Bill Kristol pushed David French into the arena, but to his credit French has not run out of the gates. He recognizes a lot of people detest both Hillary and Trump and want to vote for someone as opposed to voting against someone or settling on someone who offends core principles.
But let’s be realistic about this.
David French has, charitably, 0.1% name ID. He will have to raise at least $250 million, dedicating almost all of that to ballot access fights and potential legal challenges to extend deadlines under the John Anderson precedent from 1980, which is unlikely. Then he’d have to raise a billion dollars more.
On top of that, David French would have to try to win states that lean toward Hillary Clinton. If we start at the 2012 benchmark of Romney states, French could not keep Hillary from getting to 270 electoral college votes. He will have to try to win in places like Iowa, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
If David French cannot get ballot access deadlines in Texas and elsewhere reopened and/or extended, he could only appear in a handful of states and, again, his strategy would have to be to keep both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump from 270 electoral college votes, thereby sending the election to the House of Representatives.
It is a nearly insurmountable improbability.
And still I would vote for David French or even write him in.
Donald Trump supporters keep telling me that doing anything other than voting for Donald Trump is helping Hillary Clinton. What they are actually doing is calling Donald Trump a liar. Trump himself has said very clearly he does not need my vote or my help to get elected. So either he is lying or his supporters are lying and we all know that Donald Trump never lies in the mind of his cult.
Likewise, Trump’s supporters remind me relentlessly that I tried to stop Trump in the primaries and failed and therefore no one listens to me and I have no ability to affect the election. Their collective freak out over David French now suggests they really do think those of us who might support David French can affect the election.
Like everything involving Donald Trump, the arguments all contradict themselves.
Should David French make it on the ballot in Georgia, I would gladly vote for him. I would be voting for a bronze star recipient who saw danger and ran to it to protect others. I’d be voting for a man who defended causes, often at no charge, that I believe in. I’d be voting for a family man who loves his wife and loves his Lord and is humble before his Lord. I’d be voting for a man who did not get rich off government service or use government connections to funnel funds to private causes from which he could profit.
55% of Hillary Clinton supporters say they are voting for Hilary Clinton because she is not Donald Trump. 55% of Trump supporters say they are voting for him because he is not Hillary Clinton. 100% of David French voters would be voting for him because he is neither of them, but rather is a man of integrity we can be proud of.
I’m done holding my nose for Republican offerings. I’d vote for David French.
Ultimately, however, I suspect the ballot access hurdle will be too much. I suspect it really will be an insurmountable improbability. And the real upside to all of that is that the spectacle of an independent run to Donald Trump will have visibly failed, leaving Trump with no one to blame but himself for his loss in November. While I loath the idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency, I’ve expected it since March. It is the logical outcome of Donald Trump securing the Republican nomination.
The fact that even now Donald Trump’s supporters’ best argument for Trump is “stop Hillary Clinton,” is a damning indictment against Trump. The best argument for David French, less than forty-eight hours after his name leaked, is that he is a grown up willing to govern as such without corruption, greed, or graft. I can tell you why to vote for David French because of David French, not as an argument to stop any other candidate. Neither Clinton’s nor Trump’s supporters can do that with their candidates.