NeverTrump’s White Knight Refuses the Call

Last week Bill Kristol tweeted that he had found a candidate to rescue the Republican establishment from Donald Trump. After a childish Twitter feud between Kristol and Trump, reports surfaced that Kristol’s knight in shining armor was none other than high-powered and well-connected but relatively unknown GOP lawyer David French.

After a some widespread and quiet derision, Mr. French has not to run after all–but before launching several jabs at Donald Trump:

Donald Trump also lies habitually (sometimes minute by minute), and changes position based on his moods. In one breath he claims to support working men and women, and then with the next breath he threatens to destroy our economy through trade wars or by playing games with the full faith and credit of the United States. He believes an American judge — a man born in Indiana who spent months hiding from drug cartels after they’d put a “hit” on him – can’t rule on a case involving Trump University because the judge’s parents emigrated from Mexico. His supporters believe it demonstrates “strength” when he mocks the disabled and bullies women. He has attracted an online racist following that viciously attacks his opponents and their families — including my wife and youngest daughter.

Given this reality, it would be tempting to say that when it comes to confronting this national moment, “somebody” stepping up is better than nobody. But somebody is not always better than nobody.

French and Kristol want to leave the door open for yet another independent candidate to run, but it’s difficult to see who would step up to heed the call at this date. Trump is consolidating GOP establishment support, and any independent conservative candidate would lose badly–only further demonstrating to the corporate Romney-Kristol-Rubio wing of the party how few loyal voters they actually have. Meanwhile, Trump’s rabid following would blame such a candidate for his general election defeat, putting themselves and their families in danger of their personal safety. I just don’t see it happening.

Try as it might to survive and stay relevant, it appears the Never Trump movement has suffered its last gasp.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.