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Monday, January 17, 2022

Angry Republicans look to a third party

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U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) speaks at the American Conservative Union 2016 annual conference in Maryland March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File photo
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) speaks at the American Conservative Union 2016 annual conference in Maryland March 3, 2016. (REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File photo)

Donald Trump’s emergence as the last man standing in the Republican presidential race has prompted his critics inside the party to intensify their search for a candidate they could back as a serious third-party alternative.

Political operatives are courting donors, calling potential candidates and developing legal contingency plans for overcoming onerous ballot qualification laws.

“This is as much as anything a battle for the future of American party politics,” said Republican strategist Joel Searby, who is working with conservative writer Bill Kristol, among others, on an effort to identify a third-party candidate to run in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

A separate group, Conservatives Against Trump, which includes blogger Erick Erickson, has been holding calls and meetings to discuss third-party candidates as well as other options to stop the New York billionaire from winning the White House.

The hurdles to a third-party candidacy are immense. No independent candidate has ever won a presidential election, although some have played spoilers. But the efforts by the Republican groups underscore the unusual divisiveness of Trump’s candidacy within Republican ranks ahead of a likely general election fight with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s opposition to free trade is at odds with the views of many Republicans, especially in the party’s business wing. Many of Trump’s critics also find his rhetoric offensive, including his call to temporarily bar Muslims from entering the country and his comment describing Mexican immigrants to the United States as rapists and drug dealers.

Some Republicans say they worry that any third-party candidate would only siphon votes away from Trump and help Clinton win the election.

Ralph Nader’s independent presidential run has been blamed by some Democrats for the razor-thin defeat of Democratic nominee Al Gore in the 2000 election. Ross Perot’s independent candidacy in 1992 was seen by some Republicans as contributing to President George H.W. Bush’s loss to Democrat Bill Clinton.

One outcome, though rare, may be that no candidate crosses the necessary threshold of 270 votes in the U.S. Electoral College. In that case, the vote for the next president would pass to the U.S. House of Representatives, currently controlled by Republicans.

Deborah DeMoss Fonseca, who recruited donors for former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush and is working with Conservatives Against Trump, said her group was trying to find a candidate who would be high-profile enough to compete with Trump and Clinton.


But finding a candidate of that caliber who would be willing to run is no easy feat. Searby’s group has reached out to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and James Mattis, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general, among others, but both declined after discussions.

Republican U.S. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has emerged as a favorite of the Republicans seeking a third-party candidate. Kristol has had warm words for him.

Sasse, a freshman lawmaker and former Bush administration official, is a strong critic of Trump and has called for an alternative candidate to him. But he says that person should be someone other than him.

On Wednesday, the morning after Trump emerged as the presumptive presidential nominee, phones at the office of Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson were ringing off the hook with calls from small-government Republicans who feel they cannot get behind Trump.

But as a Libertarian, Johnson holds views on some issues, such as the legalization of marijuana, that are antithetical to the views of some Republicans.

In March, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, said he had considered jumping into the race as a third-party candidate but opted against it, saying he feared it would only serve to help get Trump elected.

One of the biggest hurdles to a third-party run is simply getting on the ballot in enough states to mount a viable campaign.

Texas requires more than 79,000 signatures from voters who did not participate in either primary. Its deadline is Monday. Among other states, North Carolina’s deadline is the end of May, and Illinois and Florida in mid-July.

“A third-party candidate is a pipe dream,” said Republican strategist Tony Fratto, who worked in Bush’s administration and strongly opposes Trump. “What’s going to happen is Hillary Clinton is going to win big. It won’t be close.”


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Copyright  © 2016 Thomson Reuters. All Rights Reserved

4 thoughts on “Angry Republicans look to a third party”

  1. The mess the GOP is in is not Trump’s fault. It happened when the GOP let tea party candidates become Republicans instead of telling them to go away. Because these folks were so different than the rest of the party, the GOP should have told them to start their own party way back then. The current situation is because the GOP didn’t send them packing.

  2. Its very important to be clear on this matter of Trump and who he is and what he really represents. For a very long time now the GOP has poisoned the mind of their own people with hate and lies. A process that has gone on for far to long and with unintended and far reaching side effects. Trump is simply a reflection of the fascist values of the GOP, which is why the supporters of the American N,A,Z,I, Reich embraced his message so willing. He has said nothing that the GOP hasn’t said for decades. Trump is the naked republican, he has refused to wear the mask the rest of his party demands of him. He refuses to deceive and hide from the bigotry and hatred that is the hallmark of his party. Instead Trump has embraced the N,A,Z,I, doctrine as he looks to capitalize on all of the years of hate and lies the GOP feed to their people. Not unlike a farmer who labors to reap what he has sown. Trump looks across the fields of the GOP and make no mistake he knows full well that the hearts and minds of the GOP have ripened with Hate and Fear. They are ready for a man like him, in point of fact their hearts have been prepared for a man like him. Their fears Demand it!!!!!!

  3. Awwwww, poor republican voters just now realizing that their politicians don’t care or respect what or who they want. You dummies should have realized it when you saw that they are against you having any & everything that they get. The republican establishment knows and have stated that Trump is more in line with the democrats and so he is hated by them. You “Trump” republican voters know this as well, you want someone with democrat policies but calls themselves a republican……Can you say RHINO! LMAO!!!!!!!!

  4. Here is the answer for the Republicans that say “Never Trump” : This is the way this election will work out: The Republicans can not win because they are a broken party. Trump will only facture it more. They have proven they cannot govern, even with a majority in both the Senate and the House. They are to busy fighting each other (Thank you Tea Party). Clinton will pick Sanders as her running mate and this will seal the deal. The Republicans should be happy with this set-up, as they have already given up on the White House this year. The establishment is doing all they can to ensure Trump will not be their leader, which I agree with. The good part about this plan is, they can try to rebuild their party for the 2020 election. Hillary will only serve one term (she will ride off into the sunset to spend time with her grand kids), she will have accomplished her goal, first female President. Sanders will be to old and have no interest in seeking the Presidency in 2020. With that being said, lets go out and win this thing. Clinton/Sanders 2016!

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