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Bill Kristol Tweets There Will be an Independent Challenger to Trump and Hillary

As many of you may know, Bill Kristol and several other prominent “mainstream” conservatives have been searching for a movement conservative approved candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the general election, an effort they are calling the Renegade Party. Heretofore, they have struggled to find a willing candidate. Yesterday Kristol tweeted the following:

Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate–an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.

This story has received a lot of media coverage, but no candidate has been announced so far.


  1. Root's Teeth Are Awesome Root's Teeth Are Awesome June 1, 2016

    cbbruuno: French is a desperation pick by Kristol. If anything it shows that he may be scared of the LP becoming a more significant player if Johnson has a good showing.

    It shows the opposite — that Kristol has no faith in the LP’s ability to get many votes.

    Kristol wants to take down Trump. If Kristol thought the LP could do it this year, he wouldn’t be seeking another candidate.

  2. Steven Wilson Steven Wilson May 31, 2016

    David French is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the website of National Review, where French is a staff writer, he is a constitutional lawyer, a recipient of the Bronze Star, and an author of several books who lives in Columbia, Tenn., with his wife Nancy and three children.

    His resume would get a quick charge from the conservative base, but he is unknown quantity. Conservatives might be angry or disappointed, but they are not so desperate to vote for someone they know little or nothing about.

    If the GOP doesn’t really around the candidate chosen by their base, its fracture could be permanent. The LP has become their first pawn. I would assume the CP would be their second.

  3. Trent Hill Trent Hill May 31, 2016

    Wow, what a boring pick. They clearly ran out of options.

    He’ll end up on a few of the easier ballots, collecting 10-20k votes, maybe.

  4. cbbruuno cbbruuno May 31, 2016

    French is a desperation pick by Kristol. If anything it shows that he may be scared of the LP becoming a more significant player if Johnson has a good showing.

  5. William Saturn William Saturn May 31, 2016

    I wasn’t that far off with Robby Wells. At least Wells has a Wikipedia article.

  6. Christina Petro Christina Petro May 31, 2016

    Jill Pyeatt is right: There were already anti-Trump candidates and they got beat repeatedly (and by large numbers) in the Republican primaries. What makes Kristol think they will change their minds and support David French in November? Trump continues to poll strongly (often beating Hillary) and has received more votes than any other Republican in the party’s primary history. Republican voters have made up their minds. David French will not change that.

  7. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt May 31, 2016

    I just read that, too.

    Big whoop. Running him would be a waste of time and money. Trump is who Republicans want, not someone people have barely heard of.

  8. Christina Petro Christina Petro May 31, 2016

    Funny people in the comments here have been speculating Erick Erickson: he’s on Twitter using the hashtag #FrenchRevolution to support David French for President

  9. Christina Petro Christina Petro May 31, 2016

    It’s David French. Not exactly the A-lister Kristol has been promising for months.

  10. Steven Wilson Steven Wilson May 31, 2016

    The GOP should not take the primary vote totals so lightly. Trump is winning states for whatever reason.
    Party leadership would pay a heavy price in 2018 if the voters were ignored about who they wanted as President.

    The LP, CP, and GP don’t have any primary results that are thorough and exacting enough to know for sure how the foot soldiers of each respective party will support the convention winning candidates.

    Having a VP candidate that has a history of gun control is not going to go well here in Missouri. Although the LP ticket is now secured, it would be irrational to assume blind obedience in November.

  11. NewFederalist NewFederalist May 31, 2016

    Certainly not Megan Kelly!

  12. Joshua K. Joshua K. May 31, 2016

    @NewFederalist: Why would any Fox News anchors run against Trump? I would think it’s more likely that a Fox News anchor would run as Trump’s VP than that one would run against him.

  13. Austin Cassidy Austin Cassidy May 31, 2016

    “Perhaps Beck should be Trumps running mate. That would probably solve all his problems.”

    Hehe. Beck’s radio program was suspended from SiriusXM because he entertained talk about the need for someone to assassinate a future President Trump.

  14. Trent Hill Trent Hill May 31, 2016

    I’d love to see Glenn Beck run. Not because I like Beck, I dont, but because it would neuter Trump in a big way with Mormons. Shit, let’s get Bernie on the Green Party ticket and REALLY throw a wrench in this thing, eh?

  15. Trent Hill Trent Hill May 31, 2016

    “Why would Mormons dislike Trump any more than do other groups?”

    For a lot of reasons that have been well documented. Mormons are Trump’s worst segment of the Republican party in terms of polling. He does better with women, young people, hispanics, etc.

    Mormons dislike him because he owns casinos, has been divorced multiple times, and is, in general, a foul person and rude. A candidate like Castle/Bradley could make headway just by pushing hard in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. Let’s be honest, financial realities preclude this ticket from going to events all over the country. Why not focus on Mormon country where Trump is weakest and where the CP has traditionally been very strong?

