My friend Erick Erickson has a piece at his new digs today about one potential danger that he sees in putting up a third party candidate to run against Trump. The basic gist of his argument (or I guess it is more accurate to say concern) is that by running a third party candidate, some people who deserve to have their credibility take a hit (like Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham, to name just a couple) will evade responsibility because Trump supporters will blame the third party candidate for his loss, rather than Trump's cheerleaders who gave them false hope.
From Erick's piece:
And that may be why we should not have a third party. There are a lot of media whores, has been politicians, washed up personalities, and bought off pundits backing Trump. They’ve convinced a segment of the American people that Trump is both inevitable and unstoppable.
If a third party rises up to take on Trump, they’ll be able to point out that this third party is to blame for Trump’s loss, not that Trump was always going to lose.
A lot of people need to be held accountable for the fraud being committed on angry, hurting voters. They’ve taken advantage of these voters’ anger and sympathies. A third party allows them to escape accountability and remain unscathed by the con-job they are helping pull over on the American people.
First, I think Erick is exactly right that what's happening is that fraud is being committed on angry, hurting voters. Right now, a mob has risen up in America, and it is fighting a battle it cannot win. America's never going back to the days where white people were 80% of the population and had 95% of the good jobs, where lots of people without college education could make a decent living in the manufacturing sector, and where we get to push the rest of the world around on trade.
The success of Trump's campaign is not economical, it's cultural. Trump doesn't succeed among all lower income, "poorly educated" voters (to use his own words), he succeeds in particular among a segment of them who believe that the reason they are where they are is because outside forces beyond their control (or ability to comprehend) are primarily responsible for their lot in life. And so they seek for ready-made excuses for why things are the way they are.
The reason they aren't as well off as they should be isn't that they don't have the skills and abilities needed to succeed in the modern economy, it's the fault of the damn Chinese, or the Mexicans, or the "elites," or whoever. Trump is tapping into that ethos better than any other candidate possibly could. The fact that his proposed solutions to the "problems" that are facing the mob don't even make sense is completely irrelevant: all that matters is that he's directing anger towards the right targets.
Of course, candidate Trump is a completely false hope. In the first place, he can't get elected, or really even come close. But in the second place, even if he can get elected, he can't do even 5% of what he is promising his followers.
And yes, his cheerleaders like Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity are committing fraud on these unfortunate people by promising them that yes, they can have President Trump. Yes, President Trump can solve these problems for you. If some of your fellow traitor Republicans abandon him, Trump will make up for that by pulling in support from disaffected Democrats. All will be well.
In an ideal world, after nominee Trump goes on to lose at least 40 states in November, the mob would turn on their yes men for their false promises. In an ideal world, they would cease to treat anything that the people who defrauded them said as credible, and would instead look sensibly and say, "The people like Erick Erickson and Leon Wolf and Dan McLaughlin who warned us that Trump would lose in a landslide were right, we should listen to them."
The sad reality is that mobs don't work this way. Even if there's not a third party candidate, you can bet that the Trump mob will find some reason other than "Trump was a crappy candidate and America did not want him to be President" as the answer. Something "unfair" will have happened. And you can bet that Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity will be there to validate this belief that Trump was "cheated" out of a victory that he deserved. And you can find out how if you pre-order their book, which will be released just in time for Christmas 2017.
The largest bulk of Trump's support have become a permanent underclass in their own minds and will never be interested in such things as objective credibility - only in people who will tell them things they want to hear. We are already living in the times of 2 Timothy 4:3 and have been for some time. So hurting the credibility of people who deserve to have their credibility utterly destroyed is a fool's game.
Instead, in my view, we should focus on preserving a reason for conservative voters to come out and vote for good, conservative Senators and House members, so that President Hillary faces at least some small brake on the worst parts of her agenda. And the best way to accomplish that, at least that I'm aware of, is to put a good, solid third party conservative candidate on the ballot.
The mob will always look to their yes men over people who tell the truth. Discrediting the yes men is a waste of time and effort.