The Never Trump crowd became an actual force too late in the presidential primary and now everyone is scrambling to find some sort of alternative. The mistake everyone made was refusing to accept the notion that Donald Trump could be a serious candidate for the Republican nomination and thus underestimated him.
It became clear after some time that Senator Ted Cruz would be the viable alternate. The problem was the rest of the Republican Party didn’t unite in time around a single candidate, whether it be Senator Cruz or someone else.
Now they are faced with the inevitable fact that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for President.
While this is scary for a lot of Republicans, like Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, it is largely their fault. Kristol spent months telling us Trump wouldn’t win, the support isn’t there, and essentially parroting the talking points of every other individual who felt there was no chance.
The arrogant refusal to combat Trump didn’t work and by the time a legitimate movement formed, it was too late.
The next solution of the Never Trump crowd is a third party or Independent candidate. The Libertarian Party has just nominated Gary Johnson, who is a left-leaning libertarian candidate. But his left-leaning viewpoints won’t attract the likes of Kristol and hasn’t. So the next option is an Independent.
In May, Kristol began floating that he had third party candidate and even stated that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are scared of his candidate.
But who was it?
About a week ago, it was revealed that option was David French, a veteran and a writer for the National Review. In the days that followed, what Kristol hyped up as being so intimidating that even Clinton and Trump would be afraid, was torn apart by the media and conservative grassroots alike.
The problem isn’t necessarily that French is a bad guy. The widespread response wasn’t personal. But Kristol had been indicating for some time it would be something big, thus implying someone with more name recognition and political credentials. Many were thinking someone along the lines of Mitt Romney.
Instead, it’s a writer for the National Review.
Again, nothing against French personally, but he’s just not the candidate to stop Clinton and Trump, while fending off a legitimate existing third party ticket in Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. The individual to duel all three and become a legitimate contender for President is going to be someone with the name recognition, donor connections, and grassroots following to stand on their own.
In regards to French, many spent the last week wondering just who he was.
And this is probably why French has announced he will not be running for President. In a post for the National Review, he detailed his reasoning as to why he won’t be running.
The post describes what we already know about the presidential election. Hillary Clinton is unreliable, deceitful, and on top of all her questionable qualities, is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Donald Trump is a man of questionable character who has changed his positions gradually over time and has an unstable temperament.
With that said, French also noted that the person who will overcome these two individuals will be someone who is “either is extraordinarily wealthy (or has immediate access to extraordinary wealth) or is a transformational political talent.”
And that person is not David French.
Bill Kristol didn’t do French any favors by parading around the Internet and the media with this secret weapon who was going to run Independent and scare a bombastic businessman and an entrenched politician. He made it sound like this candidate was ready to run and had the resources to run a successful presidential campaign.
It turned out his candidate hadn’t even decided, lacked the name recognition, and didn’t have strong donor connections or deep pockets himself. So the response to French was harsh because of Kristol’s actions. The response might’ve even better if French himself just came out and said “Hey, I’m David French, I’m thinking about running for President.”
Bill Kristol and the #NeverTrump movement will just have to try again.