Rumors are starting to fly that Republican elites are considering adding Mitt Romney to the Republican primary in a last-minute attempt to destabilize the popularity of non-traditional candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson, The Washington Post reported. But this seems to be mostly rumor and speculation from his friends, since Romney himself has said he won’t run again and no one has gone on record yet with specific plans to draft him. What’s really going on?
Here’s what you need to know.
1. No One Has Gone on Record Yet Saying They Want to Draft Romney, And Romney Himself Has Said He Won’t Run
Some of Mitt Romney’s friends might be looking into a strategy for Romney having a late entry into the primary, The Washington Post reported. The plan would involve picking up delegate nominations and having the big fight in the convention. However, it’s important to note that no one has yet gone on record saying this is actually a plan. Even in the story breaking the news, no one was quoted with an actual plan to draft him. Everything at this point seems to just be speculation. And even if Romney’s friends may indeed want him to enter the race at the last minute, Romney has said in the past that he is not going to run in the 2016 election.
2. Some Big Conservative Donors Are Sitting Out and Waiting to Write Their Checks
Some of the panic comes from lack of action from big donors. Some of the bigger conservative donors, like Charles Koch, are waiting to get a better idea of who will come out on top before they write their checks. Of course, Trump has said that he won’t accept big donations, so if he comes out ahead in the end, these big ticket donors’ money may stay in their banks.
One donor who supported Chris Christie, Kenneth G. Langone, said many of his fellow investors are refusing to donate because the campaign is still so volatile, The Washington Post reported. Meanwhile, some conservatives are convinced that this outsider appeal won’t last. A presidential campaign adviser, Charlie Black, told The Washington Post that the typical pattern is an insider and an outsider battle it out in the primary and the insider ultimately wins.
3. Some Republican Elites Expressed Worry That Trump or Carson Can’t Win
Republican elites have expressed worry that the Republicans won’t be able to win if Trump or Carson gets the primary nomination, The Washington Post reported. However, some of the people quoted about Republican desperation are connected with competitors’ campaigns. An adviser for Romney’s 2012 campaign was quoted as saying that the field is “wishing on a star” that Trump and Carson will self destruct. An adviser for Jeb Bush said that the wrong candidate, like Trump, would cause losses in the Senate and House too. And a John Kasich backer said the top two have no governing experience and would be poor choices.
If there is panic, it’s because people want a change. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told The Washington Post: “What you’re seeing is that people are angry.”
4. Trump’s Candor and Desire to Remain an Outsider Are Part of His Appeal
Conservative voters are fed up with the status quo, The Washington Post reported, which is a big reason why so many are supporting Donald Trump. Trump doesn’t have to accept money from typical big donors because he’s already a multi-billionaire. In addition, he doesn’t fall into the trap of being politically correct like many politicians, and instead he openly speaks his mind. Although the specifics of what he says may not always be popular, many voters are drawn to the idea of a candidate who doesn’t play by the old-fashioned rules.
In a Reddit thread that questioned Trump’s appeal, one person said that Trump is charismatic and “wins at negotiating,” which are important for a President. In a different thread, an immigrant who voted Democrat in the last three presidential elections said he actually likes Trump’s immigration policy: “I find Trump’s policy on immigration to be very reasonable. It’s in fact the main reason I’m voting for him. The overwhelming majority of Americans are unsatisfied with the immigration policies of both Democrats and Republicans.”
And as one person so succinctly put it: “He’s the kind of rich bastard that buys out politicians, rather than being a bought-out politician.”
5. Ben Carson’s Outsider Status Has Played Into His Appeal Also
Ben Carson is also benefiting from his outsider status. For example, in one Reddit thread that discussed Carson’s appeal, one person said that Carson’s differences from other candidates are a big part of his appeal. He doesn’t bash other candidates, he’s soft-spoken rather than loud and boisterous, and he’s a self-made millionaire with a strong faith. He’s also demonstrated that he’s a skilled administrator and director by serving as the department head for the number one ranked hospital for neurosurgery. To many voters, those qualifications are now more appealing than being a lifetime politician.
A different article by The Washington Post included a quote from a Trump supporter that summed up his and Carson’s widespread appeal:
America doesn’t want a politician. We’re sick of career politicians.”