Three ways in the House

Reading the Huffington Post, I saw this political bodice ripper and I still can’t figure out how to make the mechanics of the piece actually work in our shared reality:

Suddenly they realize, “holy shit, what if we could stop Donald Trump and keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House?”

So they run a moderate establishment Republican as a third-party candidate — 100 percent as a spoiler candidate. Worst case scenario oh, they prevent Donald Trump from winning the White House. Best case scenario they pull enough votes away from Hillary Clinton to prevent her from securing the necessary majority of 270 electoral votes.

Then the election goes to a House of Representatives ballot presided over Speaker Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s former running mate in 2012.

If neither candidate gets 270 electoral college votes, Congress picks the president. And he will be called President Mitt, the one who is laying the groundwork for this doomsday electoral scenario.

The basic theory is that a third party candidate who is Generic Republican Establishment (no not Pawlenty) would be able to do three things at the same time:

  • Insure that Trump does not get 270 electoral votes
  • win at least one electoral vote
  • Insure that Hillary Clinton does not get 270 electoral votes

In an alternative universe, that could work, but in this universe, I am having a hard time seeing how to actually make it work with a generic Republican running as a non-Trump alternative.

I think the first part is achievable.  However, the third party Republican spoiler is not needed.  Continual video playback of Trump’s speeches to non-Trump fans will isnure that.  If the Republican establishment decided it needed at least one electoral vote, it’s sock pocket could probably win Utah or a Congressional district in Nebraska.  Worse comes to worse, an elector could be a faithless elector.  I’ll concede the mechanics on this one.

The problem with this pre-emptive pants shitting is the third part.

Hillary Clinton will be running with a bit of a cushion.  If we start the mechanical baseline at states won by President Obama in 2012, she can concede 53 electoral votes (or Florida AND Ohio AND Virginia plus ME-02).  Those 53 electoral votes in reserve can’t all on net go to Trump.  Any vote above the 53 electoral votes that transfer from Democratic to Republican have to be equally balanced by votes going from Trump/Republican to spoiler.  A state like North Carolina flipping from lean GOP in a neutral no information environment to a Clinton win because the conservative/reactionary/fascist vote is split two or more ways makes the spoiler task even more difficult.

And here is where the idea goes from interesting speculation over beers to pre-emptive pants shitting.

If there was a third party candidate who get votes from voters whose clear second choice in a three-way is Hillary Clinton then this scenario could make a lot of mechanical sense.  That was the entire threat of the Bloomberg run.  He tickles a sweet spot for some East Coast Democratic strongholds where he might not have won the state but he could flip the state from reliable Democratic to a Trump win in a 40-38-22 split where most of his voters are strongly anti-Trump votes in a two way race.

Nate Silver has some more on this:

I’ve been working on a model of a potential third-party candidacy. Because we’re writing this story on short notice, I’m going to be more circumspect than usual about describing it. But the basic conclusion is that it’s incredibly hard to find many votes for a center-left third-party candidate without eating substantially into the Democratic coalition….

Bloomberg wins about half of white cosmopolitans, along with about two-thirds of white “picket fence” voters. But he doesn’t make much inroads with the other groups, especially white evangelicals and working-class voters, who mostly go with Trump. Bloomberg takes a few black and Hispanic votes away from Clinton, but not many…

according to our model, this scenario would result in a fairly lopsided Electoral College win for Trump, with Trump getting 311 electoral votes to 181 for Clinton and 46 for Bloomberg, whose wins would be restricted to a handful of predominantly white states like New Hampshire with a high number of moderate and independent voters.

The basic third party insight in the US is that the third party hurts the electoral chances of the candidate who is ideologically closest to the third party.  President Bush and Governor LePage have benefited from fractured opposition.

So in this scenario, the Republicans will have nominated Trump as their standard bearer and then are running a shadow spoiler campaign to throw the election into the House.  They would be running a fairly generic TRUE CONSERVATIVE (TM) whatever that means this week as the spoiler.  The problem is simple; how many voters in a three way election will vote for Generic Republican Spoiler where their preference order in a two way is Hillary Clinton>Trump or Stay Home>Trump>Clinton?  Since we live in a politically polarized time, I would be there are not many voters like that.

And worse from this scenario, many voters in the Republican Party have indicated that it would be very difficult for them to vote for Trump but could vote for Generic Spoiler Republican.  This would flip soft red states like North Carolina Blue and keep marginal Blue states like Florida very blue.  This is what David Frum has been arguing:

Splitting the party can escalate what might otherwise by a 53-47 Hillary Clinton win into a 53-40-7 Hillary Clinton landslide. But rallying around Trump invites a turnout collapse among up-market Republicans, who will not vote Democratic, but cannot vote Trump. And such a turnout collapse will doom Republican down ballot candidates across the country. Goodbye, Senator Portman. That means that the Democratic turnout slide from 2008 to 2012 can continue into 2016—and still deliver a 1980 style sequence of wins in the Senate and in the states.

This piece of preemptive pants pissing identifies a mechanical route but then does not ask a question as to how Generic Republican takes more votes in light Blue states away from Hillary Clinton when the Generic Republican spoiler is running as a “respectable” Generic Repbulican while keeping Trump from winning an electoral majority. If the election was happening in 2010, then something like this could happen with a white, old and pissed off electorate but that is not where we are today.  A Generic Republican spoiler raises the question as to whether or not Clinton hit 375 or 400 not whether or not she hits 270.

125 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    It’s attempting to construct a political Maginot Line and just as ineffectual an exercise.

