Bill Kristol promises an ‘impressive’ independent candidate to run against Trump
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol is offering a “heads up” via Twitter that an as yet unspecified independent conservative candidate will run for president:
Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate--an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 29, 2016
Trump, of course, hit back at Kristol in his characteristic style, calling names:
Bill Kristol has been wrong for 2yrs-an embarrassed loser, but if the GOP can't control their own, then they are not a party. Be tough, R's!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2016
The Republican Party has to be smart & strong if it wants to win in November. Can't allow lightweights to set up a spoiler Indie candidate!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2016
If dummy Bill Kristol actually does get a spoiler to run as an Independent, say good bye to the Supreme Court!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2016
Rudy Takala of the Washington Examiner points out that time is of the essence: one key state is already out of the question for ballot access, and another one’s ballot deadline looms:
It was not clear from Kristol's message whether the name of a candidate would be produced over the weekend or at an undisclosed date in the future. However, time for the purported candidate is already short. The deadline for making it on the November ballot in Texas passed on May 9. The next deadline is in North Carolina, where the candidate will need to provide about 90,000 signatures from supporters by June 9 in order to make it on the ballot.
Kristol ignores the Libertarian Party, which just nominated two former GOP governors, Gary Johnson and William Weld, and which is currently polling around 10% support in this year of dissatisfaction with the major party nominees. Of course, Kristol has been a backer of active U.S. intervention overseas a number of times, while Libertarians tend to take a hands-off policy toward military action abroad.
In fact, there seems very little practical chance for such a candidacy to succeed. Richard Baehr emails and asks, “What exactly is the point of having another candidate who will not be on the ballot everywhere, and who will win no states?”
Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal is upfront about his point:
I want to make a vote to make sure that [Trump] has — that he is the biggest loser in presidential history since, I don’t know, Alf Landon or going back further[.]
George Will is another member of the spurned lover faction, seeking to punish voters for forsaking the intellectual class of conservatives:
Were [Trump] to be nominated, conservatives would have two tasks. One would be to help him lose 50 states — condign punishment for his comprehensive disdain for conservative essentials, including the manners and grace that should lubricate the nation’s civic life. Second, conservatives can try to save from the anti-Trump undertow as many senators, representatives, governors and state legislators as possible.
For the moment, at least, Kristol is not embracing the Valhalla version of conservative purity. But the idea of an independent candidate not even on the ballot in major states winning is a fantasy. Kristol, contra Trump, is no dummy. But he does not seem to be thinking clearly.