Senate/House... they probably realize the WH is a loss already. Personally, I hope they don't - because that opens up the slim possibility that the Dems can steal the House too.

Daro said...

I think it's the Iron Law of Institutions applying as well as the fact that Hillary is easily right-wing enough for them to tolerate 4 years out of power.

Unknown said...

Steve are implying that these fine Gentlemen are not using "Solid Conservative Principles"? Only worried about their next paycheck? Politicians and GOP "strategists"? Who would have thunk it?

Orthodox said...

Get real jobs? No. People like Kristol will eventually capitulate because A) they don't actually have principles, and B) no one reads his magazine anyway, so no one will notice if he does a 180.

And put an asterisk next to Clinton's victory? Maybe. Thing is, Perot appealed to a certain kind of working-class voter on both sides of the aisle---i.e. he wasn't a traditional Republican. Romney and Kristol want to do just that---run a traditional Republican, which the Republican base rejected. So sure, that kind of Trad Repub would get votes, but mostly from regular Republicans desperate for a way out. And with the exception of Sanders supporters who usually support Ron Paul types (and will jump ship for Trump, apparently), I don't think there's a large chunk of Democrats who would break away for either Trump or the kind of Trad Republican they've been voting against in the past.

Ten Bears said...

"and will jump ship for Trump, apparently"

Do you have evidence to backup your Republican Lite bullshit, or did you just pull it out of your ass?

Again I am reminded of the closing sentence of Animal Farm: they couldn't tell the difference twixt the Pigs, and the People.

Orthodox said...

Calm your ass down. I'm just as skeptical of that idea as you are, which is why I worded it the way I did. Jesus.