By STU BURGUIERE
Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. I can’t vote for either of them.
There is still a narrow path to a better option. It is time sensitive and difficult. But, it’s also doable.
We run an independent/third party conservative candidate —but in a different way than anyone is expecting. We need a massive election bailout, and this 0ur last chance. We need the Delorean to hit the wire while going exactly 88 miles per hour, just as lightning strikes the clock tower. But, as Doc and Marty proved…we can do it.
Running an independent/third party conservative presents several hurdles:
- Getting on 50 ballots (or close to 50) costs way too much money.
- It’s way too late to get on all of those ballots anyway.
- Even if you did get on all of those ballots, you’d never get to 270 electoral votes.
- It will only help Hillary. In a state like Florida, every vote for the conservative will take one away from Trump and hand the state and the White House to Hillary.
- For all of these reasons, no better option is going to want to run.
How do you solve these issues?
First, don’t try to get to 270 electoral votes. If no candidate gets to 270, then the Constitution dictates that the incoming House of Representatives would vote for President. Each state delegation would get one vote. The good news? Republicans currently hold over 30 of the state delegations, and therefore would select the next President from the top three candidates with electoral votes. You must have at least one electoral vote to be considered.
There are plenty of logistical problems with this, which we can address in a moment. But, let’s address the most pressing first. How does this NOT help Hillary Clinton?
The answer: You have to be very selective. Don’t try to get on the ballots of 50 states, or even 25. The goal is to get on the ballot of a few deep red states that Hillary Clinton has no chance of winning anyway. Essentially, you hurt Trump without helping Hillary.
Again: we never take one vote from Donald Trump in a state that Hillary Clinton can win.
Here are the scenarios that could happen:
- If Hillary gets 270, she’s the President. But she wins entirely with electoral votes from states in which our conservative third party candidate is not on the ballot. In other words, we had nothing to do with her victory.
- If Trump wins in a convincing way, he’s the President. Even if he loses a few of our small deep red states, he’ll still have more than enough to get 270 electoral votes if he can pull off a decent amount of the purple states where he goes head to head with Hillary.
- If Trump wins in a squeaker and would have just cleared 270 electoral votes, our candidate would grab enough electoral votes to throw it to the House. Then the Constitutional magic happens.
So, let’s pick our states.
Criteria #1: Deep red states only.
For our purposes, we will eliminate every state that is blue and purple. We also will take out any state that is slightly leaning red. Keep only states that went to Republicans by double digits in 2012.
This leaves us with 20 states.
Criteria #2: States that didn’t want Trump.
We now eliminate every state that solidly voted for Trump in the primaries. We lose 12 more states, leaving us with eight states.
Criteria #3: States with reasonable ballot access deadlines.
It’s obviously late in the game, so none of these deadlines allow for lengthy vacations. But, we eliminate all deadlines that come before mid-August. This eliminates five more states, leaving us with three.
Criteria #4: States with reasonable signature requirements.
I made an admittedly arbitrary line at 10,000 signatures. That’s going to be much harder in some of these states than others due to a percentage of population?—?but with the right focus it’s possible. All three remaining states clear this barrier.
So, here are our top three targets.
Romney won Utah by 48 points in 2012. Cruz beat Trump by 55 points in the primary. It’s a special circumstance for our little exercise. Trump might actually lose Utah to Clinton if someone they like better isn’t on the ballot. Utah only requires 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot by August 15th. Totally doable. Even if this is the only state to do this, it would still be worth it. Utah has six electoral votes.
Romney won Idaho by 32 points in 2012. Cruz then beat Trump by 17 points in the primary. Idaho requires only 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot by August 24th. Idaho has four electoral votes.
Romney won Wyoming by 41 points in 2012. Cruz then won the primary, the official results being Cruz 71, Trump 7. Wyoming requires roughly 3,300 signatures by August 30th. Wyoming has three electoral votes.
All three of these states are fertile ground for a non-Trump candidate. There is plenty of wiggle room to insert a third party candidate without allowing Hillary to win.
This is the starting point. 13 total electoral votes.
Now, let’s add on a few other possibilities to consider that we eliminated for borderline reasons.
#4. North Dakota.
Won by Romney by 20 points. Needs 4,000 signatures by September 5th. I didn’t include them because they didn’t hold a traditional primary, but it seems to be fertile Cruz ground if they had. North Dakota has three electoral votes.
Won by Romney by 14. Needs 5,000 signatures by August 17th. That’s pretty tight. This was actually a blow out win for Trump but it happened after Cruz and everyone else dropped out. He essentially ran unopposed, however it’s an area that treated Cruz pretty well. Montana has three electoral votes.
Romney won by 17. Trump won the state, but only by three points with 41% of the vote. It’s the sort of state that a less Trumpey candidate might be able to pull a lot of independents and maybe democrats that don’t want Trump. Louisiana requires 5,000 signatures by August 19th. Louisiana has -eight electoral votes.
Romney won by 23. Trump won the state, but only by four points, with 36% of the vote. It’s feels a bit too purple for this, but it was an easy win for Romney. Requires 5,000 signatures by September 9th. Kentucky has eight electoral votes.
That gives us between 13 and 35 electoral votes.
If Trump loses one of these states to Clinton he won’t win the White House anyway. If a third party candidate can win some or all of these states, he essentially lifts the bar for Trump to win above 270, to as theoretically high as 305, without helping Hillary Clinton.
Now, all we need is a candidate. If you think this has been a hard exercise so far, it’s about to get worse. This is where it gets really messy.