  2. 2
    Mai.naem.mobile says:

    Please proceed
    M(oderate)
    O(bstructionist)
    R(epublicans)
    O(nto)
    N(owhere)
    S(oon)

  3. 3
    jl says:

    For a few days last week, the GOP was acting like officials at an olde tymey state fair lining up the railroad tracks and juicing the locomotive boilers so the head-on GOP political train wreck spectacle would be huge, terrific, and big, something that all the best people would say was the very best train wreck ever at a state fair.

    I hope it keeps up.

    The needle they need to thread has been repeatedly smashed by a pile driver and dropped into a vat of acid. Getting less easy to figure out the trick every day.

  4. 4
    Chyron HR says:

    In 2012 Romney carried 24 states. If all of his votes were split evenly between him and a second Republican inexplicably added on the ballot, Obama would have won 20 of them.

    Please proceed, underpants gnomes.

  5. 5
    🌷 Martin says:

    The notion of electing a moderate Republican by way of the House of Representatives is like trying to hit a bullet with a smaller bullet, whilst wearing a blindfold, riding a horse.

  6. 6
    Adam C says:

    Richard, I think you have to start with the assumption (fantastical as it may seem) that Clinton would lose to Generic Con head-to-head. The Republicans have to believe this, after all, or this whole election campaign is pointless. The game is: Con(R)-v-Clinton, Con wins; Trump(R)-v-Clinton, Trump wins. In Trump(R)-v-Clinton-v-Con(Independent), the Con only needs to keep those otherwise-Republican EVs that Trump would concede to Clinton by being terrible.

    It makes some sense, if your plan is to subvert democracy by having Ryan install a candidate who only gets ~11% of the popular vote. But yes, vote-splitting and an even larger Clinton win seems more likely.

  7. 7
    Bill Arnold says:

    Not sure if you said this, if not, ignore.
    The way I interpreted it, the idea is that the third party candidate would be a pure spoiler candidate, just on the ballot in certain states where they could conceivably get electoral votes and that the republicans would have won otherwise. Then the House of Representatives would engage in a coup, and select somebody other than D Trump or Hillary Clinton (or whoever the Democrats run). Then the Republic dies.

  8. 8
    NotMax says:

    Song for the mythical Republican establishment.

    (Well, the title anyway.)

  9. 9

    This is what happens when you live in your bubble. Their hypothetical scenario is ridiculous.

  10. 10
    Boots Day says:

    @Bill Arnold: That doesn’t really work. The third candidate can’t just pull votes from Trump; he has to pull votes from Clinton in massive enough numbers to cause her to lose a state that she otherwise would have won. In other words, it has to be a Dem-leaning state in which the third candidate pulls more from Clinton than from Trump. Where exactly is that going to happen?

  11. 11

    I think the real answer is in that Frum quote. The goal of generic spoiler Republican isn’t to somehow win the presidential election. The people who would go with GSR have already mentally conceded the presidency to Hillary. It isn’t even to guarantee that Trump loses, though it would have that effect. It’s to get enough anti-Trump Republicans to the polls that they don’t lose the down-ballot elections.

    ETA: In that scenario, selling the plausibility of GSR is still important, so they can’t come right out and say that it’s just to help turnout. Otherwise, you could just tell anti-Trump Republicans to vote for everyone else and leave the President line blank.

  12. 12
    dedc79 says:

    Or the short version:

    There isn’t some big group of extremely reluctant hillary supporters out there who would be willing to jump ship for the right republican.

    In fact, the most reluctant hillary supporters are more likely to be on the far left than the center. And the ones on the far left are never going to vote for a republican.

  13. 13
    jl says:

    @Adam C:
    @Bill Arnold:

    Who would this spoiler candidate be, who could be tailored to appeal to the right demographic in they key states, who would not be relentlessly ID’d as a spoiler by Democrats in those very same key states?

    The whole idea is very Rube Goldberg to begin with.

    Who is a plausible candidate? Bloomberg? He will be rooting for HRC. Powell, or Rice? I am curious who could it be. Seems like the great minds pushing this nonsense want a real conservative. I heard they have been reaching out to goofballs like Perry. I heard news report that Perry said he was not interested in running for president, and wondered if I had slipped into an alternative reality this morning. Who would a person as far right as Perry take votes from?

  14. 14
    AkaDad says:

    1. This post needs more tags.

    2. The scenario of me dating Jennifer Lawrence is more plausible.

  15. 15
    jl says:

    This item must be covered by one of the tags for this post. But there is an off chance it is officially off-topic, I guess.

    Growing Evidence Shows Health Insurance Gains Are Due To ACA, Not Economy

    WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s growing evidence that most of the dramatic gain in the number of Americans with health care coverage is due to President Barack Obama’s law, and not the gradual recovery of the nation’s economy.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/n.....e-coverage

  16. 16
    yellowdog says:

    @Boots Day: It could happen in Nevada, Colorado, or Maine. But the electoral votes in those states are not enough for the Dems to lose, if VA and FL stay blue.

  17. 17
    bluehill says:

    Thanks for explaining that and allowing me to avoid the pants-soiling stage. Also glad that Bloomberg was willing to put the country ahead of his ego.

    Personally, I think the fascist fever gripping the repub party will have broken when I see leading repubs urging people to vote for the dem nominee. Don’t know if that will ever happen, but as Trump has gained momentum the repubs solutions are depressingly insignificant. Vote for anyone except for Trump while pledging to support whoever the nominee is does not seem like a great argument. The repub leadership continues to act in their own best interests which fuels Trumps rise. Declaring for the dem nominee will be the starkest indication that the repubs understand the threat that Trump poses and are truly willing to put country first.

