This is definitely a long shot to ever happen, but if there was ever going to be conditions for someone like General Mattis to be elected President this is probably about as good as they will ever be:
General Mattis may be called back into action to serve his country — this time possibly assuming the role of Commander-in-Chief.
According to The Daily Beast, an anonymous collective of conservatives are in a position to persuade General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, the retired Marine Corps commander who has a reputation as a superb combat leader with excellent rapport with his men.
Considered a contingency action if Trump gets the nomination by the Republicans in Ohio,
Mattis could swing the vote and disrupt operations, even as a third-party candidate.
“Everyone is hoping that Ted Cruz pulls it out, but I think a great deal of Republicans would rally behind an American hero if the choice is between Mattis and Trump,” said John Noonan, a former Jeb Bush aide now involved in the project to draft Mattis.
“He’s a man of character and integrity. He’s given his life to his country. How do you ask someone like that to leap headfirst into this toxic mud-puddle of a race? It’s damn hard. But Trump is a fascist lunatic and Hillary has one foot in a jail cell. That means the lunatic can win. I’d be first in line to plead with the general to come save America,” Noonan added.
While a Mattis victory would not be an easy task, the primary strategy appears to be that of political insurgency — denying Clinton and Trump the 270 electoral votes needed to outright win a general election. On top of that, the benefactors of the Mattis camp would have to undertake the challenge of getting Mattis on the ballot in a large number of states. [USMC Life]
If he did try and third party candidacy could you imagine the awesome quotes he would give on the campaign trail. Here is just one from this article:
Mattis has gone on record in saying that he feels he could not endure the political correctness involved in being a Presidential candidate.
“I’ve lived a very colorful life and I’ve said some things,” Mattis told an audience last year. “But not once have I taken them back, and I’ve never apologized for them — and I won’t. I like the enemy knowing there are a few guys like me around.”
You can read much more on how the strategy to get him elected would work at the link.