Over the past few months, establishment Republicans – also known as the Dump Trump Movement – have been on a mission to destroy Donald Trump’s campaign. They don’t control him, so they are desperate to stop him from getting the nomination.
If Trump wins, their empire could come crashing down and the gravy train would come off the rails. As I said over at Examiner, “his victory would be the end of their own little world of lobbying interests and the ‘good ol’ boy’ network of back-slaps, under-the-table compromises and secret deals.”
As soon as they started to think Trump could win the nomination, they put money into Trump Card LLC, run by former RNC employee, Liz Mair. This was funded by supposedly secret donors because the big guns didn’t want their names associated with it – after all, they may need Trump later, if he wins despite their attempts at sabotage.
One of their ideas to stop ‘The Donald‘ was to run a third-party candidate if he wins the nomination. On Saturday, this idea surfaced again, in remarks by Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Both of these men are rumored to see themselves as the third wheel Republican candidate.
These people are crazy! They can’t have thought this through very well. First, it would take a massive effort to get on state ballots. Even if they were able to do that, they would need to persuade registered voters that the candidate is legitimate. If they could clear that hurdle, they would need to discard the party rules to retain members of the Electoral College.
Do they have enough control to be able to do all of that? If they are talking about it, they obviously think they could pull it off.
Anti-Trump forces know the nomination hurdle is set at 1,237 delegates. If they can stop Trump from getting that many votes, they may have a chance of derailing him. If they fail to stop him, Trump would win the first ballot and the establishment players exit with their political tails between their legs.
If the establishment continues to play dirty, it would be right out in the open, and this is where Trump could outplay them, by going third-party himself. He would take millions of primary voters with him, and cast the GOP adrift. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), is rabidly opposed to Trump’s possible nomination, by Graham knows too well the political consequences if the New Yorker is forced out.
The anti-Trump organizers are betting that a large number of Republican voters would not vote for him. They would be left with the prospect of the third-party “conventional Republican” candidate running. This is a dangerous game because it would also give a huge advantage to the presumed Democratic nominee (Clinton). Trump’s critics are also betting that if they can stop him getting the nomination one way or another, his supporters will not vote for Hillary Clinton anyway, so they have no worry about boosting her campaign.
Ohio Northern University professor, Robert M. Alexander says what the establishment Republicans are thinking about doing is actually an historic fact. Electors have been lobbied to change their votes in each election cycle since 2000. So there is a possibility a third-party candidate could gain enough votes to deny Trump the 270 vote threshold.
It is very rare that a group of electors switch candidates, but if enough Republican electors are so dead set against Trump taking the nomination, even if he wins the popular vote, they could side with a third-party candidate.
You can bet that this would then play out in the courts.