You don’t need a majority, or even a plurality, of electors to win the presidency. Let me explain.
For those who were serious about their Never Trump hashtags (or who would have been if they were on Twitter), it’s time to start rallying for a third-party candidate for the 2016 election. A third-party candidate isn’t just a protest against the system, but a viable chance at sparing the country the disaster that would be a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton presidency.
The Historical Precedent for a Third Party
If no candidate for president receives a majority of electoral votes, then the House of Representatives decides the election—the current House of Representatives. So the third-party candidate wouldn’t need to win a majority outright so long as no other candidate does either…..
Is it possible for a third-party candidate to actually win states? In 20 percent of twentieth-century elections, third-party candidates did just that (Roosevelt in 1912, La Follette in 1924, Thurmond in 1948, Byrd in 1960, Wallace in 1968). Now, none of them won the right combination of states to deny other candidates a majority, but that also happened twice, in 1824 electing John Quincy Adams and in 1876 electing Rutherford B. Hayes.
Obviously none of the primary data ultimately determines general election results. Not everyone votes in the primaries. But those who do vote are those most committed their candidates. If Trump doesn’t improve much from his primary total of 10 million, he’s in a heap of trouble come November. Meanwhile, Not Trump has almost 16 million voters, many of whom are experienced in the political process and could turn into the base of volunteers and organizers for the Not Trump candidate.
In calling for a third-party candidate, Sasse said we can’t have a purity test. While this is true to an extent, the candidate will need to be able to differentiate him- or herself from the two major front-runners, and unimpeachable integrity plus a respect for the Constitution and limited government would be the appropriate way to do that. They won’t be able to pull off a third-party run if they can’t get the 16 million “No Trump” voters excited and working for their cause.
So we need someone who cares more for principle than party, cares more for the country than for themselves (because, let’s face it, this probably isn’t going to be a fun ride), and who has the time and credibility to make the case for conservative values. Three names come to mind for the top of the ticket, with one more likely than the other two.
Once a candidate has agreed to throw his or her hat into the ring, he or she needs to get on the ballot. This will be the biggest and most time-sensitive hurdle. According to BallotPedia, to get on the ballot the candidates need to either secure the nomination of a party that is already guaranteed a spot on the ballot due to previous election tallies, petition state by state with a preset number of eligible voters to qualify for ballot access as an independent, or file some paperwork to be a viable choice as a write-in candidate.
The necessary signatures states require vary from 275 in Tennessee to 178,039 in California, and this is where it would be great to have the disaffected members of the Cruz and Jeb Bush campaigns coordinating efforts. Four state filing deadlines are coming up in June (North Carolina 6/9, Illinois 6/27, Indiana 6/30, New Mexico 6/30), and Texas’s just passed a few days ago, meaning the candidate would most likely need to mount a write-in campaign. (Write-ins have won statewide before, and Coburn would be known to his neighboring Texans).
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