A band of Republican dissenters to Donald Trump’s candidacy within the GOP are actively pursuing candidates to lead an independent race against the Republican presumptive nominee, according to a report from The Washington Post.
As per the report, a small group of Republican veterans, including former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have been commissioning private polls, arranging for funding sources and approaching potential candidates in the search for a figure to lead the GOP dissenters’ fight against a Donald Trump presidency, citing interviews with many of the figures involved. The effort has allegedly been underway since Trump announced his candidacy, but has been significantly stepped up in the wake of Trump’s victory in Indiana, following his win over Ted Cruz and the latter’s campaign suspension.
Cruz ended his campaign after Trump walked away from the Indiana primary with 53 percent of the vote.
“Together we left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we’ve got. But the voters chose another path.”
And while, according to CNN, Cruz hasn’t exactly ended his involvement in the race, GOP veterans aren’t looking to him to lead an independent stand against Donald Trump.
Instead, the dissenters are allegedly going after Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), a popular new, relatively young Republican senator who has recently become one of the most outspoken GOP voices against Trump, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who withdrew his candidacy for the nomination shortly before Donald Trump became the presumptive nominee. Mitt Romney has reportedly made personal appeals to both men in the last few days, according to several sources close to him.
Former senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), retired Marine Corps General James N. Mattis, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, and retired Army General Stanley A. McChrystal have reportedly also been approached. All told, it seems as if the GOP members in favor of an independent candidate are looking for someone with a decidedly “official” and military bent, to combat Donald Trump’s blue-collar stagemanship; something which would likely appeal to GOP voters who aren’t fans of Trump’s angry rhetoric and belligerence.
That said, those involved concede that they don’t think an independent candidate has any chance of winning the election. But they’re so opposed to the prospect of a Trump presidency — among them, commentators William Kristol and Erick Erickson and strategists Mike Murphy, Stuart Stevens, and Rick Wilson — they feel that they have to do something.
In fact, so desperate are they to put up some sort of fight that they even reportedly attempted to recruit Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and star of TV’s Entourage, as their own version of Donald Trump. Cuban, who had previously called a presidential bid “a fun idea to toss around” and declared that, if he ran, he could “could beat both Trump and Clinton,” allegedly responded to the invitation by email with “I don’t see it happening.”
Interestingly enough, one of the group’s objectives would actually be, according to Mike Murphy, to prevent Hillary Clinton from clinching the DNC nomination, putting the vote in the hands of the House of Representatives. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has promised that his Democratic candidacy is going to go all the way to the Convention, and a counter-Trump candidate at this stage of the race might just help him do that, bringing voters who can’t stomach Trump back over to the GOP’s side of the fence.
“Running an anti-Trump protest candidate in a handful of swing states really appeals to me. You could deny Trump the presidency and perhaps help important Senate and other down-ballot races by giving another choice to Republican voters who abhor Hillary Clinton and can’t cross the moral line to vote for Trump.”
So, while they still don’t have a candidate, we can expect not to see Trump running unopposed at the Republican polls sooner or later — and perhaps some unintended consequences on the Democrat side.
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