I would love to say that I knew everything there was to know about David French before today. Like most, I had to Google him. I’ve read many of his articles in the past. In fact, in scanning his list of articles on National Review, I realized that I’d read the majority of them. He has a knack for catching the attention of Christian conservatives with his headlines.
While there is still an outside chance that Ted Cruz could get the GOP nomination through a very unlikely series of events, it’s important to start researching the notion of the backup plan – an independent conservative candidate – coming in and giving us an option for President that doesn’t include a New York liberal Democrat of which there are currently two. After my initial research, I’m leaning towards the notion that French is very similar to Cruz without having the baggage accumulated against him through Donald Trump’s Alinskyesque attacks.
We don’t usually focus on breaking news which is why it’s different for me to write about French without doing the full research. It took over four months of researching the original candidates before endorsing Cruz. This is different. I’m not posting this prematurely out of some need to get into the news cycle. I’m posting it because I’m excited. After my cursory examination of French and his chances as a candidate, I’m ready to say that I’m impressed with both his resume and ideas as well as Bill Kristol’s hand in this if it does come to pass. As of now, nothing is official, but the rumors seem awfully compelling. Unless Jim DeMint or Tom Coburn decided immediately to make another run for public office, I’m not sure there’s a better candidate than French, including my early backup plan favorite, Senator Ben Sasse.
Headlines are labeling French as a “conservative lawyer.” That’s like saying Trump is a “realtor.” The label greatly diminishes the breadth of understanding and accomplishments that French has on his resume. As a Harvard Law grad like Cruz, French has demonstrated an intimate understanding of the Constitution and a profound reverence for it as the source code of American governance. We can see this through his resume but more importantly we see it in his writing. Through one’s writing, we’re able to discern the depth of their understanding and French’s Constitutional well runs deep… just like Cruz.
What French doesn’t have is a list of enemies like Cruz. While fulfilling his promises to the people who elected him, Cruz built up a reputation of being unlikable. Then, Trump was able to spin the conversation after the Iowa-Carson dropout incident and labeled Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted.” The name stuck. Trump won that battle and eventually won that war.
With French, Trump will have a harder time attacking him. Don’t misunderstand – Trump will attack and his attacks will be vicious. He’ll find a label. He’ll rally his troops behind his attacks. If Mother Teresa were alive and opposed Trump, he’d find a way to badmouth her and his supporters would cheer. What we initially see in French is a Christian conservative patriot who hasn’t made enemies and who seems to have the right ideas behind which Republicans and Independents could rally. The only obvious choice for Trump to attack is by labeling his entry into the contest as a desperate attempt to thwart him. He may be right, but this isn’t just about thwarting Trump. Hillary Clinton needs an equal level of thwarting. Neither possesses the values we need today in the White House.
It’s important to remember that to win the Presidency, French does not have to beat Trump and Clinton. He simply needs to prevent them from breaking the 270 electoral college vote threshold. If he can win a handful of states that Republicans normally win and if Trump can win some states that Democrats normally win, it’s very possible for nobody to get to the 270 mark. If that happens, the House of Representatives will decide on the next President. I like French’s chances in that scenario.
We’ll be researching much more about French if an announcement comes about his candidacy. In the meantime, there’s no need to expend further energy on speculation.
If he throws his hat in the ring, the early research shows that he has the background and principles to make a serious run. We hope he does. He could be the only person who can stop one of the two liberal Democrat New Yorkers from sitting in the Oval Office.