  18. 18
    JPL says:

    @yellowdog: My thinking is Kasich could pull off enough votes to win in FL and Ohio. Then I thought, what would happen in the deep south. He could peel enough votes from Trump in SC, NC and GA to give those states to Clinton. hmmm

  19. 19
    debbie says:

    This is beyond desperate.

  20. 20
    jheartney says:

    Others have covered the problems with trying to take votes from Hillary by running a non-Trump wingnut. What I’m trying to imagine is just how much legitimacy a president would have who was picked by Paul Ryan in defiance of the popular vote. They got away with Dubya in 2000 because the election was close and there was enough smoke and mirrors to obscure the coup. This time there wouldn’t be.

  21. 21
    dmsilev says:

    Honestly, I think that the goal of any conservative-sponsored third party candidate is simply to sandbag Trump and ensure that Clinton wins; the Party will survive (and indeed likely prosper) in opposition to Clinton, but with Trump as their head, who knows? It’s just that they can’t say that out loud, so they have to at least pretend to believe that there’s a chance that Conservative To Be Named Later could win.

  22. 22
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    It’s been more than 50 years since a Democratic landslide. We’re due.

  23. 23
    jl says:

    @Roger Moore: Thanks for the reminder about down ballot issue. I don’t think that plan will work either. Seems to me if there were an obvious GOP spoiler designed to bring establishment conservatives to polls, and one that made a huge split in GOP more likely, then the Democratic voters, even low info types would be energized by prospect of a landslide.

    And, role of Sanders will take is becoming more clear. A lot of HRC Dems will be pissed off that if he gets enough votes he will take his campaign to the convention. But his plan of going after super delegates is self-limiting and won’t make any difference at all unless he can get landslides that he needs in remaining primary states. He repeatedly emphasized in his interview that he would be united with Dem ticket, whatever it may be, in mission to stop GOP/Trump as the Prime Directive.

    My guess is that Sanders won’t get the landslides he needs, and if he takes his campaign to the convention, it will be to negotiate with HRC to solidify her move to Sanders on economic progressivism, and bring Sanders fans on board.

    The Democrats are unified on a stop GOP/Trump mission. The GOP is split on a stop Trump mission. So far sounds good to me.

  24. 24
    Fair Economist says:

    Much as Cruz and Kasich both running makes if very difficult to beat Trump even when he’s well short of 50%, two conservatives vs. Hillary would make it difficult to beat her even in a fairly red state. It wouldn’t just be NC, it would also be any state that came close recently (IN, MO, GA) plus AZ due to Latinos and AK due to Clinton’s past associations (she led a project that passed a major and popular education reform.) Given that Clinton already starts out ahead based on 2012 it’s basically impossible to beat her in that situation.

    I think the main reason to run a third-party candidate would be to get those Stay Home->Trump/Clinton voters to the polls to save Congress for the Republicans. Conventional wisdom is that the Republicans are almost guaranteed to keep the house with a “normal” Presidential candidate and favored even with Trump, but I think that underestimates the chance of a swing. 2 of the last 5 elections had a big enough swing to give it back to the Democrats now. In the Senate a recent poll has McCain tied, which I think makes it fairly likely the Senate will flip. If he goes Kirk, Johnson, Toomey, and Ayotte are all probably gone too and there’s the Senate right there. I think in November there will be a lot of Democratic politicians in places like NC and GA and even MO/AK/KY/LA who will wish they’d run.

  25. 25
    JPL says:

    @bluehill: If Trump has the number of delegates to win outright, they will be on their knees and kiss his ring.

  26. 26
    Gindy51 says:

    @Boots Day: If the GOPpers recruit Bernie Sanders.

  27. 27
    Mai.naem.mobile says:

    These GOP idiots are like a HS kid who was told by his parents,his teachers,his HS counselor and his Principal that he better get the 2 mandatory credits of English in to graduate and it’s the Spring senior semester and he’s arguing with the principal that the Western Civilization and US history class should be considered English credits because of the amount of writing and reading involved.

  28. 28
    jl says:

    @dmsilev: I think that may be most sensible rationale. Trump’s economic populism is deadly to the GOP long economic con. Trump is promising his supporters that they can indulge themselves in generalized bigot fear and rage, and keep their social security and Medicare money, and get some good paying jobs too. Trump gets them geared up on that, the dishonest con the GOP has been running on their white bigot dupes will be much harder to sell in the future.

  29. 29
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Boots Day:
    @jl:
    Got the original thought wrong anyway as you note; have to deny Hillary electoral votes.
    I completely agree that it’s a ridiculous scenario, and that the Republicans would not be competent enough to pull it off even if less ridiculous. But I’m not making any predictions this election; too many powerful players some of whom haven’t started pushing yet, and too many wildcards.

  30. 30
    Patricia Kayden says:

    In what alternate universe would a Democratic voter who is fine with Secretary Clinton vote for a generic Republican? A generic Republican?

    Does not compute.

  31. 31
    Bill Arnold says:

    @jheartney:

    What I’m trying to imagine is just how much legitimacy a president would have who was picked by Paul Ryan in defiance of the popular vote.

    The Republic would die. IMO.

  32. 32
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled: From your mouth to God’s ears! Now that would be a nice way to wrap up this crazy election.

  33. 33
    🌷 Martin says:

    @dmsilev: Right. The only thing the RNC cares about is the preservation of the RNC. That’s more important than winning elections. They would be infinitely better off with Clinton, who would give them 8 years of fundraising, than Trump that could potentially destroy the inside Republican game.

  34. 34
    MattF says:

    One problem is that Trump is the only Republican candidate with an actual constituency. Why, exactly, would anyone vote for a self-proclaimed Republican Establishment candidate? It’s become clear, since the advent of Trumpism, that there is no such organization, and its candidates have been shown to be hapless.

