During Donald Trump’s ascendency in the Republican Party, conservative pundits like William Kristol and Ross Douthat engaged in a sort of fan fiction, imagining that Mitt Romney would rescue the GOP by entering the race or enlisting a likeminded candidate.
“He came pretty close to being elected president, so I thought he may consider doing it, especially since he has been very forthright in explaining why Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should not be president of the United States,” Kristol told The Washington Post after courting Romney in a May 2016 meeting. And if not? “Obviously, if there were to be an independent candidacy, Romney’s support would be very important.”
Romney passed on challenging Trump for president, but did try to recruit someone who would. When that effort soon