Expert: #NeverTrump third party candidate would be 'sacrificial lamb'

Stephanie Martin, assistant professor of Communication Studies at SMU, talks about the likelihood of a third party candidate in the race for the presidency and the feud going on between Republican Donald Trump and Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard.

By Stephen Loiaconi

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — Donald Trump's feud with conservative commentator Bill Kristol continued Tuesday with the presumptive GOP nominee mocking Kristol's ongoing quest for an independent candidate at a press conference and Kristol firing back on Twitter.

"The guy is not a smart person," Trump said, claiming that Kristol's past predictions about the race have all been wrong.

In response, Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, tweeted, "I've won some and I've lost some, but one thing I've always tried not to be is a roaring jackass." . . . 

Experts are skeptical that an independent candidate would draw anywhere near this level of support from voters in November.

"What they're actually communicating is their dissatisfaction with the two choices in front of them," said Stephanie Martin, an assistant professor of communication studies at Southern Methodist University. Even in an election year filled with improbable events, for an independent candidate to actually win the general election "reaches beyond what anything would ever tell us is possible."

Martin compared the poll results to asking someone today if they want to start a diet in July. It may seem like a good idea now, but many will change their minds when it comes time actually do it. . . 

Martin said none of the names floating around have the charisma that would likely be necessary to make a third party campaign succeed.

"You would be looking for someone that felt exciting," she said, someone who gives voters a sense of "you're the person I've been waiting for."

Romney failed to generate that kind of enthusiasm among conservatives in 2012 when he was the nominee.

Martin wondered why people like Kristol are not lining up behind Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, whose party has already demonstrated an ability to get on the ballot. Johnson shares their conservative views on fiscal policy, even if he is more liberal on social issues.

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