Romney to the rescue?

Clarke Fox, Staff Writer

With each passing day that Donald Trump and Ben Carson loom atop the field of Republican presidential hopefuls, prominent figures within the Republican establishment grow more anxious. The panic stems from the perceived inability of either Trump or Carson to defeat expected Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the general election. Thanks to the powerful forces of presidential coattails in congressional elections, a loss in the presidential race could very well hand the Senate over to the Democrats. With so much on the line in 2016, Trump or Carson as the GOP nominee is understandably unnerving.

For months, political experts and insiders have predicted the fall of Trump, and the inevitability of an establishment candidate as standard-bearer. Still, none of his comments, no matter how morally reprehensible, ignorant, or bombastic, seem to dislodge him from his front-runner status. The same can be said of Carson. Both are impervious to the forces of political gravity. Apparently, Trump’s calling Mexican immigrants rapists and killers and questioning the heroism of John McCain, and Carson’s lying about getting offered a scholarship to West Point are grounds for polling surges in today’s political environment.

Power brokers within the GOP believe the time has come, with the Iowa caucuses less than three months away, for the Trump and Carson sagas to meet their rightful ends. Rumors are circulating that Republican elites plan to recruit a familiar face that they believe would be catalytic in the downfall of the Trump and Carson campaigns–that of 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney. While Romney has repeatedly expressed his unwillingness to throw his hat in the ring for the 2016 race, friends and Republican operatives close to the former Massachusetts governor are responding to the rumors with a Justin Bieber “never say never” frame of mind.

The twice-failed presidential candidate hasn’t disappeared from the national spotlight since the 2012 election. He played an instrumental role in convincing conservatives to support the removal of the Confederate flag in South Carolina following the tragic shooting in Charleston, and has written several op-eds criticizing President Barack Obama’s second term; most recently, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Romney wrote a piece detailing Obama’s failings in confronting ISIS and radical extremism. Though falling short in his bids for the presidency in 2008 and 2012, Romney still has political ambition. The question now becomes whether that ambition will manifest itself in one last-ditch attempt at the White House.

Faced with the looming nightmare of a Trump or Carson ticket, it is natural for the GOP puppeteers to search for saviors. Romney is not the answer. There is a reason why he lost in 2012. He struggled to communicate his policy positions, often speaking in broad generalities about his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. He also failed to convince middle and working-class Americans that a Wall Street fat cat would restructure the economy to work for their needs. Not to mention he frequently appeared out of touch–somehow, most of America couldn’t relate to his nine-figure bank statement.

Evidently, Trump doesn’t think Romney is the answer either.

“If you look at Romney, now Romney choked, OK? He choked like a dog,” Trump said in a recent interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Though I would advise Romney to stay out of the race, he could still have a powerful role in shaping the field. Because the Republican race is so volatile, an endorsement from the most recent Republican nominee could coalesce support around a more establishment-friendly candidate, like Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush. Since Trump and Carson can’t seem to self-destruct, a Romney endorsement might just be the golden ticket the GOP has been searching for.

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