Let’s be clear about our nation’s plight: At this moment, American voters face a choice between two historically corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent politicians.
One of them helped create the most dangerous foreign-policy environment since the Cold War, a world in which our nation faces the largest and most savage jihadist fighting force in modern times, a re-arming and potentially nuclear Iran, and the re-emergence of threats from Russia and China. The other would respond to that crisis with a collection of announced policies that range from the insane (intentionally killing women and children to punish terrorists, sending Exxon to pacify the Middle East, blocking even our Kurdish allies from entering the United States) to the reckless (ending the NATO alliance that has been the foundation of Western security for nearly 70 years).
One of them promises an economic policy worse than the status quo: raising taxes, increasing government spending, and pushing the same tired progressive agenda that has helped stagnate middle-class wages and dramatically expand dependence on government. The other casually proposes economic changes that could plunge the nation into yet another deep recession, threatening destructive trade wars, questioning the full faith and credit of the United States, and outlining a tax plan that could add as much as $10 trillion to the national debt.
Both candidates have promised a form of amnesty, the Democrat pledging to expand Obama’s lawless executive actions while the “Republican” promises a form of touchback amnesty that would ultimately legalize millions of illegal immigrants.
Both are walking impeachment risks who would bring horror shows of unending scandal and shame to the Oval Office.
The American people need the chance to make a better choice. Given the stakes of the election, to simply leave the race to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is to guarantee a terrible presidency marked by incompetence and cronyism. There is just one hope — however slim — of avoiding this national disaster: America needs a third option.
And at this point, Mitt Romney is the only man who combines the integrity, financial resources, name recognition, and broad public support to make a realistic independent run at the presidency. He’s conservative, he’s got an enviable record in business and government, and he’s demonstrated a unique capacity for turning around failing enterprises. Oh, and there’s one other thing:.
#share#In 2012, Obama mocked him for declaring that Russia was America’s principal geopolitical foe. Romney was right. Well before the rise of ISIS, even as the Obama administration was trumpeting Iraq as a success story and wrapping its arms around the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Romney predicted that Obama’s policies would lead to escalating violence and chaos in the Middle East. He was right.
Romney predicted a continued middle-class squeeze. He was right. He predicted an “almost $20 trillion” deficit. He was right. And while none other than Donald Trump was mocking him for being too harsh on immigration, he was right.
I understand why Mitt wouldn’t want to run. He’s lost twice, running for president is grueling at best, and the vitriol of 2016 makes 2012 look like a gentlemen’s debating club. He would be savaged and vilified by the progressive left and by Trump’s ragged coalition of working-class white voters and Vichy Republicans. He’d be blamed for hurting Trump if Clinton won. For Mitt Romney, there is little upside.
For the nation, however, there is little downside. If either Trump or Clinton win, America loses. A third-party Romney bid would introduce the chance of a different outcome, giving millions of Americans the important option to choose a man of integrity as their president. It’s not just politically important that voters have at least one honest choice, and that parents can tell their children that they stood against the debasement of American politics and the bankruptcy of our national character; it’s culturally critical.
#related#I’m the first to admit bias. I know the Romneys, and my wife and I worked tirelessly to assist Mitt’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012, even forming a group called “Evangelicals for Mitt” to convince fellow Evangelicals that a Mormon was the right choice for the White House. But to know the man is to understand his deep sense of patriotism and lack of regard for his own personal interests. I appeal to that sense of patriotism now. Yes, I know he has much to lose. The country, however, has much to gain.
For millions of Americans, the race for the White House is a choice between the two most-disliked, least-honest politicians in the United States. But there’s still time for a better option. No one else is stepping up to risk his political future, Mitt. The country you love needs you now more than ever.
— David French is an attorney, and a staff writer at National Review.