An Update On The Circus Known As The 2016 Election

I’ve been saying since the day after the 2012 election that Hillary Clinton will be our next President. I haven’t deviated from that prediction since and I won’t now. In all likelihood, Clinton will win with an electoral map almost exactly identical to 2012. That’s my official analysis and prediction. But what if things got a little more interesting?

The Trump tape has basically sunk his campaign. Republicans are retreating from him en masse. The problem is they don’t know where to go. They definitely don’t want Clinton, but it seems only Trump can stop her. But is that fair?

I’ve detailed a long shot option before, but I’ll go over it again as well as some others that could be possibilities for those who want to do everything in their power to stop a Clinton presidency.

Option 1: Gary Johnson

This might sound crazy and counter intuitive, but if you want to stop Clinton, depending on the state where you live, the best way to do it might be to ditch Trump and vote Gary Johnson. Why? Because Gary Johnson supporters are not going to ditch Johnson to vote for Trump or Clinton. They are set. Trump supporters? Not so much. His support is more by default for being the Republican nominee.

So how would this work? Let’s look at the polls in Minnesota:

Clinton: 43%
Trump: 36%
Johnson: 11%

Ok so right now Minnesota looks safely in the Clinton camp. Every expert and pundit agrees that Minnesota will go for Clinton in 2016. But wait…what if you combine Trump’s 36% with Johnson’s 11%? Obviously this is incredibly unlikely to ever happen unless something totally insane happens. But if all of Trump’s supporters in Minnesota gave up on Trump and voted for Johnson, Clinton wouldn’t win Minnesota. Johnson would. That’s 10 less electoral votes for Clinton.

At this point, the entire conservative strategy should be about peeling electoral votes away from Clinton. The intuitive response is that they would go to Trump instead, but they don’t have to. You just have to keep Clinton from getting to 270 so that the election goes to the House where she is guaranteed not to win.

You could apply this strategy in Pennsylvania (20 votes), Michigan (16 votes), Virginia (13 votes), New Hampshire (4 votes), Rhode Island (4 votes), New Mexico (5 votes), Washington (12 votes) and Wisconsin (10 votes). That would be 99 electoral votes stolen from Clinton. There’s no way she gets to 270 if 99 go to Johnson.

What does that leave you? Clinton would end up around 240 or so, Trump about 200 and Johnson 99. No one has the 270 majority needed to win. So the House decides between the three candidates. Think a GOP controlled House chooses Clinton? Not a chance. Think they choose Trump? Possibly, but not very likely. The more likely outcome is that Democrats rally around an acceptable alternative to Trump and throw their support behind Johnson hoping to get a few state delegations to go with them.

Is it crazy? Yes. Will it happen? No. Could it? I suppose if the entire media focused on it non-stop and the GOP got behind this plan to dump Trump, then perhaps. But for all intents and purposes, this is a pipe dream. It would sure be interesting though, and an appropriate finish to this wild election.

Option 2: Evan McMullin

McMullin is a Mormon and a conservative. These two things make him very popular in basically one place: Utah. After the Trump tape, it looks like the Donald won’t be very popular in Utah. Clinton can conceivably win Utah. In fact that is the most likely outcome right now with Trump, McMullin and Johnson all doing well in the polls. The divided GOP in the state makes a perfect recipe for a unified Democratic presence to give Clinton the 6 electoral votes from the state.

McMullin lines up well with a majority of voters in the state however. Most plan to not vote for him because they see it as a wasted vote. But would it be? Not necessarily. If McMullin carries Utah and gets those 6 electoral votes and then neither Trump nor Clinton gets the 270 needed to clinch, the House chooses the President. And in that three way race, the House will almost certainly go with McMullin.

Of course, this counts on Trump carrying all the swing states like Ohio and Florida, which he probably won’t. He will be lucky to carry one of them. There is also the real possibility that Gary Johnson wins New Mexico, also 6 electoral votes. The rules say the top three electoral vote winners are in the running when the House chooses. If there is a tie at third place? I don’t know the rules then. But it would be fun to find out.

Again, no chance of this happening. Well, there is actually a strong chance McMullin carries Utah. I would bet he has better chances than Trump at this point. But the chances of Clinton losing basically every battleground state are zero.

Option 3: Other

This is probably the craziest Hail Mary yet, but it is one getting attention from the GOP. On election day, people aren’t actually voting for President. They are voting for electors to send to the electoral college to choose the President. If Trump wins Texas, then the GOP chosen electors from Texas attend the electoral college. If Clinton wins Virginia, then the Democrat chosen electors from Virginia attend the electoral college.