- You need someone who is not supporting Trump. Obviously.
- You need someone who is not a slave to the party. Obviously.
- You need someone who has an easy enough path to win these states and won’t need the help of conventional money and party resources. Perhaps someone self-funding? Or someone with an unfair advantage via identity politics or home state?
- You need someone who will actually do it. Going to be really hard.
- You need someone that doesn’t care about his future in Republican circles.
- And perhaps, most difficult, you need someone who is very well liked by the incoming members of the House of Representatives.
Number six is perhaps the most difficult to deal with. Yes, the House is more conservative than the Senate. But, if this all works out, you’re going to have a situation where the House has Hillary at ~260, Trump at ~260, and Candidate X at ~20. The House will have tons of pressure to hand the election to Trump based on the idea that it’s the will of the people.
Now, that’s not technically true, considering the country didn’t have the opportunity to vote for our candidate. However, if we picked someone who already ran for President and lost to Trump, I don’t think it would work out in our favor. So, let’s toss that whole group out. (After the Cruz speech, I really want to leave him in, but he’s not going to be well liked enough by establishment types in the House. Remember, for this to work, he’s going to have to be picked by some of them.)
Let’s try and find someone who would work. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list.
Says he won’t do it, probably won’t. Has the government experience. Knows the Constitution. Very outspoken NeverTrumper. Probably cares about his future in the party a little, doesn’t have an unfair advantage in our target states, though he would probably win them anyway. Doesn’t solve our “will of the people” problem. If he agreed…like tomorrow… you could open our list up to Nebraska. You have multiple districts there, it’s a 20+ point Romney state, with only 2,500 signatures needed. Problem is, they’re due by August 1st. These deadlines can be challenged and overturned, but we don’t need more hurdles.
Already running for Senate reelection, and surely wouldn’t do it anyway. But, let’s dream. He has an unfair advantage (I use that term often…in case you don’t, it’s not actually an unfair advantage…it’s more of a leg up on the competition.) His home state is our target number one. He’s also Mormon, and our three top target states are literally first, second, and third in America as percentage of Mormon population (Montana is also seventh). Oh yeah, he’d make an incredible President. Doesn’t solve our ‘will of the people’ problem though.
Doesn’t have our unfair advantages, but I think would do well in those states. Already retired, so no worries there. Well liked. Rumored to possibly be interested, though I don’t believe it. If he was the guy, you could open it to Oklahoma, which is a great target for this little game we’re playing. Problem is that we’ve already passed the signature deadline, and it’s huge. Over 40,000 signatures needed. Again, the courts might not like that though. Doesn’t solve our ‘will of the people’ issues.
While we’re in Oklahoma…Watts had a pretty conservative voting record as a Republican congressman. He won’t vote for Trump, and has a similar set of reasons as many in our target states. His complaints about Trump are his strengths: outreach to minorities and women.
Retired Governor/Military Guy/Elder Statesman judge/writer/commentator/think tank dude?—?etc.
I keep this open category there to solicit some ideas, because even if the chances aren’t good?—?it’s worth trying. Anyone who knows Utah politics well enough to come up with a name that could just win that one state…it’s worth a whirl.
I’ll also throw David French specifically in there. He didn’t want to run a full campaign because it wasn’t the right time for him and his family. But, would he consider running a campaign in three states, with cheap media markets, and no democratic competition? I mean, maybe? Plus, he’d have support from people that are connected in DC.
Author, NeverTrump, great communicator. He knows the constitution. Plus, it would be really entertaining. Think about it: President Thor.
He’s not conservative enough for me, but let’s talk it out anyway. Yes, I know he says he won’t do it, but that’s because he didn’t want to hand the election to Hillary. This plan solves that.
He’d win our target states easily. He can self-fund. He has a lot of allies that would step in immediately. He’s ready for the job, having gone through this process already. He’s Mormon and has the home state advantage with our top target. He’s generally well liked by the House, and his old VP is speaker, which would be quite helpful. And perhaps most importantly, he pretty much solves the ‘will of the people’ argument.
If this scenario came to pass, factoring in a strong Gary Johnson, Romney would likely have as many or more votes in 2012 than either top candidate in 2016, against a tougher opponent. If my only goal was to get someone who could do this and win, I think Romney is probably the best possible guy. I’m not thrilled with him as a candidate…but compared to Trump or Clinton? With them being so unlikeable, Romney might just be a fusion candidate that America would accept.
Here’s a crazy one, but stick with me. You need an elder statesman. You need someone who can handle the job on day one. You need someone to deal with a difficult ISIS problem. You need someone to step in and will promise to only serve one term. You need someone who has already received millions of votes, solving our ‘will of the people’ problem. You need someone who lives in one of our target states. You need…Dick Cheney 2016. I mean, it’s worth it just to see how pissed off everyone would get.
Some of these are obviously not going to happen. But, the point is, even the longest of long shots is worth taking. At the very least, you would have an insurance policy.
Let’s say a week before the election Trump does something truly crazy. Not “I want to date my daughter” crazy, but “I actually did start shooting people on 5th Avenue” crazy. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone with an electoral vote or two to be able to turn to?
Sure, there are further steps with unbinding electors and other craziness that could happen. And it should be pointed out that Gary Johnson is hitting 13% in some polls, more than any third party option (other than Perot) in a really long time, and he might make the debate stage.
But, this approach is straight out of the Constitution and would at least give us the opportunity to have a last second option in case of emergency, without helping Hillary Clinton.
The risk is low, but the stakes are incredibly high. Why not try?