WASHINGTON—The Republican National Committee (RNC) is throwing cold water on pundit Bill Kristol’s efforts to form a third party to challenge Donald Trump in the general election.
Bill Kristol, son of Irving, is trying to get retired senator Tom Coburn or retired Texas governor Rick Perry to run independently if the GOP Establishment can’t figure out how to broker the convention in Cleveland to deny Trump the nomination.
RNC spokesman Sean Spicer told Breitbart News that “any effort to facilitate a third party ultimately is helping to elect Hillary Clinton.”
“The Republican Party must be united to take back the White House,” Spicer said.
Kristol has been touting his potential third party on Twitter.
The name of the third party: The Latter-Day Republicans. https://t.co/BeMhz35dhj
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 20, 2016
“If they’re going to do that, they’re going to do that but then you might as well just hand the election to Hillary Clinton or whoever runs,” Trump told George Stephanopoulos Sunday. “Frankly, the Republicans wouldn’t have even one percent chance of winning if that’s the case. So if they’re going to be stupid and they’re going to do that instead of embracing these millions of people who are coming in to vote, then they’re going to have to do that. And I’ll tell you what, that’s going to mean more than any other thing. It’s going to mean four or five justices, super liberal, placed on the Supreme Court. Our country will never, ever be the same.”
Kristol and his cohorts might not actually care if they help to elect Hillary Clinton. It will give the party’s power brokers a chance to stave off the populist takeover of their party as embodied by Trump’s rise, and they can presumably go back to picking the nominees again in 2020. This plot also eliminates Trump’s own third-party leverage. Trump can’t threaten to split the Republican vote in November if the party itself wants the vote split so Clinton can win.
But before any third-party shenanigans occur, the Establishment is going to do everything it can to broker the convention in Cleveland.
Trump needs to get 1,237 delegates during primary season, which he thinks he can do “fairly easily,” in order to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot. If he doesn’t win on the first ballot, then many state delegates on later ballots can be freed from voting with their state and can form alliances to elect an Establishment candidate.
Trump supporter Chris Christie, who leads the Republican Governors Association, said recently that “I do not want to go back to the days of the 1800s and 1700s… where a bunch of, you know, legislators, no offense, pick the United States Senator or pick, you know, who is going to be the Presidential electors.”
“The fact is I like the way this system works and even though sometimes it has worked to my advantage and sometimes it has worked to my disadvantage,” Christie said in remarks at a press conference that were provided to Breitbart News by his office. “So, I do not, I think it is wrong, I do not think we should be disenfranchising people. People vote for who they want to vote for. The one who gets the most votes should be the one who gets to be the nominee, in my view.”
“It’s childish nonsense,” Newt Gingrich told Breitbart News, referring to a Kristol-led brokered convention. “There are two potential presidential nominees. One is named Donald. One is named Ted. The idea that some clever Washington intellectual or power broker — put quote marks around ‘power broker’ — can step into an election in which millions have voted and magically change the trajectory of history? It’s goofy. There’s two players standing.”
Conservative commentator Erick Erickson is also leading a group that wants a brokered convention and is working with former Bush administration official Bill Wichterman to try to get it done.
But an effort is already underway by grassroots conservatives to stop the Establishment in its tracks.
Breitbart News reported that Trump and Ted Cruz delegates in Tennessee are already forming an alliance to make sure that their convention votes go to either Trump or Cruz and will not end up going to an Establishment candidate.