Update: I’ve changed my mind.
In 2012, I didn’t support Mitt Romney, but I voted for him. In fact, I haven’t supported a candidate since 1988 when I thought that George H. W. Bush would essentially be Ronald Reagan’s third and fourth term. I was wrong. Since then, I’ve voted for every Republican nominee but only reluctantly.
This year, I will not be voting for the Republican nominee unless a miracle occurs (which is possible) between now and the Republican National Convention. I won’t vote for Donald Trump nor will I vote for Hillary Clinton. I would vote for Romney because if he were to run, he’d be the only viable option that didn’t pose an existential threat to the Constitution and the American way of life.
The funny part is that I didn’t support Romney in 2012 because I thought he was too liberal. I liked Newt Gingrich. When he dropped out, I liked Rick Santorum. Once again, I was wrong just as I was wrong about Bush in 1988. Now that Santorum has endorsed Trump and Gingrich has become Trump’s leading VP candidate, I am forced to come to the conclusion that Romney is the sane one of the group.
At this point, some will say that if I was wrong so often before, what makes me believe that I’m not wrong about Trump. Here’s the thing: I’m not wrong about Trump. I ignored the signs about Bush. Gingrich is on board with Trump for the sake of political expediency and Santorum has fallen in line because he sees no other option. When it comes to Trump, everything he’s done his entire adult life in general and over the last several months in particular point to an obvious disconnect with conservatism, values, and reality.
Romney has a handful of bad ideas mixed in with some very good ones. Even his bad ideas are like the cure for cancer compared to the destructive ideas of Clinton or the ever-changing ideas of Trump. More importantly, Romney could win.
Before anyone points at polls or calls Romney a loser, the scenario is actually very clear. Romney (or any third candidate) wouldn’t need to get to 270 electoral votes. He’d simply need to prevent the other two from getting to 270. If that happens, the election is decided by the House of Representatives. Each state gets a single vote which very much favors the Republicans. The first candidate to 26/50 votes wins. Any third candidate who is remotely conservative would likely win in the long run with this scenario.
Those who believe that a third candidate entering the race would hand the election to Clinton need to look at the states and do the math. Clinton would likely get the most popular votes, but she is very unlikely to get to 270. If Trump and Clinton are the nominees, the only thing that can prevent the meltdown of the country is a third candidate.
Many Republicans are asking #NeverTrumpers to hold their nose and get on board the stinky Trump Train. Holding our noses won’t save us when the train crashes. If we’re going to hold our nose, at least let it be for someone who we can trust to lead the country.