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Third-Party Candidate's Win Would Be Tough This Late In The Election


Some Republicans have been talking for months about a potential independent candidate for president. Mike Bloomberg reportedly considered running. Others suggested Condoleezza Rice, retired Army General Stanley McChrystal or Mark Cuban, the billionaire sports mogul. Nothing developed. Now there is a name and possibly a candidate David French. Ed Morrissey, host of "The Ed Morrissey Show" on Hot Air and author of the book "Going Red," joins us now via Skype from Minnesota. Thanks very much for being with us.

ED MORRISSEY: It's a pleasure to be on. Thank you.

SIMON: David French has never run for office. He's a writer for National Review. He served with U.S. Army in Iraq - Harvard Law man, taught at Cornell. And I think he'd be the first bearded president since William Howard Taft. What else should we know about him?

MORRISSEY: First off, he's a very good man. I've had chance to talk with David French on a couple of occasions. Both he and his wife are active in the conservative movement and have done very good work in the conservative movement. But the point of running for president is probably a little beyond what David French has done in his life and especially coming this late in the cycle. I mean, it really is a spitballing type of exercise to toss David French's name out there. It's not somebody who has a large personal following. It's not somebody who's even known outside of intellectual conservative circles very much. And I think that this is basically a desperation move because nobody else is signing up for this project.

SIMON: May I ask - are you supporting anyone?

MORRISSEY: I'm actually still struggling with that question, Scott. You know, as a Republican, I'm almost always enthusiastic about the Republican nominee. And that's not the case this time around. I'm not Never Trump person. But I'm finding myself here, maybe for the first time since I started voting, wondering if I can actually cast a ballot for the Republican nominee. And so I'm kind of taking a wait-and-see - let's see how these things develop. And obviously, that's the direction in which I'd be leaning. But I just don't feel like I can say that I'm definitely going to pull the lever for Donald Trump in this cycle.

SIMON: I mean, I - we don't have time for me to ask you about every question that's been raised even in this week alone about Mr. Trump and his candidacy. But let me ask you about one point - suggesting that a judge would rule because of his ethnicity.

MORRISSEY: Horrible, absolutely horrible - and I mean morally horrible (laughter). And electorally, I think it's a disaster. I think the idea that a judge's ethnicity is the reason why he's ruling in a case about his Trump University fraud claims is laughably ridiculous on its face. And I think it demeans - I think it demeans Trump more than anything else. And I think it's a difficult, difficult, difficult thing to deal with when you're trying to figure out whether or not you want to cast a vote for somebody.

SIMON: Forgive me for putting this so colloquially. But if you're prepared to maybe hold your nose and vote for someone you consider morally reprehensible, the Republican nominee, why aren't you prepared to hold your nose and vote for a Democratic nominee?

MORRISSEY: Because I think she's morally reprehensible as well. And so when you look at it, you say - what is it that's going to advance the policies and the values best that I care about? If you have a Republican in the White House, even if it's somebody you that you don't like very much and you think has a lot of personal issues, at least you have the opportunity to advance things either with that person's help or at least without his absolute opposition to those things, whereas I think if we have four years of Hillary Clinton, we're going to lose so much ground that it may be difficult to make back up.

SIMON: Ed Morrisey - he's host of "The Ed Morrissey Show" on Hot Air and author of the book "Going Red." Thanks so much for being with us.

MORRISSEY: Thank you very much for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.