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RUSH: Here’s Denise in Seattle as we head back to the phones on Open Line Friday. Welcome, and great to have you here.

CALLER: Good morning. Thank you. As you mentioned, I’m from Seattle, and I’m a Republican in Seattle, and I had a question for you. I’m hoping that you could clarify a point that you made a couple days ago where you said that the Republicans were going to attempt to put a third choice out there for the 2020 elections and thereby split the Republican vote and potentially put a Democrat in office. I am extremely concerned about this thought, because if those Republicans could see what’s happening in Seattle because of Democratic policies, I would beg them not to do this, because any Republican —

RUSH: Sad to say… Sad to say, the Republicans are not blind. They know what Democrat policies do, and they know what liberal policies do. They can see it. Seattle’s not the only place. You’ve got any number of cities that have been run for the longest time unchecked by liberalism or disasters. It’s dirty water, poisonous water, you name it. Homelessness out the wazoo. That’s not the point. The point is, these people hate Donald Trump.

Doesn’t matter. Hillary Clinton would be preferable, to them, to Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders, anybody. They hate Donald Trump. It’s all and only about that. Now, there are two competing stratagems here. One of the stratagems was put forth by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, and his idea to get rid of Trump — ’cause the Democrats can’t do it without help — is the Republicans have to nominate somebody that’s to the right of Trump, and he doesn’t have to get on every state ballot.

They would like him to be, but just get on some state ballots where Trump won closely, narrowly in 2016, and split the Republican vote. Friedman’s belief is that if you put somebody further to the right… Since Friedman thinks that all conservatives are neo-Nazi, right-wing, gun-toting, no-two-front-teeth hayseeds that drive pickup trucks, he thinks that if you put somebody that appeals to those people on the ballot against Trump that they’ll all vote for whoever’s to the right of Trump because conservatives are nuts.

The other version of this is people who realize that Friedman doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Nominating somebody to the right of Trump is not gonna split the Trump vote as much as nominating somebody to the left of him would. The Never Trumpers in the Republican Party, which… Do I need to name names? Do you know who I’m talking about? The Mitt Romneys. The McCains.

These people want a moderate Republican like them on the ballot. They believe that there’s 7 to 10% of the Republican Party that hates Trump and that if you give them a moderate, Washington establishment-type Republicans, they will break away from Trump and vote for that person and thereby dilute Trump’s support. So those are the two competing ideas. I don’t know that anybody’s trying to implement Friedman’s.

But the Republican Never Trumpers are thinking about implementing theirs. I don’t know whether they’ll be able to pull it off. They’ve gotta find somebody who can go through the rigors of getting on the ballot and in the debate. You can’t just say, “I want to run for president,” and be on the ballot. There’s certain things you have to do to gain your position on the ballot. One of them is including beating Trump.

Now, these people would not be Republicans on the ballot. They’d be independents, ’cause nobody but Trump is gonna get the Republican nomination. So it would have to be third-party option, but it would be a moderate Republican. Remember, the idea is to have the Democrats win. The bottom line for this strategy is the Democrats win the presidency in 2020. That’s what these Republican Never Trumpers’ objective is.

CALLER: And that’s very concerning.


CALLER: (laughing)

RUSH: No kidding.

CALLER: That’s beyond concerning, and I’m not even sure what to say on that point.

RUSH: I don’t know that it’s gonna happen. Look, it’s not as easy as it sounds, and these people are not nearly as loved and popular as they think they are. I’m just telling you what some of the thinking is now. Remember, since election night 2016, there have been people plotting how to get rid of Donald Trump, and many of the things we’ve seen tried — such as the FBI, the sting, the Russian collusion, the Mueller report. I’m just telling you: This is another one that people have in the hopper that they’re thinking about. The fact that it may not happen, you have to consider.

Just a strategy. Just a desire, just a dream, just a hope right now.


RUSH: James, Staten Island in New York. Great to have you with us on Open Line Friday. How you doing, sir?

