Will a Third Party Candidate Deny Both Trump and Clinton Needed 270 Electoral Votes?

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Will a Third Party Candidate Throw the Election into the House of Representatives?

A third party candidate might prevent both Trump and Clinton from getting the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the 2016 presidential election by winning only about six States. What third party candidate scenarios are possible? Why are people considering them? What’s likely to happen next in this historic, critical and often tumultuous 2016 presidential election? Let’s discuss these questions now …

Why Don’t All Establishment Republicans and Conservatives Support Trump?

Many establishment Republicans as well as conservative Republicans fall into the categories of #NeverTrump or #NotSureAboutTrump. Why? There are three main reasons:

  1. Some believe Trump is not a conservative and does not have conservative principles. As such, they are concerned he will not function as a conservative president. Instead, they think Trump is a closet liberal who will govern as a liberal, or progressive, or socialist much like like Clinton or Sanders might govern.
  2. Some believe Trump’s bombastic, insulting style of politics will turn off many voters, resulting in an easy win for Clinton.  These people cite recent polls as evidence for showing Trump has little chance of victory in November.
  3. Finally, some believe Trump doesn’t have the policy knowledge or demeanor required of a president.

All of these reasons lead many to seriously consider supporting a third party candidate.

What Third Party Candidate Scenarios are Possible?

  • Conservative Republicans Run an Ideologically Strong Conservative – Examples might include Cruz
  • Establishment Republicans Run an Establishment Republican – Examples might include Mitt Romney, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), Former U.S. Marine Corps General John Kelly, Former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC), etc.
  • Far Left Democrats/Socialists Run Bernie Sanders

How Would the Election Get Thrown into the House of Representatives?

It’s pretty easy to envision.  Instead of running a complete 50 State campaign as a third party candidate (and splitting the vote, and giving the election to Clinton), Republicans can simply campaign heavily in about 6 States attempting to win a plurality in each of those States.  They might hope to win with 38% of the vote to Trump and Clinton’s 36% each.

Example – Assume narrow victories by the third party candidate in California, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Ohio, and Colorado:

  • CA – 55
  • TX – 38
  • FL – 29
  • VA – 13
  • OH – 18
  • CO – 9

will give the third party candidate 162 electoral votes.  One possible scenario then gives Clinton 192 electoral votes and Trump 184 electoral votes.  Many other comparable scenarios exist, resulting in no candidate getting the needed 270 electoral votes.

How Does the House Select a President in Case No Candidate Gets 270 Electoral Votes?

Article 2 Section 1 of the Constitution, as amended by the 12th Amendment and the 20th Amendment, answer that question. The House votes by States with each State getting one vote for President and one vote for Vice President.

Plan D – A Surprise Strategy?

One other wrinkle in the election might be termed Plan D. Plan D would be for Cruz to resume his campaign (unsuspend it) without the presence of Kasich, giving Cruz the one-on-one campaign against Trump he has sought for months. Kasich would likely not reenter the campaign. Plan D would include trying to keep Trump from securing a first ballot nomination.  Trump still does not have 1,237 delegates.

For More Information on This Year’s Presidential Election plus Ten Surprising Predictions

Please read my new book Great News for America.  In it, I make ten surprising predictions that will probably come true before, during, and after the 2016 presidential election.  I also discuss in Chapters 5, 6 and 7 the political party realignments of the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and a possible new third party.  It’s available in a print edition from Amazon and other book sellers.  It’s also available on Kindle and other e-book devices.