Thursday, March 24, 2016


It no longer seems worthwhile to discuss the likely outcome of a three-way presidential race, what with polls showing that Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump by as much as 18 points and with Erick Erickson, who once seriously considered backing a third-party challenger to Trump, now arguing that a third-party challenge would be a terrible idea (from his perspective at least , because he hates Trump and doesn't want Trump's likely loss to be blamed on a supposed spoiler candidate, rather than on Trump himself).

But here's one thing I've wondered about for a while: Sure, it looks as if running a Republican establishment candidate third-party could have been a route to victory -- if that candidate could win one state and keep both of the other candidates from reaching 270 electoral votes, the election would go to the House of Representatives. Each state's House delegation would get one vote -- and since most House delegations are Republican, and Republicans in the House are presumably beholden to the party establishment, surely they'd vote for the establishment candidate running third party. Right?

Well, this BuzzFeed story, assuming it's accurate, confirms my doubts about that:
Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York said on Wednesday that many of his House colleagues are supporting Donald Trump “quietly”, but not publicly endorsing the GOP frontrunner.

“Many members are supporting Trump quietly,” Collins told New York radio host Bob Lonsberry. “They don’t like Ted Cruz at all, and for various reasons unique to their particular congressional districts they’re not formally endorsing Mr. Trump.”

Collins, who became the first member of Congress to endorse Trump in February, said he’d gotten “no negative feedback” from other Republican over his support for Trump....
Think you could run John Kasich, say, and then elect him president in the House if he wins only the state of Ohio, GOP establishment? Well, maybe not. Maybe a lot of House members really prefer Trump. And maybe a lot of House members would be afraid not to vote for Trump, out of fear of a primary challenge in the next election cycle.

I know I just got through telling you that the party will probably repair itself right after Trump is out of the picture -- but I'm not sure House members would believe that, if faced with the choice of voting against Trump in December.

It seems likely now that we won't face this situation -- but it's clear that it wouldn't be a slam dunk for the Republican establishment if it somehow happened.


CH said...

Ah, but... as is always dutifully chorused when yet another national poll shows Sanders beating Trump/Cruz by a wider margin than Clinton, "nationwide polls this early mean nothing". If that is indeed so, and for all I know it may be, then the cited Bloomberg poll showing Clinton "crushing" Trump means the same nothing, no? Or am I missing something (a not-unprecedented occurrence)?

Feud Turgidson said...

It's not REMOTELY A "slam dunk". It's not even a very sound Hail MNary.

In a Hail Mary, you're already lost by orthodox play - which isn't necessarily the case here - plus there's always next week or even next year. There's NO DOWN SIDE to a Hail Mary.

But there's tons of potential downside for the GOP here, right up and down their entire rationale for even existing.

Plus even ignoring the fact that the game's still afoot and the downside potential is disastrous, the odds against pulling this off are way worse than a Hail Mary. HRC or Benie could STILL get to 270, if states like Utah and Georgia resort to blue for just this election. Ohio is a problem, not necessarily any 'solution.

And then even the House, well - talk about your constitutional crisis. This would be likely taking Watergate, deep frying it in a tub of 2000 presidential election lard, and dousing the mess with Civil War sauce. It would be to risk the entire "full credit" status on which Hamilton designed the American banking system and economy and financial viability of the several states to function.

Unknown said...

In the unlikely event that the GOP establishment ever found the courage to declare open war on Trumpism, why would they not simply steal the nomination at the convention by rigging the rules committee? The Republican brand may have lost a lot of market value but it's still worth enough in ballot access alone that they wouldn't want to simply walk away from it.

It's true that there would be a riot outside the convention center and maybe even fisticuffs inside. But these aren't people who care much about public safety.

retiredeng said...

The House can't pass friggin' gas. How the hell are they going to pull off a contested election?

retiredeng said...

Oh, a contested RNC will be even more calamitous than a contested election in the constipated House.

Jim Snyder said...

I never understood this "scenario" ... and still don't.

Initially Ewick son of Ewick volunteered Rick Perry to be the Replicant Establishment savior... Perry would win Texas, thereby denying Hillary 270 EC votes, toss the election into the House ... which would then elect Perry with what, 40 EC votes? 50? vs. Hillary with 269 and Drumpf with 220.

There'd be blood in the streets and House GOP Congresscritters dangling from lampposts. (Of course Drumpf won't incite his followers to lynch them blah blah blah [yawns])

Oh, but wait! Texas isn't in the DemonCrapic column under any circumstances, so why does Perry winning Texas throw the election into the House?

This does not compute.

This confabulation further fell apart when Rick Perry advanced two steps to the rear, proving that he's smarter than Ewick son of Ewick.

OK, so now it's (say) Kasich running 3rd party and winning Ohio and no other state in the Union, tossing the election into the House which elects Kasich.

Same thing goes with "blood in the streets". Or at least a nationwide general strike like Belgium circa 1950.

But waitaminnit. Kasich is a very conservative Replicant. Is he really going to pull votes from the DemonCraps? It seems far more likely that he'd pull votes nationwide from Drumpf and turn a few purple states blue, so that in exchange for Ohio the DemonCraps win states they wouldn't win in a Drumpf on Hillary (ugh, I can't believe I said that!) face-off.

So that doesn't work either.

But now NoMoreMrNiceBlog sez that the House GOP would elect Drumpf, not Kasich.

My head just 'sploded. The same objections apply, but it's even more bizarro.

Think about it for a minute.

If Drumpf alone can't reach 270 EC votes, is it truly plausible that Drumpf + Kasich together can get at least 270 EC votes?

So if the Replicants have a losing hand with Drumpf, then they should run a *second* Replicant, because a DemonCrap will run weaker with two Replicants in the race than with one.

You could call this the Gillette Theory of Shaving EC Votes: the more Replicants running in the general, the weaker the DemonCrap will run.

I call shenanigans.

To second CH: "Or am I missing something (a not-unprecedented occurrence)?"

Rand Careaga said...

From Erickson's closing paragraph: "Robespierre was led to the gallows of his own making." Gallows? Gallows??

Ten Bears said...

More to the point, Rand, Marie Antoinette and her cohort had no idea what was coming.

Ten Bears said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rand Careaga said...

We can take it as a given that at the end Marie Antoinette had a pretty good idea that the rabble didn't plan to hang her. Erickson's grasp of history is about as keen as his understanding of politics.