Bill Kristol insists his independent, third-party candidate – for now possibly David French, a constitutional lawyer, decorated Iraq veteran, and a writer for the National Review – is in it to win. That is, by denying both Hillary and Trump the new magic number of 270 electoral votes, The House of Representatives will then decide the winner.

As Byron York’s analysis in the Washington Examiner of this fantastical option clearly shows, it can’t work. Even assuming that somehow a political unknown like David French can somehow grab say Utah’s handful of electoral votes, it still won’t work, given the House rules regarding how a presidential election is decided by the House.

This means that the true goal of a third-party conservative candidate is to deny Trump victory. With no hope of gaining a victory for the conservative candidate himself (or herself … you never know). Which means handing the 2016 presidential election to Hillary Clinton. It’s the only realistic outcome, out of all the improbable scenarios that any conservative third-party candidacy might proclaim. Just pick off a few percentages from Trump in a few key states, and he loses in a tight race with Clinton.

Kristol can’t and won’t say this. But what this means – assuming this is his real motive – is that Trump’s foreign policy risks deviating further from the neo-con ideal, that Kristol helped create in the political and intellectual world back a decade or two, than Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy would.

Hence the righteously angry denunciations and comparisons that ranged from Lindbergh’s America First speech right to Hitler himself. With stops along the way in Louisiana (Huey Long) and Italy (Mussollinig and why not: Berlusconi). And Argentina as well of course. Although Trumpista as a label seems to have lost out to Trumpkins. It all fits together, because if you believe that radical Islam and it’s terrorism-spewing, crazed insurgents are somehow fascists, then anyone in the White House who might distance America from Middle Eastern conflicts must be a fascist.

And even Trump has toughened his stance on ISIS, for example, perhaps in response. But Kristol and other neo-con’s cannot be sure of Trump’s foreign policy goals the way they can be sure of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy framework. Both because of Trump’s broad strokes and lack of detail. And because he’s still trying to work it all out with his advisors, obviously. But they know they will not be part of the decision making process under a Trump presidency.

Fascism was and is an evil and dangerous philosophy. But fascism fought it’s wars in fairly conventional ways. And lost them all – aside from Franco’s Civil War: and it can be argued that Franco used the Falange but was not shaped by them – in fairly conventional military defeats to Allied forces. Islamic terrorism is in fact closer to communist insurgency movements, and some have suggested that the Cold War is a better analogy. But even this analogy does not capture the fanaticism and suicidal bent, along with the brutal criminality, that is so particular to islamic terrorists. Perhaps Kampuchea/Cambodia does.

Clearly Middle Eastern policy is not working. Partly as a result of Obama’s refusal to call terrorism terrorism, and act on it. But also because of the fatal optimism that the region could somehow be democratized, like Eastern Europe, or like post-war Germany and Japan. It clearly can’t. And it’s time for Kristol to admit he may have been mistaken. And to let his third-party candidate scheme dissolve away over the next few weeks. A Hillary presidency is a bad way to prove a mistaken point.

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