"The Reform party has been this collection of people who are mad at the other parties for different reasons," says TIME Washington correspondent Karen Tumulty. Now they’re having to choose whether to tint their anti-politics-as-usual credo with a conservative or a libertarian tinge: Trump is a fiscally conservative, socially liberal, pro-choice, free-trader property baron who's, uh, lived a little; Buchanan is a blue-collar-populist, isolationist hero of the Christian right.
Each of the major parties has an interest in the Reform party race. "The polls show that a Buchanan candidacy will hurt George. W. Bush more than the Democrats," says Tumulty, by challenging the GOP’s hold on the allegiance of the activist Christian right. While it won’t spur any heartland GOP mutiny, a Reform campaign by former Republican Trump "will hurt the Democrats, according the polls," says Tumulty. "While Buchanan has some appeal among the Democrats trade union base, that would be canceled out by the damage he’d do to Bush." In other words, like the rest of us, the big parties may find the Reform party nomination race a lot more interesting than their own.