When the Rules Committee for the Republican national convention convenes tomorrow, we will get some hint as to whether a delegate revolt is possible. Even if the Rules Committee does not include a conscience provision, delegates on the floor can call for a vote, and individual delegates can simply abstain on the first ballot, opening the door for other candidates. The convention remains the best chance for the GOP to save itself and dump Trump.
A successful delegate revolt is possible, but still an uphill climb, to be sure. If it fails, are conservatives out of options? Not quite.
Let’s not forget that the Better for America group is still working on ballot access for an independent candidate. James Glassman, spokesman for the group, explains in a mass email, “There is still time to get on the ballot in states that make up about 90% of the electoral votes, and … there’s a good constitutional challenge to be made in states like Texas, where the deadline for gathering signatures has already passed. State rules lack uniformity. Deadlines run from May to September. Florida requires 119,000 signatures; Utah, 1,000.” He adds a surprising nugget of news: “Better for America expects to be on 10 state ballots in the next few weeks. The strategy is to create a platform on which a strong independent candidate can run.” (It is already on the New Mexico ballot.)
Hmmm. That still leaves the matter of a candidate. Mitt Romney seems increasingly determined to stay out of the race. Elected officials, one after another, have declined. A National Review journalist backed by the Weekly Standard’s editor was a noble failure. Keep your eye on another name, however — Tim Kane (not Sen. Tim Kaine). A group of veterans is quietly putting together a list of 300 supporters for Kane, a former Air Force officer, successful high-tech entrepreneur, economist and author. In a letter inviting people to sign on, the vets write, “We find it discomforting that in a nation of over 300 million people, the final two partisan candidates are both facing active legal investigation — one faces a trial for defrauding hard working Americans; the other faces an ongoing FBI investigation for violating national security laws. Both Clinton and Trump are unfit and embarrassing.”
Long before this effort got underway, we have gotten to know Kane in his current role as a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. It’s easy to understand why vets might pick him. He’s young (48), born (Michigan) and raised (Ohio) in the heartland, engaging and accomplished. Unlike Trump, Kane has had only one wife (of more than 20 years), and he is a father of four.
Unlike other non-pols, however, he has gotten his feet wet in politics before. Kane’s grandfather was an elected tax-cutting Democrat in Michigan, serving on the state tax commission. Kane has himself counseled veterans seeking to run for elected office and was an adviser on both the Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) presidential campaigns. Kane these days is considered politically eclectic — pro-immigration and pro-free trade, pro-national security, fiscally conservative, socially moderate (pro-life and pro-gay rights) — which would help draw votes from both major candidates.
Republicans distraught over Trump should root for success at the convention, but if that does not come to pass, there is still an independent candidate option and at least one attractive, very independent potential candidate.