What Happened To #NeverTrump?
A Koch candidate? Maybe...
I guess Romney and the other GOP Establishment anti-trymp die-hards can vote Libertarian in November and see if they can use a Gary Johnson/Bill Weld ticket as the honorable protest that could Nader Herr Trumpf. Apparently, after being turned down flat by Paul Ryan, John Kasich, Jeff Bezos and Ben Sasse, Romney has given up on finding an anti-Trump third party ticket of his own.
Mitt Romney has ruled out an independent bid for president and is not actively recruiting any more potential candidates to do so at the moment, though he remains hopeful someone will emerge, allies told Yahoo News Tuesday.
Romney “feels like America hangs in the balance. He’s very distraught about [Trump],” said one Romney adviser. “He thinks Trump is this vulgar, dangerous, principle-less, value-less opportunist-- putting it mildly.”
The 2012 Republican nominee for president has been the most outspoken GOP figure to consistently, steadfastly oppose Trump. Romney has been asked to consider running for president himself but did not seriously consider it, those who know him said. He remains alarmed at the prospect of a Trump candidacy, though, even as hope appears to be fading that an alternative will be found.
...The general lack of concern over Trump’s pattern of threatening rhetoric toward political opponents and critics is one of the main things that “freaks [Romney] out a little bit.”
“Where is the outrage?” said the Romney adviser. “This isn’t Venezuela. A politician can’t say ‘I don’t like the press coverage of this paper so I’m going to threaten the business of the person who owns it.’ That is [former Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez.”
...And while Romney remains “motivated to help the ‘stop Trump’ cause,” a person involved in the stop-Trump discussions said that Romney is not calling or emailing any of the people who are still considering a run. A few potential candidates remain, the source said, although none at the moment are “live prospects.”
At The Atlantic yesterday, exasperated Republican publicist David Frum wrote about saving the party from Trump and Trumpism. "Republican primary voters have nominated Donald Trump," he wrote. "Republican politicians failed to stop them... Trump won the presidential nomination according to rules agreed in advance. Millions of their fellow Republicans have rightly or wrongly placed their faith in Donald Trump. If party leaders repudiate him, they’ll split the party-- and probably end up with the smaller piece." So what's a girl to do?
Bad choices over the past decade by Republican political leaders opened the way to Donald Trump, yes. For a decade, Republican voters have signaled they wanted to protect Medicare, cut immigration, fight fewer wars, and nominate no more Bushes. Their party leaders interpreted those signals as demands to cut Medicare, increase immigration, put boots on the ground in Syria, and nominate another Bush. Outdated ideology and obstinate donors impelled elected officials onto a disastrous path. More ideology and more obstinacy won’t rescue them from the cul-de-sac into which they walked themselves.Conservatives sometimes talk about just voting for Hillary. She's a Republican at heart anyway, so why not? She has more in common with their establishment than Trump does. After all, he's seriously insane and she's just a run of the mill political crook. But you never heard any GOP elites talking about voting for Bernie, do you? Oh, I know, plenty of rank-and-file voters may be thinking about it... but not the elites. Hiss "socialist," like they used to do at FDR.
Their task ahead, in the Biblical phrase, is to pluck the brands from the fire-- rescue as much of their party as can be rescued-- while simultaneously minimizing the damage to party and country by the nominee their rank-and-file has imposed on them. They need to maneuver so that Trump’s defeat is as solitary as possible, and so that he cannot shift the blame for the failure he has earned onto the heads of others. They have to be ready to rebuild the day after the election, sifting through the Trump wreckage for what is fruitful for the future, discarding what is toxic, seeking to redirect the energies of his angry followers in ways productive for normal politics.
Trump’s taught Republican politicians that they’ve neglected the interests and values of their core supporters. He’s demonstrated that much of their party ideology is obsolete, and that their language no longer moves their voters. He’s proven that their party is less culturally conservative than they believed, less hostile to social insurance than they imagined, and more worried about the economic and social costs of mass migration than they realized. Those are valuable lessons that need to be absorbed and pondered.
He’s also demonstrated that he himself is a dangerous person, contemptuous of constitutional restrictions on the power of the presidency, hostile to fundamental freedoms, and worryingly impressed by foreign authoritarian rulers. To save themselves and their country, Republican politicians will have to rediscover the politician’s arts of deftness, flexibility, and self-preservation-- while stealthily hastening Trump toward the defeat that almost certainly awaits him in November.
That’s a big job and a hard job, all the harder because they cannot acknowledge what they are doing. They will seem to help Trump win, while actually working to ensure he fails. They will speak as if they support him, while redirecting resources away from his presidential effort to down-ballot races they want to win-- fully conscious that Trump will, if he can, do the opposite to them.