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Last week I wrote a piece exhorting David French not to mount an independent bid for president. He ultimately chose not to run, not because of my piece, which I doubt he ever saw, but for very good reasons of his own.
I have admired David French as a writer for some time and have read his columns regularly at National Review Online. Since learning more about him in the days after news broke of his potential run, I have grown to admire him all the more for the example and high bar he sets as a husband, father, and patriot. While he is in the #NeverTrump camp and I am in the #NeverHillary camp, I understand and respect the rationale behind his views and suspect he would reciprocate.
When French announced his decision not to run he revealed that members of his family were harassed and threatened by members of the pro-Trump camp, though it is unclear whether they were officially connected to the Trump campaign. His wife, Nancy French, wrote an article at Patheos detailing some of the despicable shots that members of the political media and their social media followers began taking at the French family after news broke that French was being recruited to run.
What was done to the Frenches was sickening and the people behind it should be ashamed. Alas, their lack of decency and decorum leads me to suspect they have no sense of shame.
The combined assault on French by the left-wing political media and Trump supporters (whether they had any official connection to the campaign or not) was disgusting and disturbing. Nancy French was exactly right when she said:
If you ever wonder how we ended up with such unlikeable candidates or why normal Americans won’t consider running for elected office, ask Politico.
My call for French not to run was from a #NeverHillary perspective. I did not see a path to victory for him and did not want him to be the spoiler candidate to ensure Hillary Clinton’s election in November. I do not want to be, and hope that my original piece was not, associated with the effort to harass, demonize, or in any way denigrate David French and his family.
For the most part I am glad French chose not to run, but after seeing the way he was treated when his name was floated, there is a part of me that wishes he would have. The telephone thugs and keyboard jockeys who harassed the Frenches are awful human beings who thrive on making other people miserable. They don’t deserve the satisfaction of his not running, even though his decision had nothing to do with them.
The best thing that seems to have come out of all of this is that French’s name and profile have been elevated, at least within the world of political writers and observers. Where all of this will lead is not knowable now, but perhaps it will lead to future opportunities for him to run for office. Mrs. French has well-articulated reasons why normal Americans won’t consider running for office. Perhaps when and if the time comes Mr. French will be reminded that, as the philosopher Edmund Burke is supposed to have said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.”