The so-called establishment Republicans is desperate to stop Donald Trump from getting the party’s presidential nomination. In their minds his victory would be the end of their own little world of lobbying interests and the ‘good ol’ boy’ network of back-slaps, under-the-table compromises and secret deals.
At least that is one of the scenarios in election 2016. One way of stopping ‘The Donald’ has been the idea of a third party candidate if he wins the nomination. The maneuver was brought up again on Saturday in blurry remarks made by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, both rumored to be an anxious third wheel Republican candidate.
There are glaring setbacks to such an idea. First of all, it would take an all-out effort to actually get on states’ ballots, then persuade registered voters the candidate is legitimate and finally discard the party rules to retain members of the Electoral College. The reality of such a scenario is not that crazy.
Those in the anti-Trump movement know they must prevent the business mogul from receiving the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination. That is definitely the safest and less uproarious method. The consequence of such a move failing means Trump wins first ballot and the establishment exits with their political tails between their legs.
Furthermore, if there is hanky-panky denying Trump the nomination, he could very well go third-party himself and take his millions of primary voters and bid farewell to the GOP altogether. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a rabid opponent to Trump’s possible nomination, knows all too well of the political consequences if the New Yorker is pushed out.
The anti-Trump organizers also know if Trump wins, a big chunk of the Republican Party would be unwilling to back him. That would leave the third party dilemma of a “conventional Republican” candidate running. It would also give the presumed Democratic nominee (Clinton) a leg-up. The thinking of Trump’s critics is that if he does not get the nomination, his rejected supporters will still vote Republican over Hillary Clinton in a heartbeat.
Robert M. Alexander, an Ohio Northern University professor adds that the hope of establish Republicans is an historic fact that electors have been lobbied to change their votes in each election cycle since 2000. It is possible that a third party candidate could possibly gain enough elector’s votes to deny any candidate the 270 vote threshold.
Although it is rare for more than one elector to switch candidates, if enough Republican electors do not want Trump to win despite him winning the popular vote, they could side with the third party candidate. That would almost certainly lead to a messy Supreme Court decision.