Yesterday, word broke that Bill Kristol had found an independent presidential candidate to challenge Donald Trump. Kristol has settled on U.S. Army veteran, conservative lawyer, and National Review writer David French. French, while by all accounts a decent and honorable man, is an underwhelming choice to say the least.
While French may be appealing by virtue of the fact that he doesn’t appear to be a scumbag—unlike Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—that doesn’t make him qualified to be president of the United States. French’s résumé is that of someone who should be running for Congress, not the most powerful office in the world. Hell, I remember the good ol’ days when we argued over whether or not one-term U.S. senators were qualified to be president.
As Matt Purple wrote, much of the motivation behind Kristol’s plan is to preserve a neoconservative choice in the election. Neocons are not used to being out of power, and this year both the Democrats and Republicans are set to nominate candidates who repudiate many aspects of the neoconservative worldview.
The first problem that the so-called #FrenchRevolution will have is one of ballot access. As I pointed out yesterday, the ballot deadline has come and gone in Texas, and is coming up in North Carolina. Let’s look at the signature requirements to get on the ballot in some of the other battleground states:
Arizona (9/9/2016): 36,000 signatures from independent voters
Colorado (8/10/2016): 5,000 signatures
Florida (7/15/2016): 119,316 signatures
Georgia (7/12/2016): 7,500 signatures
Iowa (8/19/2016): 1,500 signatures combined from 10 separate counties.
Michigan (7/21/2016): 30,000 signatures
Missouri (7/25/2016): 10,000 signatures
Nevada (7/8/2016): 5,431 signatures
New Hampshire (8/10/2016): 3,000 signatures with at least 1,500 from each congressional district
Ohio: (8/10/2016): 5,000 signatures
Pennsylvania (8/1/2016): 25,000 signatures
Utah (8/15/2016): 1,000 signatures
Virginia (8/26/2016): 5,000 signatures with at least 200 from each congressional district
Wisconsin (8/2/2016): 2,000-4,000 signatures
Can you imagine National Review writers, Weekly Standard interns, and RedState contributors in parking lots trying to gather signatures? Yeah, me neither, which means French would need to build a campaign infrastructure from scratch. That costs money, which will likely not be forthcoming for a candidate with so little name ID. Even the Libertarians, who have been around since 1971 and nominated a former governor of New Mexico, will have problems raising funds.
The only way that David French will get votes is through a write-in campaign. But even that’s difficult. Seven states do not permit write-in candidates, and one of them is swing-state Nevada. Thirty-five other states require candidates to file paperwork before they can even have votes tallied for them.
So instead of fielding a man with substantial business experience or even a washed up Z-list politician, Conservatism Inc. is turning to one of its own. And even then, they’re doing it much too late.
It’s symbolic of just how out-of-touch Conservatism Inc. has become. Isn’t turning to otherwise unqualified people who said the right things how Republicans got Donald Trump in the first place? Conservatism needs to do soul-searching in the wilderness, not contribute further to a farcical 2016 election.
A David French candidacy and those promoting it are jokes. They shouldn’t be treated as anything other than that.