CALLER: Hi, Rush. I’m a longtime listener, and it’s an honor to speak with you today. I’m calling in regards to the topic of Republicans trying to split the vote by running a milquetoast Republican as a third-party choice.

RUSH: Right. Right. The Never Trumpers and the New York Times trying to do that, yeah.

CALLER: Yes. Yes. I think a lot of the Never Trump votes were accounted for in 2016 when they voted for Hillary, they voted for Dan Johnson, they voted for Evan McMullin. And I think that if they try that again in 2020, it would only hurt the Dems. Those votes would be taken from the Dems and, you know, it would be like a honeypot for Never Trumpers.

RUSH: An interesting theory. So you believe the Never Trump vote has already abandoned Trump and he still got elected, so it won’t be any big deal if they abandon Trump again because abandoning him in 2016 didn’t hurt him.

CALLER: Right. Because I feel like if you hated Trump, you either continue to hate him or you’ve warmed up to him, but I don’t think people are leaving Trump. I don’t think people who voted for Trump all of a sudden hate him now and will vote for a Democrat, will vote for somebody like a Bill Weld.

RUSH: Oh, exactly. Trump hasn’t lost his base. He hasn’t lost his base yet. There’s no way. And Bill Weld would not — that’s a good name ’cause he’s floating the idea of doing this, Bill Weld is. And he wouldn’t have a prayer of doing any damage to Trump in states Trump needs to win. But, you know, your theory makes lot of sense because, look, a lot of Never Trumpers back in 2016 made a very public statement they were voting for Hillary.

They wanted applause. They wanted to be patted on the back. They wanted to be praised for their patriotism and their sophistication. And they announced they were gonna vote for Hillary, they were urging other people to vote for Hillary. And you’re right. It did not hurt Trump.

So in effect the Never Trumper vote, abandoning Trump has already happened once. It didn’t stop Thomas “Loopy” Friedman from coming up with the idea. Now, remember, Friedman’s idea is to go get somebody further to the right from Trump. On what? How do you get further right of Trump on pro-life? How do you get further right of Trump on immigration? How do you do that?

Well, you could say, “Trump hasn’t closed the border. I will. Trump hasn’t shut down illegal immigration. I will.” It’s about all you could do. But the people that are devoted to Trump are still devoted and they’re still connected. And Trump has not done anything to dampen that connection.

There’s another part of this theory, by the way, that everybody’s just assuming. And that is that the Democrat candidate’s gonna get the same number of votes as last time, and so if these Republican retreads could make the difference, there’s a lot being taken for granted in that scenario. Let’s say Biden gets the nomination. And it looks like he’s got a 30-point lead over Bernie in New Hampshire now.

Even Trump is tweeting that the Democrat primary race may be over. Okay. So let’s say Biden’s the nominee and let’s say that Trump succeeds, you know what the perfect Trump campaign would be against Biden? Just pretend that he’s Hillary and run the same campaign, because it’s exactly what he would be. Same campaign. The difference is the Bernie voters. Do you realize how ticked they’re gonna be if Bernie — now, there are gonna be some of them remaining.

Do you realize Biden coming in, Obama’s veep, you think any of them are gonna think, “Wait a second. My guy was up 30 points for all these months and then this Plugs guy gets in and all of a sudden my guy has lost it?” How many Bernie people are not going to think there’s something crazy going on here, something funny?

The point is a lot of Bernie voters are saying that if Bernie doesn’t get the nomination they’re gonna be so mad this time they’re gonna vote for Trump. Does anybody think that the way the Democrats are conducting themselves every day is helping them build a gigantic majority of voters? I don’t see it that way. The Democrat Party doesn’t come off as reasonable about anything. They come across as a bunch of spoiled brats. They’ve got no policy to talk about.

They can’t give up this Trump stole the election colluding with Russia, there isn’t any evidence for it. They’re wearing people out on this. A lot of assumptions people are making that the turnout’s gonna be the same and that the apportion of voting is gonna be the same. The difference would be a bunch of Republicans leaving Trump? Let ’em think it. I mean, let ’em think it. But I think they’re misjudging the entirety of the electorate and the circumstances on the ground.

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