On Sunday, a conservative magazine editor put forward a name for a potential third-party run for president. Who, you might ask? Well, a conservative magazine writer, of course. Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, thinks pretty highly of people like himself — Trump-hating intellectuals who opine about evil taxes for a living. Funnily enough, though, the very man he is cajoling into a run did the same thing just last month. David French was calling for viable third-party candidate before he himself was called to be one. A tad ironic, no?
On Sunday, Kristol tweeted that there would be an independent candidate joining the race — "an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance." Then, Bloomberg Politics reported Tuesday that the man Kristol had in mind was French, a staff writer at National Review who's also a constitutional lawyer and Iraq War vet. Kristol has also been owning Trump on Twitter ever since.
But back to French. In May, he wrote a column called "A Third Party Option Is Culturally Critical," in which he laid out the reasons he thinks Americans need another candidate if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton go head-to-head. He says that Americans have voted to put "two of the most dishonest candidates in America front and center in the general election." So what's his solution?
Throughout this election season, we’ve talked about various “lanes” to the nomination. There was the so-called establishment lane, the conservative lane, and the populist lane. Why don’t we create a new lane? Let’s call it the integrity lane, and it’s the lane for people who refuse to support corruption – who refuse to waste or destroy their moral capital by arguing endlessly over the “lesser of two evils.” Why not reject evil entirely?
Here's where he differs from Kristol, though. He doesn't nominate himself to drive in the integrity lane. He mentions Mitt Romney, whom he supports. But he finds his candidacy doubtful — Mitt's not feeling it. So what is the only remaining solution? The libertarians:
Now is an ideal time for the Libertarian Party to get its act together and nominate a truly serious candidate — a person who may not meet the party’s typical purity tests but who can at least make a serious argument and advance a range of policies that unite both conservatives and libertarians.
No word from French on whether former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson fits the bill. In fact, there's been no word from him at all these past days. Kristol continues to talk up a French run, though. And French himself said that a third-party candidate would "be doing their nation a vital service":
The conservative movement will live on, but it will be healthier in both the short and long term if its core voters can rally around a banner this November. Who will step forward? Will anyone?
Maybe it will be French. Romney has nice things to say about him. The only problem, then, is that not very many people have heard of him.