  35. 35
    jl says:

    Colbert Report: Generic Republican Presidential Nominee

    http://www.cc.com/video-clips/.....al-nominee

  36. 36
    Baud says:

    The only way this could work is if I ran in the general election under the BJ Party banner.

  37. 37
    Matt McIrvin says:

    The problem is simple; how many voters in a three way election will vote for Generic Republican Spoiler where their preference order in a two way is Hillary Clinton>Trump or Stay Home>Trump>Clinton?

    As I said in the other thread, I actually know some people like that, if Generic Republican Spoiler is Mitt himself.

    I do not believe they are common. I think most of them are financially comfortable people who live in the Northeast. They might flip Virginia, but they’d flip it to Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Mitt would split the Republican vote in a bunch of reddish states and deliver them to Clinton.

    I guess in that scenario, Utah would provide the electoral votes he’d win. But I don’t see how you can possibly fine-tune this so it doesn’t just greatly benefit one major-party candidate or the other, or accomplish nothing at all.

  38. 38
    MattF says:

    @Baud: It’s likely that there would be some misinterpretation of that banner. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  39. 39
    NR says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Hillary Clinton is the worst presidential candidate from either party at least since Mondale if not before. Independents absolutely hate her. The only reason she even has a chance is because they hate Trump more. In a three way election, it’s anybody’s guess what would happen.

  40. 40
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    In what alternate universe would a Democratic voter who is fine with Secretary Clinton vote for a generic Republican? A generic Republican?

    You have to embrace the assumptions that the GOP puts forward, namely that against a rational conservative (Romney, Ryan, whoever they would define) that Clinton would lose handily. As Republican leaders, you MUST start from that assumption, otherwise why even get up and go to work?

    So in their mind, the only way Clinton wins if if the GOP screws up and drives votes to her that she otherwise doesn’t deserve. That’s how they view Trump. They believe they can put up a candidate that would give these deflected voters another choice. Problem is, they need that candidate to be strong enough to carry a state that they believe Clinton would have otherwise barely won – an Ohio, Florida, Virginia, etc.

    The only way a 3rd party candidate carries a state is if they are even further outside the establishment than the main party candidates – a Trump as 3rd party perhaps, but not as 1st party. Sanders might be able to do it from the left but Vermont isn’t a very big EV get. I don’t see how you George Wallace someone like Trump. You sure as shit don’t do it from the center.

  41. 41
    Chyron HR says:

    @jl:

    Who would a person as far right as Perry take votes from?

    Perry would beat Trump in three key demographic groups:

    1) The religious right
    2) Economic “conservatives”
    3) Uhhhh… oops.

  42. 42
    Enhanced Voting Techinques says:

    @dedc79: Yes, the GOP seriously think the Berni Boys are going to vote GOP they don’t get their guy?

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dedc79:

    There isn’t some big group of extremely reluctant hillary supporters out there who would be willing to jump ship for the right republican.

    This. We have a few vocal and annoying Bernistas here, but I can’t picture a single one of them so willing to let shit burn down that they’d be willing to vote for (say) Kasich over Hillary or Trump. Even the ones who may want to burn shit down would do it by voting for Trump, not some namby-pamby “acceptable” conservative.

  44. 44
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @NR: Could you cite to some evidence from a legitimate source showing that Secretary Clinton is the most hated politician in this election? I don’t believe you. I don’t hate her and I assume that the people who are voting for her in the primaries do not hate her. I have no idea where you are getting the idea that people hate her from unless you are living in a Bernie Bros or Faux Noise bubble.

  45. 45
    Mark says:

    The scenario I’m most worried about is if the third party candidate is Trump, because an electoral finish of Clinton, (Republican nominee) , Trump is the one in which the House has the easiest justification for picking over Clinton. Of course it’s a lot harder for Speaker Paul Ryan to justify if Convention Chair Paul Ryan denied the nomination to Trump, after Trump won the plurality of delegates. But it has the advantage of being 6 months removed from the convention; and probably the only lever the establishment has left on Trump is the ability to provoke him into a third party run.

  46. 46
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    The only reason she even has a chance is because they hate Trump more.

    That’s the point, though — statistically, “independents” are embarrassed Republican voters, not nonpartisans. They voted for McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012. So getting them to vote for Generic Republican instead of Trump doesn’t pull votes away from Hillary, only from Trump.

    The only third-party candidate who could fuck things up for Hillary would be Bernie. If he goes third party, get ready to inaugurate President Trump.

  47. 47
    A Ghost To Most says:

    The line about winning at least one electoral vote got me thinking about Nebraska,which apportions by Congressional district,and is often solid red except for one CD, Omaha.

    There is an opportunity for ratfuckery.

  48. 48
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @🌷 Martin: “You have to embrace the assumptions that the GOP puts forward, namely that against a rational conservative (Romney, Ryan, whoever they would define) that Clinton would lose handily.”

    Shows how delusional Republicans are then since President Obama easily dispatched Romney/Ryan, the so-called rational conservatives in 2012. What makes Republicans believe that Secretary Clinton couldn’t do the same to any so-called rational conservatives in 2016?

  49. 49
    Walker says:

    I am convinced that these geniuses do not understand how the electoral college works. They see that “not winning a majority” = “Paul Ryan chooses”. However, this only kicks in when you do not win a majority of the electoral college. The state races are allowed to be pluralities.

