About a month ago, the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol raised the prospect of creating a new party to compete against Republicans if Donald Trump is the GOP’s nominee. Pressed on his plans, Kristol said he’s “semi-serious,” adding, “[I]f Trump were to be the nominee, I’d be open to a new party, probably for 2016 only.”
Yesterday, Hugh Hewitt spoke with the Washington Post’s George Will, a prominent Republican pundit in his own right, who said something similar about what would happen if Trump wins the GOP nomination.
“[Y]ou would also figure that there would be movement to have a third-party candidate because if the election is Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, this will be the first election since God knows when, there was no real conservative candidate. […]“[In 1964] I cast my vote for Barry Goldwater who valued that classic, creative defeat of his because he took the Republican Party and said, ‘Henceforth it will be a conservative party.’ Those of us who feel that way are not about to sit idly and see the Republican Party which was saved by William Howard Taft to 1912 for conservatism that was reclaimed by Barry Goldwater for conservatism, we’re not going to let it disappear in 2016.”
As a rule, it’s unusual to hear prominent national media figures be quite this open about their allegiance to a political party, using words like “us” and “we” to describe Republicans.
But what does George Will think he’ll be able to do, exactly? He’s “not going to let” true Republicanism suffer at the hands of Trump, and he refuses to “sit idly by,” but how does he intend to prevent it?
It seems awfully likely that Republicans like Will and Kristol may have grand ambitions about a third party, which would bravely run a real GOP candidate against the official GOP candidate, but the logistics of such an idea, among other things, make this little more than a fantasy of frustrated insiders.
The broader circumstances, though, are increasingly amusing. For months, the fear among Republicans was that Trump would decide he’d been treated “unfairly” and would therefore run as an independent.
Little did we know we’d be hearing talk from inside-the-Beltway Republicans about launching a third-party effort against Trump.