On Sunday, two related events occurred: the Libertarian Party chose their ticket for the 2016 campaign, and Bill Kristol made news by stating that another, independent, well-backed candidate will be emerging in the race. Three candidates vying for Republican/conservative/libertarian hearts and minds between now and November. One Trump and two “I’m Not Trump” candidates.
And of course, if Hillary is the nominee (and she is), “I’m not Trump” will figure largely into her campaign as well.
Running against Donald Trump is all the rage, it seems. And why not? Donald Trump is a terrible candidate and easily one of the two worst people ever to run on a major party ticket in this country. (You can guess the other.) Trump is a routine liar, he has no core policy preferences, no discernible political principles, not even a platform, really. All of his campaign promises are nothing at all, by his own admission. He flies by the seat of his pants, always believing himself supremely, unquestionably correct. It makes him capricious and dangerous.
Running as “Not That” is a pretty solid platform. But it does raise some questions. What about the Supreme court? Trump is using the specter of a lost court to pimp himself, but as Ben discusses here at length, that’s a red herring. So pretty much the primary argument being made by reluctant Trump voters is just smoke.
As for the rest of what his supporters mistakenly believe are his policy positions, we’ve already covered that. They aren’t his positions, he won’t follow through, and indeed he’s already backing out of them.
Which leaves the other, bigger question: who would be worthy of support? Susan dismisses the Libertarian party out of hand, saying “they will soon be relegated back to their 2am party meetings in the corner booth at the Waffle House.” Kimberly likewise has little taste for supporting the Libertarian candidate.
That leaves us with Kristol’s unknown independent. And this is where we get to the point.
If this influx of candidates means Donald Trump does not win, that will be enough of a victory for some. And in truth, it will be enough of a victory to save the conservative movement from the perils of Trump. It will also be enough to save us from what could be the most disastrous candidate from any party ever to come this close to being President. But it would not save us from Hillary, who is the most criminal and perhaps most malicious person to ever come this close.
But most importantly, it would not save us from his followers, the Red Hats. And that is actually the most important thing of all.
It is not enough that Trump fail. It is critical that Trumpism fail. That his style of campaign fail. That his rhetoric fail. That his followers fail. His failure must be total and complete. He must be utterly, irretrievably defeated. And by the right person. He can’t just lose the presidency, we need someone who actually cares about the things that conservatives and Republicans care about to defeat them both and win the Presidency. Someone who will fulfill promises that have gone unfulfilled by the Republican party for far too long, like border security, control of illegal immigration, reduction of out of control government, reining in the IRS … the list goes on.
Only by such a candidate’s success, and by their successful first four years, can we claim a victory. Without that, what do we have? We have a Hillary White House that will be probably the worst, most damaging administration anyone now alive has ever known, and Trump’s angry supporters will blame Republicans and conservatives and pretty much everyone for their loss. You think they are insufferable now? Just wait until Hillary takes the Oval Office. They’ll be practically insurgent. And I couldn’t really blame them.
However, by losing, they’ll actually win. As will the rest of the country.
A lot rides on this thing, a lot more than just the Supreme Court. A lot more than just the fate of the Republican party. A lot more than just Donald versus Hillary. This is not just about who wins the job, it’s about whose supporters win the election. We can’t let Trump’s supporters win. And we can’t let them lose to Hillary. If you are a person who refuses to vote for Donald Trump, as I am, then it cannot be overstated how monumentally important it is that a viable, well-funded, popular Independent candidate show up pretty much right away. White horse and all.
Because if one doesn’t, there is really no hope of a good outcome in 2016. We get Trump, and his supporters think they are validated and vindicated, or we get Hillary, and his supporters think they are validated and become vindictive. Neither is good for America. The former just delays the disillusionment of his voters, the latter just speeds the victory of liberal progressives over American values.
So, no pressure Bill Kristol, but … do a good job man. Do a really. Good. Job.