  50. 50
    Shalimar says:

    I doubt the point of the generic conservative 3rd party candidate would be to win the White House, though that is what they will talk about. The goal is to turn out the conservative voters who are turned off by Trump, thus bringing out more Republican voters in down-ballot races and hopefully retaining control of the Senate and House.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    For statistics on the independent vote in 2012, Google for a US News & World Report article from 11/13/2012 titled “INFOGRAPHIC: Obama Lost Independent Vote in Almost Every Swing State.”

    The only exception? North Carolina.

    Short version: Obama won independents in 2008, lost them in 2012, and STILL won the election. Self-declared independents are overrated, it seems.

  52. 52
    Enhanced Voting Techinques says:

    @Walker:Indeed, and let us consider the irony that Lincoln didn’t win the majority of electoral votes in 1860 and it didn’t go to the House.

  53. 53
    NR says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Could you cite to some evidence from a legitimate source showing that Secretary Clinton is the most hated politician in this election? I don’t believe you.

    The source is poll after poll after poll after poll. Her numbers aren’t quite as bad as Trump’s, yet, but they are continuing to get worse.

  54. 54

    Remind me again how many electoral votes Ross Perot got?

    After the Republican convention, every Republican — no exceptions, not a single individual — will be working to elect the nominee, whomsoever that may be. Anything said against that person at any prior time will be stuffed down the memory hole.

  55. 55
    patroclus says:

    This an interesting theory and it more or less happened in 1980 with John Anderson, but the problem is that there aren’t any John Andersons in the Republican party these days. A Generic Republican conservative like Tom Coburn wouldn’t work. The candidate would have to be like Bloomberg today, and he’s said no. The candidate would have to be pro-choice, pro gun control or be identifiably liberal/moderate on a whole host of issues that could cut into Hillary’s (or Bernie’s) expected vote. Arlen Specter? Gone. Mark Kirk? Not known nationally, in a losable fight of his own and not moderate enough. John Kasich? Not really moderate and he’s said he’d support the Republican. Paul Ryan? Not moderate. Arnold? Not eligible. The Republican party has moved so far outside the mainstream that they really don’t have a John Anderson anymore.

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    And yet, as people pointed out in the other thread, Hillary has received more votes than Bernie and The Donald combined.

    IDK, maybe the presidential race is more than a popularity contest?

  57. 57
    hueyplong says:

    @Boots Day:

    You’re giving off a Montreal Expos vibe.

    And the only candidate who can pull so much from Hitlery is Baud.

    I’m asking Baud to stand down if he doesn’t get the Democratic nomination.

  58. 58
    Fair Economist says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techinques:

    Indeed, and let us consider the irony that Lincoln didn’t win the majority of electoral votes in 1860 and it didn’t go to the House.

    He didn’t win a majority of the popular vote but he did indeed win a majority in the electoral college (180, needed 152).

  59. 59
    NotMax says:

    @Mnemosyne

    Irony of ironies, Romney won NC in 2012.

    @Enhanced Voting Techinques

    ??

    Lincoln didn’t win a majority of the popular vote in 1860 (it wasn’t at all a two-party race).

    When it came to electoral votes he ended up with 180, comfortably above the 152 necessary to win, of the 303 total available.

  60. 60
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne: You can’t compare a 2 candidate primary to a 4+ candidate primary. And you sure as shit can’t compare it to a general election.

  61. 61
    Baud says:

    @hueyplong: My initial plan was to support the nominee, but now I’m kind of intrigued by the idea of a BJ Party.

  62. 62
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @NR:
    Your concern is duly noted.

  63. 63
    Brad DeLong says:

    All they have to do is convince one Trump elector to flip his EC vote to Ryan (presumably in violation of the law of the state he comes from). And it goes through very smoothly from there.

    Hell! Can EC members vote for themselves?

  64. 64
    lollipopguild says:

    @Bill Arnold: not only would the republic die but I think any republicans who had a hand in this would be torn apart in the streets by angry mobs.

  65. 65
    Chris says:

    @dmsilev:

    Honestly, I think that the goal of any conservative-sponsored third party candidate is simply to sandbag Trump and ensure that Clinton wins; the Party will survive (and indeed likely prosper) in opposition to Clinton, but with Trump as their head, who knows? It’s just that they can’t say that out loud, so they have to at least pretend to believe that there’s a chance that Conservative To Be Named Later could win.

    And while I may be misreading establishment-Republican mentality, I simply don’t see that happening. If it comes down to Trump vs. Clinton, they’ll line up behind Trump and hope for the best.

    Both Sides Do It, But Liberals Are Worse.

  66. 66
    Technocrat says:

    @NR:

    In both primaries, the “least liked” candidate is winning. Clearly this contradicts the idea that “likeability” translates into votes.

    I keep hearing the argument you’re making, yet I never hear an explanation of why the more likeable candidates aren’t winning.

  67. 67
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    This is ‘please proceed’ territory, though it clearly appeals to the kind of people who are both shit-scared of El Trumpador and also want the more arcane bits of the Constitution activated. The last third-party candidate to get any electoral votes was George Wallace in 1968, so I”m not convinced by the argument that a True GOP candidate would send things to the House, as opposed to helping the Dems — both at the top of the ticket, and right the way down.

  68. 68
    jl says:

    @Baud:

    ” but now I’m kind of intrigued by the idea of a BJ Party. ”

    Baud! 2016! finally admits he is adding BJ to his platform. Not much of a surprise there. It’s already baked in to the numbers.

    I think Baud! 2016! is the perfect generic candidate, and could slide into the reasonable generic GOP candidate role easily. Neither really exist.

    This is your bid chance Baud. Twitter bomb Kristol right now. Perry just turned it down, get in while the getting is good.

  69. 69
    NotMax says:

    @Baud

    Granted the concept of throngs marching through the streets yelling “We want a BJ!” is intriguing.

