Things were looking so good for 2016. Obama is more unpopular than ever. Hillary’s involved in a scandal and her nearest rival is an admitted socialist. On the other side the GOP had a huge list to choose from, including several very strong conservatives, some young faces who could appeal to millennials, and several who could easily articulate conservatism in a debate with anyone. Into that rosy scenario entered an interloper, a man with as many left-wing positions as right, a man who’s supported more Democrats than Republicans, a man whose claim to fame is insulting and offending people. And for reasons that continue to confound true conservatives he’s managed to remain at the top of the pack by using fiery, explosive rhetoric. While some voices within the party are assuring us this is a mere fad that will fade out I’m not so sure. If the field remains crowded he can easily win numerous primaries with less than 30% of the GOP vote. And, astonishingly, many polls show him as the 2nd choice of quite a few, meaning that some drop-outs could actually pad his lead. He’s willing to spend his money to stay competitive. And possibly more than anything else he’s getting about 12 hours of free advertising every day if you listen to talk radio (I say this sadly, as a 25 year ditto-head and 10 year 24/7 member, but our side is being sorely misled for reasons that I don’t understand). I’m astounded at how many life-long conservatives are being maligned as RINO’s, moderates, or establishment types merely because they won’t fall into the Trump line. We’ve already lost two of our potentially strongest candidates to Trumpapalooza. I’m convinced either Walker or Perry could have won. If Trump becomes the nominee we’re looking at a 45 state loss to whoever the Dem is. Caustic rhetoric can get you the votes of an angry 30% of one party, but it can’t get you 50% of all voters. And I say this as someone who is also angry: at Obama, Democrat politicians in general and timid GOP leaders such as McConnell and the thankfully departed Boehner. But I’m also a pragmatist who’s willing to win little battles and hope for the big one (which I thought would be 2016). I don’t understand the logic that proven conservatives are to be punished for the actions of a few flawed leaders. I’m not willing to turn Washington back over to Reid (or Chuck Schumer!) and Pelosi, knowing that merely weakens people like Cruz, Sessions, and Gowdy. This all brings me to the point in my headline. I’m less a Republican than a conservative and I refuse to vote for a non-conservative. I’ve always opposed 3rd parties, knowing it typically gives victory to my least desired candidate. But if Trump becomes the nominee I’m convinced we’ll lose anyhow, so the risk seems worth it. The “lesser of two evils” argument is negated when I’m faced with two unacceptable evils. Additionally, in the highly unlikely event that Trump is elected President, he would so redefine the GOP that it would become unrecognizable. True conservatives need not apply. He would become so unpopular when he fails to deliver all of the things he’s promised “within 30 days of taking office” that the GOP could all but disappear for decades. Additionally, I believe that in a three-way race Trump would siphon a significant number of Democrats with his protectionist and populist rhetoric. If true conservatives stuck with a conservative candidate, there’s at least an outside chance of a win. So, unless things turn around quickly, I’m open to the third party option. The question becomes “who would run?” I don’t believe the other candidates for the nomination would bolt the party. They may not actively support Trump, but wouldn’t go independent either (similar to what happened when Goldwater was the nominee, although that’s a bad comparison, because in that case Goldwater was the conservative and his opponents were the RINO’s). Jindal has hinted that he might be open to it. Carson has called himself an independent in the past. Santorum would have nothing to lose, but I doubt he’d do it. Cruz is disgusted with his party, but it’s doubtful he’d do it (plus, shockingly he’s shown some openness to Trump). They would be the most likely of the field to consider it. Otherwise we’d have to look to some conservative who’s more attached to philosophy than party, Right now I don’t know who that would be, but I’m open to it and, if the current Trump boondoggle continues, someone needs to start organizing it—quickly!