Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney could soon endorse Gary Johnson for president. Johnson is running for the Libertarian Party and has surged in recent polls. Romney has criticized GOP candidate Donald Trump. The former Massachusetts governor is popular among establishment Republicans.
Many Republican voters are already contemplating a vote for Johnson. He and his running mate William Weld are both former Republican governors and their platform embraces small government and personal freedom. Johnson is currently approaching the 15% threshold needed to participate in the presidential debates and win federal funding.
Romney is widely viewed as a moderate, a perception that hurt him among more conservative voters when he ran for president in 2012. His endorsement could push Johnson’s support to level he needs to compete in the upcoming debates. Johnson’s participation would be a spoiler for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Johnson can potentially take votes from moderates on both sides of the aisle.
There is growing unrest in the GOP about Trump’s candidacy. His campaign is reacting poorly to the criticism arising from his attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of a deceased US soldier. John McCain, another former GOP presidential candidate, harshly rebuked Trump for his comments.
A Mitt Romney endorsement could encourage wavering Republican voters to move away from Trump. Romney would also make a bold move in endorsing a third party candidate. Other GOP politicians opposed to Trump could follow suit, triggering a split in the party.
Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham would be obvious choices to follow Romney in repudiating Trump. Both former presidents Bush and former Florida governor Jeb Bush might also jump ship. Any major Republican politician who endorses another candidate will add to the crisis facing the Republican party.