A 'Mystery' Presidential Candidate Could Be Entering the 2016 Race

May 31st 2016

Aimee Kuvadia

In a last-ditch effort to derail Donald Trump as the Republican Party nominee, a conservative pundit says that the GOP establishment may introduce a "mystery" Independent candidate to run against him and Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol tweeted this on Sunday:

An independent run could potentially split GOP votes, increasing the likelihood of a Clinton victory and liberal nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, as Trump pointed out to Kristol in his follow-up tweets.

Kristol was traveling and didn't have a chance to react to Trump's name-calling until a day later.

And as of Tuesday morning, Kristol still wasn't done.

Kristol may have jumped the gun with his announcement.

An inside source who's been involved in the effort to recruit a candidate to run against Trump and Clinton told CBS News that it could be several weeks before the new nominee is introduced. The conservative pundit's tweets came on the heels of an Associated Press tally showing Trump with more than the 1,237 delegates required to secure the GOP nomination.

Although Independent candidates have never won a presidential election, they have managed to tilt them — take Green Party candidate Ralph Nader whose 2000 presidential run cost Democratic nominee Al Gore the race, or Independent candidate Ross Perot's run in 1992.

“A quarter of a century ago, another Clinton was running for the White House, and it was the entrance of a third-party candidate, Ross Perot, that made it possible for him to win,” Trump supporter and former presidential candidate Ben Carson told Fox News on Monday. “Wouldn’t it be ironic if the same thing happened this time?”

The 2016 presidential election has been full of historic firsts. Trump and Clinton, for instance, have the highest unfavorable ratings in presidential polling history.

A few names are floating around in regard to the elusive Independent candidate, according to CBS News, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and retired Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. Kristol reportedly tried to recruit former GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, an outspoken Trump critic, but an Independent run didn't appeal to him.

The only third-party candidate with the potential to steal votes from Clinton is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but he's made it clear that he doesn't intend to run. Someone who may be a hurdle, however, is the newly nominated Libertarian candidate New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, whose recent poll numbers reach near 10 percent in a hypothetical race against Trump and Clinton.

But people shouldn't jump with joy at the prospect of having an additional candidate in the race just yet; Kristol told The Washington Post a few months ago:

“My predictions are lighthearted. I try to predict long shots. I don’t take it very seriously.”