The Slatest

Conservative Blogger Decides Not to Make Third-Party Run for President

David French in an MSNBC appearance.

Screenshot/Morning Joe

Conservative writer, lawyer, and Iraq veteran David French will decline pundit Bill Kristol’s request that he make a third-party run for president, French announced Sunday in a National Review article. Kristol had urged French to run after promising recently that an “impressive” third-party candidate with a “real chance” to win the 2016 election would challenge Donald Trump, who many conservative thinkers consider an unreliable charlatan who’s not a real conservative:


French admits in his piece that he is “pretty darn obscure” as a public figure and would not have much of a chance in the general election:

Given the timing, the best chance for success goes to a person who either is extraordinarily wealthy (or has immediate access to extraordinary wealth) or is a transformational political talent. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my country, and I thank God for the successes I’ve had as a lawyer and a writer, but it is plain to me that I’m not the right person for this effort.

French says he believes someone like Mitt Romney would be a more realistic candidate, but Romney has said repeatedly that he will not run.

Given the circumstances, Slate’s Jim Newell wrote last week, conservative pundits’ only intellectually honest option left in November may be to admit that “Hillary Clinton, despite all her flaws, is by a million degrees more qualified to serve as president than Donald Trump just on a simple get-us-through-the-day level.” For his part, though, Kristol doesn’t yet seem ready to give up the third-party dream.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.