Will Never Trump forces draft Romney to run?
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As the Republican National Convention comes closer like the Titanic heading toward an iceberg, and many Republicans are alarmed that Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE would make a disastrous president and is a potentially catastrophic nominee who could destroy the GOP House and Senate in November, might the Anybody But Trump movement make a last-ditch stand with an authentic movement to draft 2012 nominee Mitt Romney for president at the convention?


It could happen. Indeed, it would be the only way that the Dump Trumpers have any chance of preventing Trump's nomination at a convention that many corporate sponsors have withdrawn from supporting, and many of the nation's most leading Republicans will refuse to attend.

Romney is back in the news today, saying his family wanted him to run for president in an election that now poses great dangers for the GOP from top to bottom. Is he sending a signal to the Stop Trump movement that if drafted, he would run, and if elected, he would serve, in a reverse Sherman statement?

In this bizarre and unpredictable election year, anything is possible, especially with the GOP facing the imminent prospect of its convention nominating a candidate whom most top Republicans privately believe is manifestly unqualified to be president and would be profoundly dangerous to their party as a standard-bearer in November.

We have Trump University, the Trump Institute, Trump Steaks, Trump water, the Trump Tower, Trump neckties made in China and a Trump hotel in Washington, D.C. that will reportedly be soon embroiled in a lawsuit against the District of Columbia government. Do Republicans across the nation, running for office at all levels of government, want to be nationally branded as "Trump Republicans"? Do Republicans running for office at every level throughout America want to spend every day defending every crazy conspiracy theory Trump promotes and every crazy idea Trump blurts out?

There are two ways a last-ditch movement to draft Romney could play out. The first is a serious attempt to deny Trump the nomination on the floor of the Republican convention and draft Romney as the nominee. The second would be to draft Romney to run in key states in November against both Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote MORE in an attempt to throw the election to the House of Representatives by denying either candidate a majority of electoral votes, possibly using the convention as a launching pad.

The reason that 2016 has been such a disaster for the GOP establishment and the conservative movement is that they never had a credible candidate to unite behind to oppose Trump. They either had too many credible candidates who divided the center-right vote, or they were forced to rally around the widely despised Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzUp next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade MORE (Texas), who was never a plausible president or credible challenger to Trump.

Panic, fear and danger of disaster concentrate the mind. The coming prospect of the Republican Party crossing the point of no return by nominating Trump at the convention may — or may not — be enough to lead the Never Trump movement to stage a true, authentic move to draft Romney even without his authorization in advance.

Whatever his admirers or detractors say about him, Romney is a plausible president who is eminently qualified for the presidency. He has succeeded in business and government, and while he was defeated in 2012 when he ran with now-Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans RealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer MORE (Wis.) as his choice for vice president, he was a credible and serious candidate against Obama.

Compared to Trump, who is reviled by many key players in the conservative movement, Romney would be at least a minimally acceptable alternative to Trump.

Compared to Trump, who faces a severe financial disadvantage running against Clinton and who probably does not in fact possess the wealth to self-finance a campaign — as he claimed during the primaries — Romney would offer an alternative who would appeal to the huge and now dispirited GOP donor class and a long list of GOP candidates who will be on the ballot on November, whose fates will be tied to the fate of the nominee.

Compared to Trump, Romney would offer a home to many Republican or moderate conservative independent voters who might otherwise stay home or vote for Clinton.

Compared to Trump, Romney would not embarrass, humiliate or endanger GOP candidates who will otherwise spend the entire campaign denouncing or defending every nutty or despicable thing Trump will certain say on a regular basis.

I am not predicting that Romney announces his candidacy, which I think is unlikely. I am suggesting the possibility that the Never Trump movement begins a true and authentic movement to draft Romney as their candidate for president. A true draft movement is very rare in American politics because it begins with a movement believing the need for the candidate is so great that it moves to draft him or her before that candidacy exists, and before that candidate agrees to run.

A genuine draft movement for Romney is not likely, but a lot has happened this year that would never have been predicted before it happened. Anything is possible.

Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman said, "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve." Mitt Romney now says his family wanted him to run for president, which does not sound like a guy who would say "no" if a draft emerges and duty calls.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at brentbbi@webtv.net.