It’s over. You lost. Thanks for playing.
Frankly, it’s time for the people behind the “Never Trump” movement to quietly leave the metaphoric field.
Last week, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump effectively clinched the GOP presidential nomination after his final two opponents — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — responded to his latest victory in Indiana by dropping out of the contest.
While the people have spoken and Trump is essentially the nominee, there is still a prevalent anti-Trump movement in the Republican Party. The so-called “intellectual” leaders are continuing this pointless fight, going so far as to say it’s time to make a push for a third-party candidate this presidential cycle.
There are only two people left in this country of 319 million who might be sworn in as president of the U.S. on Jan. 20, 2017: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. While there remains an outside chance Clinton could be indicted and Bernie Sanders could find himself as the Democratic presidential nominee, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Those are your choices. No matter what sort of cry-baby temper tantrums the elites and smart-set wage, little will change that final formula.
Even if you believe deep down in your soul that Trump doesn’t have the character to be fit for office, and you have apprehensions about Hillary Clinton with her liberal orthodoxy and crony-capitalism baggage, the voters have spoken. It’s not for a lack of choice either. The Republicans had 17 other candidates going back to the early part of last year and the Democrats had four.
Granted, America isn’t a pure democracy, but just because it is a democratic republic doesn’t give the country’s elites the license to negate the overwhelming will of the people.
One might expect all of this third-party talk if it were Trump who was denied the nomination. His supporters tend to be the loudest voices in the room, fed up with the rules, the establishment and the status quo. They support their candidate at rallies with an atmosphere rivaling sporting events. They take to social media and express their dissatisfaction with some unsavory terms.
However, now it is the anti-Trumpers who are engaging in the distasteful behavior. Ironically those who pride themselves on being the sober-minded intelligentsia, operating above the fray, are currently the most breathless and out of touch. It’s the Bill Kristol, George Will and Charles Krauthammer types who voice their opinions in long and thoughtful essays crafted for other sophisticated thinkers who have not been able to move beyond #NeverTrump.
How dare these unwashed simpletons from places like Jackson, Tennessee, Fort Wayne, Indiana and Mobile, Alabama, who make up the Republican electorate vote for this nouveau-riche vulgarian from Queens who lacks appreciation for the nuances of public policy!
As outrageous as that sounds, that’s where we are right now. Perhaps it’s just a passing fad of politics and just like all the talk about a brokered convention we heard for the last two months, this “Never Trump” phenomenon will be nothing more than a footnote of the 2016 presidential election.
But think of it like this. Imagine being an Auburn fan. “Never Crimson Tide,” right? After the last few ass-kickings by Alabama in the Iron Bowl, what if Auburn fans decided to call on the administration to leave the SEC for the Big Ten Conference. We can’t beat Nick Saban, so we’ll fight Purdue, Northwestern and Penn State instead.
That sounds absurd, but isn’t that what this is? The “Never Trumpers” are taking their ball and heading elsewhere, blaming everybody but themselves for losing.
At this stage in the game, a third-party candidate has no shot. Even if you wanted a third-party candidate, the filing deadline for independent presidential candidates has come and gone for the state of Texas. Without having that candidate on the ballot in Texas, there’s no path for an independent conservative candidate to the White House.
Your choices are the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate. The last non-GOP or non-Democratic Party candidate to be elected to the White House was Zachary Taylor, representing the Whig Party, in 1848. The last non-Democratic and non-Republican candidate to win a vote in the Electoral College was Libertarian Party candidate John Hospers in 1972.
Trump is right. The system is rigged, but not in the way he makes it out to be. It’s rigged for two political parties. There are obstacles to getting on the ballot as anything but a Democrat or Republican in a lot of places.
Perhaps the time is right for the birth of a third party, but such a movement needs to begin now for 2020 or 2024. The Democratic and Republican Parties have outposts in every state. They have clubs at almost every college. They have a donor base. Without those ingredients, a third-party national candidate is doomed.
For now though, “Never Trumpers,” whining about Trump as the GOP nominee is a frivolous exercise. Accept your defeat with grace.