- - Monday, June 13, 2016

On May 3, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz unexpectedly suspended his campaign for president and the Republican presidential primary season effectively ended. But something unusual happened on the way to Donald Trump’s coronation.

It is called #NEVERTRUMP.

Political campaigns are bloody affairs. To quote the 1980’s movie “Highlander,” “In the end, there can be only one.” Every campaign, save one, loses the primary. Once the primary is over, the losing candidates and their campaign staff either are absorbed into the winning candidate’s campaign or quietly go away.

Not this year.

Instead of the opposition to a nominee quietly fading away or joining the winning team, there is a loud and growing insurrection in the Republican Party called #NEVERTRUMP.

The #NEVERTRUMP movement is a coalition of parts of the Republican Party that realize Donald Trump is more than simply a disaster for the Republican Party. He is a disaster for America. He is an individual singularly unfit to sit in the Oval Office. He is every bit as bad as one-time friend Hillary Clinton.

The #NEVETRUMP movement brings in people such as conservatives Erick Erickson and Mark Levin. It brings in liberals like Mitt Romney and Establishment flacks such as Bill Kristol. Over the Memorial Day weekend, Mr. Kristol announced there would be an incredible, well-financed #NEVERTRUMP candidate. That candidate turned out to be Tennessee attorney and National Review writer David French. Most people said, “Who?” Mr. French had the good sense to decline the invitation to become a sacrificial lamb.

But now, a month out from the Republican Convention, the #NEVERTRUMP now has to stand up and act. Opposing Mr. Trump at this point simply is not enough. Now the #NEVERTRUMP movement must pick a candidate and support them against Mr. Trump at the Republican Convention in Cleveland.

Mr. Cruz is the obvious choice. He still retains tremendous popularity with the conservative base. He also put together the best campaign in the primary season.

But would he?

Mr. Cruz is holding his cards close to his vest, like a good player in a game of Texas hold ‘em poker. But he still has his problems with the Establishment wing of the Republican Party. Another name that has been floated in the last few days has been that of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Walker has been a popular governor in Wisconsin and is a candidate who could be acceptable to both the conservative wing and the establishment wing.

Whether it is Mr. Walker, Mr. Cruz or someone else, the #NEVERTRUMP movement is at an important crossroads. Mr. Trump is doing his best to self-destruct. Four in 10 Republicans want to see Mr. Trump replaced at the convention with a nominee who will not destroy the party, cost the Republicans the Senate and has a chance of winning in the fall.

For the #NEVERTRUMP movement, the time has come to choose a champion. If #NEVERTRUMP is only about opposing Donald Trump, it is doomed to fail. #NEVERTRUMP must name an alternative to Donald Trump and must do so soon.

For #NEVERTRUMP, it really is now or never.

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