OPINION

Rick Sanchez: GOP needs a third-party candidate in order to win in November

CARMEL, IN - MAY 02:  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts on May 2, 2016 in Carmel, Indiana. Trump continues to campaign leading up to the Indiana primary on May 3.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

CARMEL, IN - MAY 02: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts on May 2, 2016 in Carmel, Indiana. Trump continues to campaign leading up to the Indiana primary on May 3. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)  (2016 Getty Images)

OK, they couldn’t stop him but maybe they can at least limit the damage. Not talking about a pre convention play here. No, as I wrote in my column last week, this thing is over and Trump’s won it.  

What I’m referring to is saving face. The GOP with Trump at the top of the ticket will lose the general election, thereby handing ex-senator, ex-secretary of state and ex-first lady Hillary Clinton the keys to the Oval Office.

It’s about brand association and messaging. Would you want to sell a product using a spokesperson that almost half the population finds offensive? The Republican Party would be ill- advised to send that type of message to non-white and Latino voters, but that’s exactly what it’s doing.

- Rick Sanchez

But the Oval Office is not the only thing Republicans stand to lose. Also at stake is the party’s standing with almost half the U.S. population — Latinos, women, African-Americans, Muslims, Asians and the disabled have all been deeply offended by Trump at some point and will hold the GOP responsible for nominating him for decades to come. 

That’s more damage than the GOP brand can withstand. 

Can the GOP mitigate the damage? Yes, if it runs a third-party conservative candidate against both Clinton and Trump. Why? First of all, because it's the only way to compete to keep the House and Senate. Trump's coattails will clearly not be long enough to help down-ballot candidates. A third-party conservative candidate could potentially draw in Republican voters disillusioned by having Trump on top of the ticket, thereby giving a much-needed boost to down-ballot candidates.

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So here’s the deal: By running a "real" conservative, Republicans get to draw from two potential pools for down-ballot voters. They hit Trump voters and give themselves a chance to compete for non-Trump voters as well, rather than gifting them to Clinton. 

A non offensive, inclusive and independent conservative running as a third-party candidate will assure a Clinton victory, but chances are she’s going to win anyway based solely on demographic math. A third-party candidate helps Republicans cut their losses by holding on to the House and Senate, while writing off the White House.

But that’s not the only reason the GOP should act now to stop Trump, the most offensive candidate they’ve ever nominated. The other reason has to do with the party’s long-term viability, if not salvation. For decades to come, America is going to become more Asian, more African-American and most of all, much, much more Latino. The numbers are staggering, that’s simply a fact. And 78 percent of that growth, according to the Pew Hispanic Research Center, will come not from immigration — but rather from U.S. born Hispanic-Americans who can and will vote. 

It’s about brand association and messaging. Would you want to sell a product using a spokesperson that almost half the population finds offensive? The Republican Party would be ill- advised to send that type of message to non-white and Latino voters, but that’s exactly what it’s doing. It is essentially resting its brand identity for decades in the hands of Donald Trump, a brand that has offended and insulted millions upon millions of Americans. 

There’s a life lesson we all learn as children from our parents that reminds us to be careful whom we associate with. One of its many derivations goes something like this: “Tell me who you hang around with and I’ll tell you who you are."

Ironically, that expression is attributed to a well-known 16th century writer who happened to be Hispanic. His name is Miguel de Cervantes and what he wrote was “tell me thy company, and I’ll tell thee what thou art.”  

It’s good advise from Cervantes who would likely frame it a bit differently today when it comes to the Grand Ol’ Party: “Tell me who thy nominate, and I’ll tell thee who thou art.”   

Rick Sanchez is a contributor for Fox News Latino.

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