The Defeat Of #NeverTrump

It's now or never for #NeverTrump. A contested Republican convention where the front-runner could lose the nomination is no longer in the cards. He's now the presumptive nominee, weeks sooner than most expected.

The focus has now shifted to a conservative or independent third-party candidacy. Supporters claim the campaign infrastructure and funding is in place. There's just one problem: As deadlines loom, no candidate has bitten.

Quite the opposite, in fact. Every time a name is floated in the press, the prospective candidate quickly says he is not interested. Mitt Romney, who has at times sounded like a candidate, has so far been willing to only help recruit one. Time is running out.

Every major Republican congressional leader except for House Speaker Paul Ryan has now endorsed Trump for president, and even Ryan has signaled his support is likely to come eventually. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has called the third-party project a "suicide mission."

"It's gotten to the point where it's just get on board or get out of the way," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told the Examiner. "Many of the people who missed the point on stopping Trump have also missed the point on the purpose of political parties. Political parties are not meant to be ideological vessels, but competing enterprises whose job is to win elections."

Their sincerity won't necessarily translate into results. "The biggest part of their problem remains the same," O'Connell said. "It was never the why, it was the who and the how."

Read more form W. James Antle III and Gabby Morongiello at The Washington Examiner

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Analysis & Political Strategy