15 People Who Would Have Been Better GOP Nominees Than Donald Trump | Gradient

15 people who would have been better GOP nominees than Donald Trump

Let’s not mince words here: things look bad for the GOP right now. With Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee, the Party of Lincoln chose a leader with no political experience, no principles to speak of, and hardly even the ability to hide his true lizard form.

Trump was hardly the best candidate in the field — heck, he wasn’t even the best candidate they could have recruited from reality TV. And regardless of what you think of the Republican Party, in a two-party system, America is better when we have a voice arguing for government restraint. So, as a public service, here’s a short list of the people we would rather have seen the GOP nominate:


Ben Sasse

We confess this guy wasn’t much more than a blip on our radar until he spoke out against Trump, but he’s got our attention now. He may have arrived in Washington thanks to the Tea Party surge, but he’s managed to stake out a position of thinking for himself without making an enemy every time he opens his mouth. Liberals find some of his positions pretty extreme, but if you’re looking for the mythical True Conservative™, you could do a lot worse.


Mitt Romney

Man, remember when this guy ran back in 2012? He was too centrist for conservatives, too conservative for centrists, too religious for secularists, too weird for religious people. What a difference a few years makes, huh? This guy is great!


Arnold Schwarzenegger

Yeah, yeah, we know he’s not technically eligible, but just pass a quick constitutional amendment, and our Last Action Hero will Terminate the Raw Deal we’ve all been getting, and we’ll, um, Jingle All the Way to prosperity, or…something. Look, we didn’t pay much attention to his tenure as a governor, but California still exists, unlike Trump Steaks, or Trump Airlines, or Trump Vodka, or Trump Mortgage, or Trump Magazine, or Trump University, or Trump: The Family Board Game. So.


Carly Fiorina

Just look at that face! It’s a pretty okay face! And okay, her business career was a pretty mediocre one, but we were actually pretty impressed with her campaign — she managed to respond to some pretty ugly attacks in a dignified and positive way. And whatever you may say about her face, at least it doesn’t look like a deflated, orange balloon.


Kelsey Grammer

Okay, so basically all we know about him is that he’s a Republican, and he’s Frasier Crane, and he’s Sideshow Bob. Trump is, at most, one of those things.

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Russell Moore

Maybe it’s time we looked beyond the Emperor to the man who’s not afraid to point out that he has no clothes. As president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Moore has earned his “Christian conservative” stripes — and yet, he’s not afraid to speak out on issues that conservative Christians ought to care more about than they do, like racial justice. We’re sure he’s not interested in the job, but it would be nice to have a conservative candidate in the race whose views aren’t built on a foundation of hatred and fear.

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Bill Pullman’s character in Independence Day

This guy’s a Republican, right? We mean, his iconic moment is one where he milks patriotic sentiment to prop up a military campaign, so…probably? If nationalism and attention-grabbing speeches are all it takes to be president, there’s at least one better option than Trump.


Condoleezza Rice

The former provost of Stanford. First black, female Secretary of State. Shared the stage with Yo-Yo Ma. Somehow remembers how to spell “Condoleezza.” Let’s see Trump do any of those things.


Rich Uncle Pennybags

You could argue that Mr. Monopoly here isn’t a real person and hasn’t made any money in the real estate business, but then, you could argue the same thing about Trump. And we seriously doubt Trump will be winning second prize in any beauty contests.

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The guy who greenlit ten different versions of CSI

We’re not even sure who that guy was, but he’s clearly had more success than a comb-over who’s declared bankruptcy no less than four separate times. We don’t actually like CSI, and we’ve never met anyone who does, but the same is true of Trump’s casinos, so there you go.


Richard Nixon’s head in a jar 

Sure, he’ll sell our children’s organs to zoos for meat, and he’ll go into people’s houses at night and wreck up the place, but at least he hasn’t openly expressed contempt for free speech.


A particularly good computer algorithm

We’re not programmers, but we’re pretty sure even we could come up with a decent one. Something like:

10 Don’t start any unnecessary wars.

20 Say “My fellow Americans” a lot.

30 Goto 10.


A million tiny ants collectively wearing a suit

Hear us out: we know there’s been some controversy with their proposal to launch a unilateral invasion of the city picnic grounds, but these little guys also have a lot of valuable things to say about teamwork and breadcrumbs. Plus, they tell it like it is.

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This half-eaten order of Chicken McNuggets

While this box of the inexplicable McDonald’s menu staple is less than an hour into its career, its accomplishments are already numerous. It’s brought joy to toddlers the world over, and its crispiness has stood up to an interminable onslaught of heat lamps and barbecue sauce. This is mechanically separated leadership material, and only a couple of those words describe Trump.


Literally just Bernie Sanders

We know, we know, he’s not a Principled Conservative™. But…at least he’s a principled something.