Who might the Independent Republican ticket be? Mitt Romney-Gen. John Kelly? Ben Sasse-Nikki Haley? Clarence Thomas-Mike Pompeo?
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 16, 2016
… Assuming one spells ‘cunning’ D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-E. You’d think even the GOP Establishment would have realized by now that Bill Kristol is not to be trusted with sharp edges or political campaigns, but, per the NYTimes:
Republican leaders adamantly opposed to Donald J. Trump’s candidacy are preparing a 100-day campaign to deny him the presidential nomination, starting with an aggressive battle in Wisconsin’s April 5 primary and extending into the summer, with a delegate-by-delegate lobbying effort that would cast Mr. Trump as a calamitous choice for the general election.
Recognizing that Mr. Trump has seized a formidable advantage in the race, they say that an effort to block him would rely on an array of desperation measures, the political equivalent of guerrilla fighting.
There is no longer room for error or delay, the anti-Trump forces say, and without a flawlessly executed plan of attack, he could well become unstoppable.
But should that effort falter, leading conservatives are prepared to field an independent candidate in the general election, to defend Republican principles and offer traditional conservatives an alternative to Mr. Trump’s hard-edged populism. They described their plans in interviews after Mr. Trump’s victories last Tuesday in Florida and three other states.
The names of a few well-known conservatives have been offered up in recent days as potential third-party standard-bearers, and William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, has circulated a memo to a small number of conservative allies detailing the process by which an independent candidate could get on general-election ballots across the country.
Among the recruits under discussion are Tom Coburn, a former Oklahoma senator who has told associates that he would be open to running, and Rick Perry, the former Texas governor who was suggested as a possible third-party candidate at a meeting of conservative activists on Thursday in Washington….
Because Rick Perry is still hoping for a comeback from his ‘oops’ moment, and Tom Coburn wants to push his much-mocked 2004 comments about lesbianism in Oklahoma high schools a little further down his Google search profile, I guess. More good news for Democrats, from the same article:
… David McIntosh, president of the conservative Club for Growth, which has spent millions on ads attacking Mr. Trump, said his group met on Wednesday and concluded it was still possible to avert Mr. Trump’s nomination. The group plans a comprehensive study of Trump supporters to sharpen a message aimed at driving them away from him.
“This is still a winnable race for a free-market conservative that’s not Donald Trump,” Mr. McIntosh said, adding, “It’s not a layup, but there’s a clear path to victory.”…
Mr. Trump’s hand has been strengthened by disagreements within the stop-Trump forces, which fall along familiar lines: Conservative activists are uneasy with the party establishment and favor Mr. Cruz, while many Republican elites have warmed to Mr. Kasich, recoiling from those they perceive as ideological purists…
Every dollar they throw into taking down the Short-Fingered Shouter is a dollar not spent attacking Democrats. As a lifelong Dem myself, it’s heartwarming to watch a circular firing squad from the outside, for once!
If GOP elite creates a third party to run against Trump, what will it be called
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) March 15, 2016