Rules about electoral voting are a bit fuzzy. Some states have laws requiring electors to vote for the candidate that won the state. But even then, they have no way of enforcing that law should an elector break it. Other states don’t have any requirements for electors.

So what if the GOP electors all came together and voted “Other” instead of Trump and then let the party leaders in the House decide who takes his place? Basically it would mean that Clinton would get her electoral votes, Trump would get some of his and “Other” would get the rest, ensuring no one gets the majority and letting the House choose. They could broadcast this plan widely before the election and tell people a vote for Trump isn’t a vote for Trump but a vote for a generic Republican to be decided upon in the coming weeks.

This would require so much to go right that there’s no way it could happen. First, Trump would have to actually win the election. Second, electors would have to be prepared to not elect the guy who won the election. Third, Trump would have to let them get away with that (likely lawsuit here). Fourth, Hell would have to be frozen over.

Still, there is a possibility that a vote for Trump wouldn’t be a vote for Trump but for a Republican. The party could then put Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, Mike Pence, John Kasich or whoever else in there under “Other.” Could it happen? Sure, I guess, anything can. I wouldn’t bet on it. But then again, this is 2016, the year of crazy.

Prediction

I’ll go on record here as saying Clinton wins this election easily. She will win the 2012 electoral map with a few exceptions. Iowa will go for Trump instead of Clinton. North Carolina will go for Clinton instead of Trump. And I know this might sound crazy, but I think Utah will go for Clinton. McMullin and Johnson will peel away too many votes from Trump for him to win. Trump won’t even get 200 electoral votes.

I do think the GOP holds on to the Senate, but just barely, with 51 or 52 seats. I also think the GOP maintains control of the House, but with closer to 230 seats.

2020 Election

While 2016 has been interesting, the more interesting election will be in 2020 when Clinton is up for re-election. What route does the GOP take? What type of candidate do they push for? What kind of party will they be? Will they change the primary rules to ensure a Trump type candidate never wins the nomination again?

That’s going to be the interesting thing to see. A lot of people are talking about the demise of the GOP. That’s rubbish. They aren’t going anywhere. They won’t be the party that falls apart or radically changes. I think that’s going to be the Democrats. Why?

In 2020 I suspect a Republican like Ted Cruz gets the nomination. The GOP hasn’t fielded a purely conservative candidate since ever. Bush wasn’t. McCain sure wasn’t. Romney was closer to the right but still not there. Trump is all over the place and even used to be a Democrat. I think the Tea Party wing of the party finally wins out and nominates a hard core conservative in 2020. And I predict that candidate promptly gets squashed by Clinton as the general liberalization of America continues. What that means is older conservative voters are dying while younger liberal voters are coming of age. America is moving to the left and 2020 will prove it when a far right candidate gets destroyed by a center-left candidate.

And at that point the Democratic party implodes. Wait…what?

Yeah, that’s right, the Democrats will fall apart. The Republicans will have moved so far right that they will represent maybe 30% of the country at that point. The Democrats will continue their move towards the center to attract those disaffected Republicans and other independent voters. The Democrats will then be representing about 50% of the country. But that leaves 20%. Who are they?

You may recall one Bernie Sanders this election. He represented the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. There are plenty more like him, such as Elizabeth Warren. But as the Republicans move further right and leave moderates out, the Democrats will move to pick them up. The progressive wing of the party will just give up at that point and form a major third party or join the Green Party. They will recognize what they already know, that is, that Democrats don’t actually represent them at all. Clinton sure doesn’t. She is about as moderate and centrist as they get.

Of course, these progressives prefer a candidate leaning left as opposed to leaning right. But the dissatisfaction will boil over as they gain little to no influence in the party. They will provide balance to the Republicans while the Democrats will then fill the center of the spectrum. So it’s not the GOP I see splintering up. It’s the Democrats. The GOP will simply move farther right while the progressives will form or join the true party of the left. It will probably look that way until the Baby Boomers are all dead and gone and the Gen X folks take their place as the old retired people.

But that is looking pretty far ahead. Suffice it to say, if the GOP nominates a big time conservative in 2020, that’s their future direction. If they try to get back to being center-right they could go with a Marco Rubio or Jon Huntsman type or maybe even Paul Ryan if he moves that way. That maintains our current balance where Democrats try to placate the left while fighting over the center and Republicans try to placate the right while fighting over the center.

Well you know what they say. Every day a conservative dies and a liberal turns 18. America will continue its shift toward the left and that could mean any number of possibilities for both parties. Should be fun to watch.