The pros and cons of a "Stop Trump" third-party bid

Party coalitions are, of necessity in this country, diverse, broad coalitions, with many sub-segments. If the party leadership itself abandons the coalition, especially in an explicit attempt to deny the Republican nominee a win, it will have lost whatever authority it has remaining to manage the various coalitions.

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Moreover, if Trump is to lose, the lesson (assuming there is any) about his popularity would be best learned if he loses straight up. Abandoning the party and running a rear guard action would enable Trump supporters – assuming he loses – to operate under a “stabbed in the back” theory in 2020 and going forward. And they’d be right!

This is the ultimate rejoinder to advocates of “we need someone to save the down-ballot candidates.” Maybe Trump will drag the bottom of the ticket down. But even if a third party candidate managed to save some House and Senate seats (and there’s no guarantee Trump’s supporters wouldn’t skip the down-ballot races in retaliation for a third party bid), it would come at the cost of the party’s long-term future.

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