With some 6 in 10 Republican voters selecting someone besides Donald Trump for president and strong negatives against Democrat Hillary Clinton, there is ample room for a third-party candidate to serve as an alternative. A movement is under way to draft Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska to run as a third-party candidate in the wake of broad party dissatisfaction with Trump.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 4, 2016
After a defeat in Indiana last night, Sen. Ted Cruz dropped out of the race and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Trump the presumptive nominee. But Trump’s path to general election victory is far from assured. Trump has received a higher proportion of delegates relative to his popular vote, propping him up with an inflated sense of victory when polls show him trailing Clinton.
The GOP primary system was set up to favor the frontrunner, even though some 40 percent of Republicans responded in a Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll, as David Paleologos reports, “they will either vote for the Democratic nominee, seriously consider an independent candidate, stay home and not vote in November, or weren’t sure. Mass defection.”
Two conservative political strategists, Eric Maranga from Frederick County, Md., and Daniel Ledoux from Kingwood, Texas, have set up the Draft Sasse political action committee. Sasse has been an outspoken critic of Trump, and reiterated his call in a lengthy Facebook post for Republicans to vote for a third-party candidate if Trump is the nominee. Sasse was highly critical of Trump’s outspoken aggression against freedom of the press and his disregard for the principles of limited government.
Reporters keep asking if Indiana changes anything for me.
The answer is simple: No.
This from Febr. still holds:https://t.co/yUNSZTHW7E
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) May 4, 2016
“Clearly Indiana sealed the deal for Trump’s path to the nomination,” Maranga told me. “Though we hoped this would not be the case, we planned for it anyway. Now that there is no question, it does help to convince most of our base. Constitutional conservatives.”
Maranga said the top logistical hurdle for #DraftSasse is ballot access.
He said there’s “no way to make up for lost time. We just need to move with urgency from now on.”
Maranga rejected the notion that Sasse would serve as a spoiler for Republicans.
“Hillary is defeating Trump in nearly all the polls, he’s playing spoiler for himself,” Maranga said. “#DraftSasse is an option for all the constitutional conservatives– who clearly the RNC no longer cares for.”
Maranga would not disclose to date how much money the PAC had raised, though Federal Election Commission filings through the end of March show the THE DRAFT SASSE COMMITTEE had not raised any funds.
“Our donors are concerned conservatives who are weary of the pending nominees,” Maranga said. “We believe Senator Sasse is the man for the job, precisely because he doesn’t want it. He is a non polarizing, common sense conservative, focused on the constitution and the principles that made this country great.”