Third-party bid emerging from … GOP?


I’m always willing to admit to being a little slow on the uptake at times.

Here’s an example of something I’m having trouble connecting.

Mitt Romney is recruiting members from within the Republican Party to run as “third-party” candidates for president in 2016.

Yes, that Mitt Romney. The Republicans’ 2012 presidential nominee. Mr. Establishment Republican himself.

Here’s what’s puzzling. At least two of the names he’s recruiting belong to other mainstream Republicans. Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.

These two fellows have at least one thing in common: They both despise Donald J. Trump, the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee.

For that matter, you can add Mitt to the list of Trump foes.

Let’s play this out for a second or two.

What happens if, say, Kasich or Sasse decide to take Mitt’s bait? They run for president as a “third party candidate.” What in the world do they call this “third party”? Would it be Republican 2.0? How about the Real Republican Party? Or, Your Grandpa’s GOP?

Trump’s brand of Republican Party politics bears virtually no resemblance to the kind of platform on which Mitt ran in 2012, or on which Kasich ran this year until he suspended his campaign just a few weeks ago.

I don’t know much about Sen. Sasse, other than he’s been a vocal Trump critic ever since Trump decided to run for the party’s presidential nomination.

I guess you have to go way back to 1912 to find such a serious schism within the Republican Party. That was when former President Theodore Roosevelt broke away from the GOP to form a progressive party, the Bull Moose Party. That split guaranteed the election that year of Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

I’m guessing no one needs to remind Mitt that history does have a way of repeating itself.