  70. 70
    jl says:

    @NotMax: But from what I have seen, will get quite a few of the Trump demo.
    Edit2: did you mean ‘things’. Fat white Trump bigots in their Sunday morning thongs would get a lot of free media. Chance for Baud! 2016! to break through and win.

    Edit: are macroeconomists commenting on this blog now? It is supposed to be family blog. What Trump has done to the GOP, Baud! 2016! has done to BJ blog.

    So, Baud! 2016! has accomplished something, finally.

  71. 71
    Baud says:

    @NotMax:

    throngs marching through the streets

    I initially read that as “thongs.”

  72. 72
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    It’s true, primaries are not predictive of the general election. That’s why the people warning us that the relatively low turnout for the Democratic primary says something scary about the general election are full of shit.

    2008 was a huge outlier as far as primary enthusiasm goes. Judging this year’s primaries by 2008 is like deciding that global warming isn’t real because the East Coast had massive snowstorms last year.

  73. 73
    Brachiator says:

    Insure that Hillary Clinton does not get 270 electoral votes

    So the ultimate idea is to try to throw the election to the House of Representatives?

    Wow. The Republicans would stoop so low?

    Rhetorical question. Of course, they would.

    They would have to deal with angry voters and the Wrath of Trump.

    Go for it, GOP, go for it!

  74. 74
    NR says:

    @Technocrat: Because primary electorates are different than the general one.

  75. 75
    Robert Sneddon says:

    I read somewhere the Perry-as-third-party candidate gambit was based on him winning his home state, Texas with (I think) 53 electoral votes. Clinton needs 270 votes to win outright, leaving Trump with a target of 217. If he gets 218 or more then it goes to Congress to decide as none of the three candidates has a majority.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Baud:

    That would be in West Hollywood. Or South Beach.

  77. 77
    MomSense says:

    It seems like this is a desperate attempt by Republicans to save some down ticket ballot races and to give the illusion of concern for their credibility. I betcha Congressional Repubkicans will not behave any differently for the rest of Obama’s term or in a Clinton administration.

  78. 78
    lollipopguild says:

    @NotMax: Breaking news!

  79. 79
    Baud says:

    @Robert Sneddon: Texas is going for Trump or Perry in that scenario, leaving it completely irrelevant to whether Clinton gets 270.

  80. 80
    gwangung says:

    @NR: It would help if you could draw upon work done on general elections.

    Your generalizability would get you tossed out of most graduate programs.

  81. 81
    Hungry Joe says:

    If the GOP honchos do manage to put up a third-party candidate it’ll give them a perfect excuse (not that they need one) to call the Hillary Clinton administration illegitimate: “Well, she wasn’t REALLY elected by the people because the opposition against her was split.” I remember Rushbo’s using that argument against Bill because Perot had taken about 15% of the vote: “He’s not a REAL president,” Rushbo said. I’m not sure, but that may have been the genesis of his “America Held Hostage” campaign.

  82. 82

    @Baud: I will vote for more bj parties perhaps with rainbows

  83. 83
    NotMax says:

    @lollipopguild

    Liberté, égalité, fraternité, BJ!

    ;)

  84. 84
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Baud: BTW, I haven’t heard you float any VP names for your campaign. Just FYI, I have never been arrested, I swear, so you needn’t bother vetting. Letters of recommendation available on request. (Re letters: Does family count?)

  85. 85
    Chyron HR says:

    @NR:

    Waaah, primaries don’t count!

    Except when Sanders wins them, in which case they’re a perfectly accurate predictor of general election performance.

  86. 86
    trollhattan says:

    @efgoldman:

    I mean, if you can’t believe BiP, who can you believe?

    From your lips to Vlad’s ear, or at least somebody’s ear in greater metropolitan Saint Petersburg.

  87. 87
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Baud: But if Trump gets 270 or more that’s Game Over and he’s in the Oval Office. If Perry takes Texas then Trump needs to find another bunch of electoral votes from somewhere else to get him to 270. It’s a Hail Mary on steroids by the Republican thinkers scrabbling frantically to avoid Condition Omega. They’ve already accepted that Trump will likely be the official nominee of the GOP, they’re just trying to avoid the situation where he might win in a two-way against Clinton.

  88. 88
    NotMax says:

    @Hungry Joe

    He’s got binders full of names.

    ;)

  89. 89
    Technocrat says:

    @NR:

    Saying they’re “different” doesn’t explain anything. Favorability polls are being done now, which means they include the population currently voting in primaries. If favorability is determinative, we should be seeing it play out in voting patterns.

    You certainly can’t assume that the GE electorate is literally the inverse of the Primary electorate.

  90. 90
    MomSense says:

    @Baud:

    I like your version better. I think Baud’s inaugural parade needs a thong wearing marching band. Hail to the Chief like its never been done before.

  91. 91
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Hungry Joe: I’ll recommend you, but I’ll need a couple more copies of Anyway* for libraries in distressed areas and an endorsement for a high level Justice position.

  92. 92
    lollipopguild says:

    @NotMax: Love it!

  93. 93
    Jay S says:

    One way this scenario plays out is if Trump upsets the table in some reliably Democratic states combined with enough anti Trump RNC wins to keep the electoral vote below the majority. Highly unlikely, but I’m not sure I trust the “never gonna happen” view. Trump is the wild card.

    In truth, a sacrificial candidate to save down ballot Republicans makes a better story, but I”m not sure it works either. Especially now that most of the proposed sacrifices have said no.

  94. 94
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @MomSense:
    Given the average age around here, do.not.want thong parade.

