As with most Presidential elections since 1984, the electoral map can be reduced to around 10 states. Most states are solidly locked to favor one party or the other. This particular election year, we don’t want to take anything for granted, but if the right candidate with a solid election disruption plan can pull things together in the month of June, they would have a very good chance of denying both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the Presidency outright.
This has been talked about before, but I haven’t seen anyone propose a plan. Here it is. When it’s viewed through a lens of determination and hope, it’s not as far-fetched as mainstream media would have you believe. The key is in understanding that to win the Presidency, a third-party conservative would not have to run a national campaign. In fact, they could pull it off by winning as few as seven states. Within that framework, the prospects of getting someone other than the two disastrous choices being put forth to the nation becomes less hopeless.
Let’s look at the plan itself, then we’ll examine the criteria for the right candidate.
It’s been pointed out many times, but just in case… the third candidate would not have to win the general election. They simply need to prevent Trump and Clinton from getting to 270 electoral votes. With no majority in the electoral college, the President is chosen by the House of Representatives from among the top three candidates. Each state gets 1 vote. Republicans control 32 of the 50 congressional caucuses, so in that scenario it would be either Trump or the third-party conservative. Incidentally, the VP is selected by the Senate among the top two candidates, so whoever Trump selects as VP would almost certainly win regardless of who the House selects as President.
Based upon current projections, Clinton has solid hold on 227 electoral votes while Trump has control over 180. The 10 swing states that will decide the election in a two-person race are Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Iowa. It’s exceptionally important that Clinton is denied from winning more than a couple of these which is why strategic selection is important. President Obama won eight of them in 2012; only North Carolina and Arizona went to Mitt Romney. I don’t have the research or a team of strategists to select the best opportunities, but based upon the closeness of the vote, the best states to go after would be the ones that Obama barely won in 2012. Obama won Colorado with 51%, Florida, with 50%, Iowa with 52%, Nevada with 52%, New Hampshire with 52%, Ohio with 50%, and Virginia with 51%,
If Trump wins the red states plus Arizona and North Carolina, he’d have 206 electoral votes. If Clinton could lose the seven states listed above, she’d have 247. Trump could win any combination of those states as long as he is kept below the 270 electoral vote threshold. In this very specific and challenging scenario, the President would be selected by the House of Representatives. It’s a scenario that’s nearly impossible.
Nearly. Not completely. If a solid candidate emerges, the math would not be a problem.
Getting on the Ballots
While efforts should be made to get on as many ballots as possible, the seven key states above would be the only required ones. Of those, the only two with challenges in getting on the ballot would be Nevada and Florida. Nevada’s deadline is July 8 and requires 1% of the previous congressional election’s votes, so if a third candidate launches July 1, they’d have a week to get just under 6,000 signatures. Florida is more challenging. The deadline is July 15, but they’d need 1% of total registered voters. Currently, that would mean they’d have two weeks to get nearly 120,000 signatures. Again, not impossible but it would take a strong organization and likely some television ads very quickly. It wouldn’t hurt if Jeb Bush would lend a hand. If they couldn’t get on the Florida ballot, they’d need to steal a blue state. Obama won Wisconsin in 2012 with 53%; Scott Walker would need to go all in to make this happen.
The other five states have deadlines after July.
Pundits have said that a candidate would need to raise between $250M all the way up to $1B to be viable. The lower end of the range is not only more realistic when we consider the need to only campaign in seven states. It’s also achievable. Without the backing of the parties, it’s not an easy task, but with the help of #NeverTrump pundits spreading the word, experienced fundraisers and bundlers getting funds, and an electorate growing more disenchanted with the options every day, it isn’t as daunting as one might believe. Then again, we’re talking about a quarter of a billion dollars, so maybe it truly is impossible. I simply don’t have the experience to know. Thankfully, there are people who know. Thankfully, there are people who would try for the right candidate.
The Right Candidate
Conventional wisdom would say that picking a moderate is the right way to go. After all, Romney won among Independents in 2012. However, it would be a mistake to put up another moderate. Independents aren’t all moderates. A good chunk of them are just as polarized as those registered with a party. With a liberal Democrat from New York going against a liberal Democrat from New York who pretends to be a Republican, the best thing to do is to draw a clear contrast. There’s another reason which I’ll discuss below.
What’s more important than where they are on the conservative/liberal scale is the measure of their perceived character. The biggest weakness of one candidate is being a corrupt liar. The other candidate is just as corrupt and lies just as often. A trustworthy and honorable third-party candidate could win states on integrity alone.
Here are some of the other criteria:
- Relate With Voters: Year after year, the candidate that relates with voters the best is the one who wins. It’s sad that the parties have chosen a woman who claims to have been “dead broke” when she left the White House and man who had to take out a “small loan” of a million dollars to boost his failing portion of the empire he was born into.
- Appealing to Females: Those who believe that Trump can win with the male vote need to remember that Romney won the male vote in 2012. Women will decide the election which is why Trump can’t win swing states other than North Carolina and Arizona. Despite being a woman, Clinton isn’t locked in with female voters. They tend to put more weight on character and Clinton’s character is questionable (and I’m being nice with my choice of words).
- No Skeletons in the Closet: Trump will do his best to keep his skeletons locked away and Clinton has most of her skeletons in cemeteries. Both of them have skeletons and voters know it whether they come out or not. The third candidate doesn’t have to be a saint, but a major scandal would cling to them like Velcro against two corrupt people made of Teflon.
- Different on Policies: The attack points would be the ones where Clinton and Trump are similar. The financial message must be that lower taxes for all, free trade, and establishing a business-friendly environment is necessary to grow the economy and bring back jobs. The military message should be one of Reaganesque strength; not isolationism but not adventure through intervention, either. The foreign policy message should be that we embrace our allies and condemn our enemies; no loving on Vladimir Putin. Then, there’s one other policy that must stand out…
- No Men in Women’s Bathrooms, No Boys on Girls Teams: Trump’s biggest mistake from a policy perspective when it comes to the common voter was not capitalized upon by his competitors. He thinks transgenders should use the restroom of their choice. Since then, he’s backtracked and said that it should be a state issue, but his perspective is on record. The majority of Americans don’t want to see that happen. Pundits and competitors gave it very little attention because they didn’t see it as a voting issue, but if the right candidate pushes hard against it, the voters can be made to care.
- Not Necessarily Someone Known: When news broke that David French was considering a run, pundits instantly said that he couldn’t win because of name recognition. That’s what the quarter billion dollars is for. The best person for the job would be less like Mitt Romney and more like Ben Sasse or other conservatives that are not big names nationwide. Why? The reason that many are voting for Trump is that he’s not Clinton. The reason that many are voting for Clinton is that she’s not Trump. We need someone who’s not Trump or Hilllary. There are already 24% who are feeling the need for another option and that number would only go up if the right candidate launches a campaign.
- A Republican: This should go without saying, but if this goes to the House of Representatives, the only way to keep them from selecting Trump is if the third-party conservative was favorable to Republicans. Trump attacks Republicans. The third candidate shouldn’t be an establishment favorite, but it can’t be a Libertarian or an alt right favorite, either.
The odds are slim for all of this to happen. It’s not because it can’t be done. It’s because nobody has been granted the courage and desire to participate. America needs a strong leader to step up and prevent the worst Presidential disaster to befall our nation in the modern era. If the right person makes the right decision, we’ll do everything we can to help them.