Perhaps No Scapegoat

Should David French make it on the ballot in Georgia, I would gladly vote for him. David French, unlike any other candidate for President, left his job after 9/11 and joined the military to fight for his country. He is a conservative scholar, has provided a lot of pro bono legal work to good causes, and is someone I could vote for as opposed to having others suggest I choose between the evils of two lessers.

I know who David French is, but had never spoken to him until around 10 o’clock on Monday evening. He appears to be the candidate behind Bill Kristol’s tweet about a third party candidate. I told David on Monday night I thought he needed to come out with a pile of money committed. Kristol’s tweet, however, along with an article mentioning David, rushed the story quicker than David wanted. It was an unforced error that forces David out quicker than I think he intended. A bit humorously, I suddenly find myself getting credit and blame for something I played no role in and did not know about until just over 24 hours ago.

Over the past few weeks a lot of names have circulated for an independent or third party run. I focused on Ben Sasse and Mitt Romney, neither of whom will do it. As friends of mine have increasingly become desperate for a candidate, i have moved more and more to thinking perhaps we should not offer up a candidate.

Donald Trump and his chief supporters have said over and over again that they do not need me or any other conservative in order to win in November. According to Trump, he is going to reshape the Republican coalition and beat the Democrats. More and more I am inclined to let him try.

I do not think Donald Trump will win. Should Trump lose in November, he and his supporters will be desperate to find someone to blame other than Trump himself. An independent candidate provides them a scapegoat to avoid responsibility.

It is very similar to Al Gore in 2000. Gore had Ralph Nader to blame and the Democrats never had to take seriously their fundamental problems. They had to again get clobbered with John Kerry in order to take a hint and find a happy warrior who was going to campaign on “hope and change” instead of piss, vinegar, and Mexican rapists like Trump is doing now.

The Republican Party, with Trump, is embracing a campaign of racism, nativism, and fear mongering wrapped in a Messiah complex of a man who promises everything without limits. If it wins in November, I will gladly say I had no role to play in that victory. If it loses in November, I will gladly cheer Donald Trump’s defeat. But I am increasingly convinced an independent candidate just gives Trump one more excuse and one more target of blame for what I think is his inevitable defeat.

Should David French raise the money and get out the ballot, I’d relish being able to support him and vote for him. I had to hold my nose for McCain. I had to hold my nose for Romney. I will not hold my nose for Trump. I will not vote for the man. I would gladly vote for David French — a man willing to drop everything to serve his country at war, a far more noble endeavor than anything Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump have ever done. I will contribute money to David French. For the first time in two cycles I’d have a candidate I want to vote for.

But more and more I wonder if, for the good of the conservative movement, we should watch Trump fall on his own instead of providing him a conservative scapegoat.

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Erick Erickson

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