  95. 95
    Brachiator says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    If the GOP honchos do manage to put up a third-party candidate it’ll give them a perfect excuse (not that they need one) to call the Hillary Clinton administration illegitimate

    We passed the event horizon on this during the Bill Clinton administration.

    Since then, the GOP consistently presents itself as the only legitimate entity having the right to govern. They will defer the appointment of judicial and executive department nominees, refuse to pass legislation and even shut down the government if they do not get their way.

    Hell, look at this Supreme Court BS. “The American people should decide.” And especially if a Republican wins in 2016.

  96. 96
    lollipopguild says:

    @NotMax: I prefer binders full of women.

  97. 97
    NR says:

    @Technocrat:

    Favorability polls are being done now, which means they include the population currently voting in primaries.

    They include it, yes, but they also include other, larger parts of the electorate. Which explains the discrepancy.

  98. 98
    Chyron HR says:

    OK, NR, let assume for the sake of mocking you argument that your central thesis is correct: The violent hatred of Hillary Clinton that consumes your every waking moment is irrefutable evidence that there’s something wrong with her.

    How, exactly, do you expect the people commenting here to stop her from handily winning the Democratic primary?

  99. 99
    hueyplong says:

    So we’ve moved on from terror at primary turnout? I remember when that was a thing.

  100. 100
    NR says:

    @Chyron HR:

    violent hatred

    You’re 0 for 2, sorry.

  101. 101
    randy khan says:

    @jl:

    Who is a plausible candidate? Bloomberg? He will be rooting for HRC. Powell, or Rice? I am curious who could it be. Seems like the great minds pushing this nonsense want a real conservative. I heard they have been reaching out to goofballs like Perry. I heard news report that Perry said he was not interested in running for president, and wondered if I had slipped into an alternative reality this morning. Who would a person as far right as Perry take votes from?

    Bloomberg’s out because he knows he can’t win and his loyalty to the GOP is exactly zero. (If he thought he could extract a binding promise that the House would vote for him, he might reconsider, but he’s smarter than to believe that.)

    Powell would appear to hate the current version of the Republican Party, and is smart enough to know he couldn’t win.

    Rice would be a delightful choice, highlighting the Republican belief that all they need is black woman candidate to peel off votes from HRC and demonstrating that doesn’t work. And I really doubt she’d give up her current gigs, not least the college football championship committee, for a doomed campaign.

    Perry, as you say, wouldn’t take votes from the middle, presuming anyone would vote for him in the first place.

    Christie’s egotistical enough and plays as sort of centrist, but he’s endorsed Trump because he’s not really stupid.

    Kasich would seem like the best of the bad choices, unless somebody like Larry Hogan was willing to take a bullet, but Hogan’s barely known in Virginia and Delaware, let alone in Illinois.

  102. 102
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    I don’t see how you George Wallace someone like Trump.

    Even if you do… did George Wallace throw the election into the House? He did not; he helped throw it to Richard Nixon, a major-party candidate who won handily. And if he hadn’t, Nixon probably would have gotten a lot of those votes anyway.

  103. 103
    Peale says:

    The only way I see this working is if Cruz wins Texas, since he’s already beaten Trump there. It also involves Bernie deciding that a heavily divided Republican Party means that he would be able to win states in a third party run. That is, Bernie losing his mind and forgetting that Congress would decide a four way race and forgetting which party controls Congress. But then his voters realize that a candidate who has lost his mind and forgets things like that probably shouldn’t be President and we’re back with a 400 delegate win for Hillary.

  104. 104
    randy khan says:

    @patroclus:

    On Anderson, there was some interesting polling in 1980 that showed that he essentially took votes from whoever was ahead in each state – strange, I know, but the pollster asked people for their second choices and that’s what happened – with the result that all he did was tighten margins. (IIRC, the exception was Connecticut, where for a long time the race was competitive among all 3 candidates.)

  105. 105
    Calouste says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The good thing is that Sanders has promised to stay in the race until the convention, by which time it will be way too late register an independent bid. Although of course he could make a deal with the Green Party and appear on their ticket.

  106. 106
    AkaDad says:

    @Baud:

    If you’re looking for a drug Czar, I have of lifetime of experience with drugs.

  107. 107
    Ked says:

    @NR:

    Obsessive hatred, surely. Every thread I read here these days you’re shouting “loser, loser, LOSER”. Normal trolls aren’t that patient, there’s something particularly wrong with you.

    I’ll even stipluate there’s a possibility you’re right, but in this place, you’re beating your face against the bus.

    …wow, quoting doesn’t seem to work like it used to. Time to poke at the different buttons.

  108. 108
    NonyNony says:

    Basically the only way this works is if they also pull a Nader 2000 and fund some chump on the Green ticket willing to take their money in order to be a spoiler on the left like Nader was.

    Could happen I suppose, but unless Sanders decides to fuck over the country I don’t see who they get with the cred to do it. And I don’t see Sanders being willing to do that.

  109. 109
    Ben Cisco says:

    @srv: Powell knows you guys are full of crap, and he’s not going to play slavecatcher for you so, nope.

  110. 110
  111. 111
    Technocrat says:

    @NR:

    but they also include other, larger parts of the electorate

    No sir. Republicans + Democrats = 58% of the electorate. Independents are only 38%, a plurality but not a majority.

    Almost 2/3 of the people responding to favorables are Primary-eligble voters. The fact that the least liked candidates are winning strongly implies that favorability is being driven by the other side (respectively).

    The data bears this out.

    Clinton is at +55 net favorable among Dems and Dem leaners. That’s 48% of the electorate. So to drive her unfavorables that low you have to include a chunk of Republicans (who weren’t voting for a Dem anyway), and independents. She’s underwater with Independents (31% fav) but Trump is even farther down (24% fav). She does better with independents by 7 points.