  16. NewFederalist NewFederalist May 31, 2016

    Perhaps Beck should be Trumps running mate. That would probably solve all his problems.

  17. Austin Cassidy Austin Cassidy May 31, 2016

    The Mormon vote is key. If not Romney, Glenn Beck is an interesting possibilityl.

    There is a lot of chatter about trouble in his media company, The Blaze website and TV network are struggling. His radio show is currently suspended by SiriusXM for some comments he made.

    If he were to step away from his role there to run a populist campaign for president he’d dramatically improve his own exposure, and he might be able to seriously contest a Mormon heavy state or two. If the company tanks while he’s away his hand are clean.

  18. Richard Winger Richard Winger May 31, 2016

    Ross Perot in 1992 did not file any ballot access laws, except one in Hawaii for vice-presidential substitution. But the very day that case was to be heard, Perot dropped out (July) so the case was dismissed without any decision.

    The people that won the most important ballot access cases have been George Wallace in 1968, Eugene McCarthy in 1976, and John Anderson in 1980. But many presidential candidates or their parties have won important cases also, including Lenora Fulani (1988) and Dennis Serrette (1984) of the New Alliance Party; the Libertarian Party in all years starting in 1976; the Green Party; Ralph Nader when he ran as an independent; the American Party in 1980; the Socialist Workers Party 1972 thru 1996; the Communist Party 1968 and 1972; the Justice Party in 2012; the Constitution Party; the Peace & Freedom Party; the Reform Party in 1996 and 2000; the Natural Law Party; and probably more I can’t remember now.

  19. Miro Miro May 31, 2016

    I can’t see it.

    Mormons REALLY dislike Trump, and while they’re not likely to bolt to the Democratic Party, I don’t think the Constitution Party can really benefit from that.

    Two of the reasons attributed is immigration and religious freedom. Mormons as a whole are pretty friendly towards immigrants, and considering their missions rely heavily on converting residents in Latin America (among other places), it’s understandable. They’re cautious of anti-Islamic sentiments, as well. Keep in mind they’re not the most mainstream and widely understood religion either, and the reason why they’re historically in the West is because they were forced there. Not exactly strong CP selling points for them.

  20. Root's Teeth Are Awesome Root's Teeth Are Awesome May 31, 2016

    Trent Hill: If the CP were smart, they’d capitalize on Mormon dislike of Trump by advertising almost exclusively in Mormon country and doing lots of events there.

    Why would Mormons dislike Trump any more than do other groups?

  21. Be Rational Be Rational May 31, 2016

    US Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL) … declined to run for POTUS

    Someone should introduce Bill Kristol to Milness. He might say yes, but no one else is going to pick up Bill Kristol’s flaming baton … That’s what I see in my kristol ball.

  22. Bondurant Bondurant May 31, 2016

    It would be interesting to see how quickly the establishment can knock down the restrictive ballot access requirements they put in place. Would they remain knocked down or be built up again quickly or will karma bite them in the ass and their motions denied?

  23. Trent Hill Trent Hill May 31, 2016

    I think Kristol was bluffing. News like this would’ve leaked by now.

    If the CP were smart, they’d capitalize on Mormon dislike of Trump by advertising almost exclusively in Mormon country and doing lots of events there.

  24. RedPhillips RedPhillips Post author | May 31, 2016

    The Memorial Day weekend is over, and no one has announced. Was Kristol bluffing?

  25. Sean Scallon Sean Scallon May 31, 2016

    “This story has received a lot of media coverage, but no candidate has been announced so far.”

    Nor should it have gotten any media attention at all. Who the hell is Bill Kristol for a newsperson say “STOP THE PRESSES!”? Nobody! Until there’s a flesh and blood person willing to commit themselves to this suicide mission (Romney?) then nothing should be reported on it because it’s just hot air on his part, the most wrong-person in Washington. That’s news?

    Maybe he’ll run if he’s got the balls. At least one would enjoy seeing him getting ass wupped.

  26. Miro Miro May 31, 2016

    Hi, my name is Bill Kristol and I have no idea how ballot access deadlines work.

  27. George Whitfield George Whitfield May 31, 2016

    Dylan Robnett,
    I was thinking the same thing.

  28. Deran Deran May 31, 2016

    If Kristol et al really do this. Those lawsuits abt petitioning deadlines and signature numbers would be useful to everyone.

    I know Eugene McCarthy in 1976 and George Wallace in 1968 did some important lawsuing that has gone on to benefit us all. Nader, Perot and Anderson too.

  29. Dylan Robnett Dylan Robnett May 30, 2016

    Nowhere does Kristol suggest he’s supporting said independent candidate. I’ll bet he is referring to Johnson/Weld. Indeed, this is an impressive independent ticket with a real chance. No one else will be able to say that with a late attempt at ballot access.

  30. Matt Cholko Matt Cholko May 30, 2016

    I’m with RTAA.

    As for langa, I don’t think that matters. There will be plenty of excuses to choose from.

  31. Root's Teeth Are Awesome Root's Teeth Are Awesome May 30, 2016

    I’m guessing Kirstol means Johnson.

  32. itdoesntmattermuch itdoesntmattermuch May 30, 2016

    They aren’t going to do it (if they do it at all) and put money behind some no name and/or guy who couldn’t even get the CP nomination. And they aren’t going to use a damaged brand (no offense meant to the CP, I am an LP and feel the same way about us).

    They know they aren’t going to win. The goal is to spoil Trump and elect Hillary, right? Cant they just do that behind the scenes with their money men?

  33. langa langa May 30, 2016

    If true, the worst part about this is that, when the Johnson/Weld ticket inevitably falls far short of the wildly optimistic promises it has made, this will be used as an excuse, and as a justification for nominating even less libertarian tickets in future years.

  34. Austin Cassidy Austin Cassidy May 30, 2016

    They ought to put Mitt Romney on the ballot in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming and Montana.
    That’s 33 electoral votes in mostly dark red states. Nevada being the only big swing state. But all have big Mormon populations and could be seriously contested by Romney on a budget of only a few million dollars.
    The goal being not to win outright, but to force it into the U.S. House.

  35. Matt Cholko Matt Cholko May 30, 2016

    Here’s what i was told for at large- Redpath, Goldstein, Starchild, Feldman, Hayes. I left as votes were being tabulated. I’ve not been able to find out anything about JC.

  36. Krzysztof Lesiak Krzysztof Lesiak May 30, 2016

    Speaking of Robby Wells:

    We are in need of individuals that are willing to manage our canvassing efforts across the nation. We are on a massive signature drive to secure ballot access for every state. If you are interested in these paid positions, please contact us here and send your resume to
    Rise Up!
    Robby Wells – 2016 Presidential Candidate


  37. Green Party Voter Green Party Voter May 30, 2016

    There are two excellent alternatives. Dr. Jill Stein the Green Party. Or Johnson.
    The Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein has invited Bernie to join the Green Party.
    A Sanders/Stein Green Party ticket is a serious ticket.
    Big Corporate Media generally continues to dismiss these Green Party options.
    Yes there has been a record amount of Green Party coverage this last week. In Rolling Stone, GQ, Washington Post, LA Times,
    Give Dr. Jill Stein the kind of blanket Big Corporate Media coverage – and this highly qualified Green Party candidate quickly becomes the most attractive, most presidential candidate.

  38. Losty Losty May 30, 2016


    Did you stick around to the LNC Meeting? Did they happen to say who won At large and JC?

  39. Losty Losty May 30, 2016

    Well, the LP isn’t changing the name, so he may have been waiting until they had the nomination.

    And for “So Long Johnson”, Who else would have gotten 1-2?

  40. George Phillies George Phillies May 30, 2016

    Erick Erickson would not be surprising. Of course, Kristol might have meant Johnson, with a slightly different party name than reported above. I seem to recall that George Wallace faced much more serious obstacles to ballot access, but when he had enough support the courts discovered the merits of his cases.

  41. NewFederalist NewFederalist May 30, 2016

    Perhaps Kristol can get a pairing of a couple of Fox News anchors. That’s the ticket!

  42. RedPhillips RedPhillips Post author | May 30, 2016

    Romney and Sasse have reportedly said no. My hunch is that Erickson is the fall back candidate.

    Yes it is too late the get on several state ballots. They have said the campaign will involve legal challenges to those deadlines and signature requirements.

  43. Bob Haran Bob Haran May 30, 2016

    Why try to start a fly by night Renegade Party when there is an established conservative alternative to the failed GOP, the Constitution Party.? Oh, I remember, they want a party that represents the Washington establishment and Wall Street, not an established conservative party that represents the American middle class and Main Street.

    Bob Haran,

  44. cbbruuno cbbruuno May 30, 2016

    I think Red Phillips may be on to something. If it is Ericsson he will fizzle fast.

  45. Krzysztof Lesiak Krzysztof Lesiak May 30, 2016

    Isn’t it too late for an independent ticket to get 50 state ballot access due to deadlines?

    My guesses are Romney or Ben Sasse. That’s the best I can come up with on the fly.

  46. RedPhillips RedPhillips Post author | May 30, 2016

    OK, I’m going to go out on a limb, because if it’s this person and I don’t call it, I’ll kick myself because no one will believe it was my guess. I think it is going to be Erick Erickson.

  47. Jeremy Siple Jeremy Siple May 30, 2016

    And down goes Johnson!

  48. RedPhillips RedPhillips Post author | May 30, 2016

    Any guesses? The problem they have had so far is that no significant politician wants to step up to be the sacrificial lamb. My guess is that it is either a pundit, a general or a politician who has been out of the game for a while.

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