    Dems and Dem leaners are 48% of the electorate. GOP and GOP leaners are only 40% of the electorate. Clinton’s baseline is higher and she does better with Independents. And this is just using favorability as a cheap proxy for vote preference.

  112. 112
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Calouste:

    I think the odds of Sanders going third party are pretty much the same as me doing the Charleston on a public street in nothing but a thong. IOW, it *could* happen, but there would have to be some kind of severe, personality-changing head injury first.

  113. 113
    Technocrat says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    me doing the Charleston on a public street in nothing but a thong

    If you’re going to dance nearly naked, the Charleston is actually a pretty good choice. ;)

  114. 114
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @randy khan: A Wikipedia page has a timeline of the polling for the 1980 presidential election. It looks to me as if, when Anderson first jumped into the general-election campaign, he took nearly all of his support from Jimmy Carter. But then he lost most of those people to Ronald Reagan over the course of the year. Hard to say whether it’d have gone any differently in the end if he hadn’t been in it.

  115. 115
    Turgidson says:

    @NotMax:

    I’m thinking The Rains of Castamere is a more appropriate GOP theme song by the day.

  116. 116
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Suppose this scheme actually succeeds in getting the election thrown into the House of Representatives, voting by states. Do you suppose the House would actually give the Presidency to Mitt Romney instead of to Trump?

    What would the aftermath look like, of a presidential election in which those House members actually installed somebody who nobody voted for? You think people regarded Clinton or Bush or Obama as illegitimate… that was nothing. This would be both parties. Every one of those guys in on it on the Republican side would get primaried and probably rejected by their own voters. Would they dare?

  117. 117
    Turgidson says:

    @bluehill:

    Declaring for the dem nominee will be the starkest indication that the repubs understand the threat that Trump poses and are truly willing to put country first.

    This generation of Republicans does not acknowledge any difference between “party first” and “country first.” I see this in my conversations even with fairly moderate Republicans I know here in the pinko Bay Area or have known from past stops or endeavors in mostly liberal and/or affluent areas (I can count on one hand how many truly retrograde, knuckledragging, teabagger dolts I know enough to call acquaintances, much less friends).

    Many of these semi-sane GOPers have expressed dismay at the GOP’s lurch into extremism in recent years – some began fretting as early as GWB’s shamelessly fear-based reelection campaign in 2004. But, almost to a man (and they’re almost all men), they will say “well, I’m not going to vote for [GOP candidate], but I can’t vote for the Democrat. They’re even worse!!!. I’ll leave it blank for vote Libertarian this time.” They say this EVERY.FUCKING.TIME.

    With the ones I consider reasonable people and friends, I have occasionally gently pushed back just by asking “when you say [Kerry/Obama] would be ‘even worse’, what do you mean by that?”

    They never have a lucid response. Some nonsense about tax-and-spend liberals. Maybe some Fox News talking points with the rough edges sanded off. But no instances of the Democrat actually being “worse” in any of the ways they find the GOP candidate to be disqualified.

    It’s just something they know in their bones. The Democrats are, axiomatically, even worse. These are generally thoughtful people who I wouldn’t expect to be reflexively tribal, and I suppose they show by occasionally abstaining from voting straight-ticket GOP that they’re not as tribal as most, but voting for the Democrat is a line they just won’t cross, no matter what.

  118. 118
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I think the reason people find this plausible is that somehow they’re slipping conceptually from the idea that in a three-way race nobody will win a majority of the popular vote, to the idea that it’s likely that nobody would win a majority of the electoral vote. Even though nothing like this has happened in over a century, despite multiple presidential elections that had major third-party spoilers running.

  119. 119
    Marshall Eubanks says:

    The pants shitting point comes when the House picks, not number 1, nor number 2, but number 3, or maybe even Mr. Nobody (whom no-one voted for). Yes, that would go over well.

  120. 120
    NR says:

    @Technocrat: 7% better than Trump isn’t exactly something to cheer about. And as I previously noted, her favorability numbers are getting worse every week. It wouldn’t surprise me if by the summer, her numbers were actually worse than Trump’s.

  121. 121
    Archon says:

    @Matt McIrvin
    No, it would be much worse then that. A Ted Cruz getting elected President by the House because he won Texas and prevented Clinton and Trump from getting to 270 would lead to massive civil unrest and a constitutional crisis almost as bad as 1860.

  122. 122
    F says:

    @Marshall Eubanks: They can only vote for 1,2 or 3. It’s not like a contested convention.

  123. 123
    Tractarian says:

    Hillary is neck-and-neck with Trump in Utah.

    That is all that needs to be said.

  124. 124
    Technocrat says:

    @NR:

    Obama won 2012 by 3.9%. Damn right 7% is worth cheering for, especially when she’s beating Trump by nearly 9% in the polls. Not sure how high your bar is, but that clears mine.

    As far as the trend, it’s certainly a concern. But she’s fighting a two-front war at the moment, we’ll see if things improve when/if she gets the nom.

    It’s important to note that Clinton has had historically good favorability ratings. Most Admired Woman for 20th Year and all that. Her fundamentals have not changed, just the intensity of attacks. I expect her to rebound.

  125. 125
    Sam Dobermann says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techinques: The Republicans should run Bernie. He’s already getting friendly ads run for him by one of the Koch Bros combine.

    And Bernie is sufficiently egotistical and intoxicated by his admirers to go for a 3rd party bid so long as he is not called a Republican.

    He would take the reluctant voters from Clinton and the angry Trumpets who feel the system is fixed against them.

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