How a third-party ticket could fix the GOP’s Trump problem

REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Donald Trump arriving at a campaign rally in Eugene, Ore., last Friday.

As you read this, meetings are being held among Republicans unhappy with the all-but-certain nomination of Donald Trump about whether it is too late to launch a third-party ticket, in what states the not-officially-Republican ticket could get on the ballot, who should be on such a ticket, and/or what the impact of such an effort would be.

Weekly Standard editor, Bill Kristol, who is pushing hard for a third option, said recently on CNN that he believes there is a 50-50 chance that such ticket will be formed and will try to get on as many ballots as possible.

If I had to guess, I would guess the idea will fizzle. It’s hard to see it leading to a happy place for the Republican Party or its freaked-out-by-Trump establishment. But when the talk of this third-party ticket idea came up on “Face the Nation” Sunday, a comment by one of the righties on the panel of political experts caught me off guard. The panelist in question was Ben Domenech of The Federalist, whose righty sources are certainly more numerous than mine. He said, referring to the new third-party-for-establishment-Republicans idea:

“I certainly agree with you that it’s a challenge. But I also think that in this conversation about the third party side, there’s two aims that you would have with that. One would be to prevent either candidate from getting to the point where they have enough electoral votes. So it could throw it to the House of Representatives along the lines of what happened in the early 1800s.

“But you could also see a situation with that where they simply want a candidate on the ballot so that Republican voters who are opposed to Trump will turn out supporting down ticket candidates.”

OK, that second reason seems rational. You’re GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan. You’ve given up on getting a Republican president under the circumstances. You’re worried about losing your majority in the House and the Senate and about Republican candidates at all levels. You believe that many Republican voters will fail to turn out at all if Trump is the nominee, so many that you may lose other races as well. So you are thinking whether getting a more typical Republican onto the ballot will help that turnout, and help your Republican candidates at other levels. Seems like a reach, but not much of one, at least for having the discussion.

It was the reference to “the early 1800s” and to “throw[ing] it to the House of Representatives” that got me. There’s only one election that fits. He has to be talking about 1824, the only time in history that the presidential candidate who got the most popular votes and the most electoral votes failed to win the presidency. It’s a wild tale.

Only one party

This was a brief period in U.S. history when there was only one national political party. They called themselves the Democratic Republicans and they descended from Jefferson and Madison. In 1820, Democratic Republic President James Monroe was the only candidate for president and got every electoral vote except one, which, at least according to legend, was cast by a guy who thought George Washington should be the only president to ever to win unanimously (and it worked).

The Democratic Republicans did not have a powerful or worked-out system for nominating a candidate. The nominating convention had not been invented yet. The old system in which members of Congress pretty much chose the nominee was collapsing. So four relatively powerful and popular party leaders all sought electoral votes any way they could. In some states there were elections. But in some the electors were still chosen directly by the state legislature.

If you counted the popular votes in those states that held election, Andrew Jackson, military leader and a U.S. senator from Tennessee at the time, got the most votes, but only 41 percent to 31 percent of  second-place vote-getter John Quincy Adams, the secretary of state at the time. The Electoral College (which only takes one vote) also gave Jackson the most electoral votes (99). But Adams had 84, third-place finisher William Crawford had 41 and Henry Clay had 37.

As you may know, the Electoral College system, as amended, indicated that if no one got a majority, the election was thrown into the U.S. House. The House, voting on a one-state, one-vote basis, would keep balloting until someone had the support of a majority of the states, but the House had to choose from among the top three finishers in the electoral vote. If Clay, who was speaker of the House at the time, had finished in the top three, he probably could have been elected. But he finished fourth.

Clay ended up throwing his support to Adams (the runner-up in both the popular and electoral vote) and Adams became president. He also appointed Clay to be his secretary of state. Adams was the fourth consecutive secretary of state to become president, and choosing Clay as his secretary state was widely perceived as the result of a “corrupt bargain” by which Clay would make Adams president and Adams would give Clay the job that would eventually make him the next president. (It didn’t work. Jackson ran again four years later and won in a landslide against Adams.)

Saving the GOP

Still, this story must be what Domenech means when he said one purpose for running a third slate in 2016 would be to throw the election into the House. How would that help the Repub establishment with their Trump problem?

Again, there’s only one way. It’s very unlikely, it’s triply unlikely, but it’s the only way they could be discussing where this saves the Republicans from the horrors of either a Trump presidency or a Hillary Clinton presidency.

When Kristol, who is pushing this idea, was asked who would be the nominee, he mentioned Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska. But, for the sake of discussing how it might play out, let’s assume the third party-ticket would be Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan, a replay from 2012. (Romney and Ryan are at least in the discussion on whether anti-Trump Republicans should pursue this Third Party idea.)

The Romney-Ryan ticket has to carry some states for this to work (and I have no idea whether it would carry any). It would have to carry enough states to deprive either Clinton or Trump of an Electoral College majority. The math on that is daunting, unless you believe the third-party ticket is going to carry several states. But if they do, the choice of the president is thrown into the House. For this to work, the sitting Republican House members would have to widely agree that they would vote for Romney, even though he would not be the party’s nominee and even though his ticket might have finished third in both the popular and electoral vote.

But if they did, you should know this: In the current Congress, 33 states have a majority of Republicans in their House delegations. If they all stuck together, they could make third-place finisher Romney president.

By the way, a last weird detail: In the event that nobody gets an Electoral College majority, the choice of the vice president is thrown into the Senate, and the Senate must choose from the vice presidential nominees of the top TWO finishers. If this weird scenario came to pass, and if the Romney-Ryan ticket finished third, the Senate would have to choose as vice president either Trump’s or Clinton’s running-mate.

Isn’t this a pretty system?

Comments (39)

  1. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 05/10/2016 - 10:24 am.

    Count me

    among those who have come to believe that our sacred Constitution has become anathema to democratic government. I’m sure the “Founding Fathers”, who were intelligent men, would be appalled if they could come back to see that they had become revered as demigods and their document had become an iron straight jacket strangling the people they hoped to free from tyranny. It reminds me of the Jared Diamond books describing the cultures which perished because of their inability to release themselves from absurd religious rites and customs that prevented them from feeding themselves.

    The idea of throwing the election into the House seems far fetched. But if the goal is simply to save the obstructionists currently holding the government hostage from losing their positions, it makes sense.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/10/2016 - 10:35 am.

    There’s a greater likelihood

    of Bernie Sanders winning as a third party candidate than any name the existing republican establishment could come up with.

    If they were smart (yeah, I know) they would put their efforts, financial and otherwise, towards supporting a Sanders third party challenge instead of one from the right. Why?

    1. As Hillary keeps reminding us, Sanders has never been a real member of the democrat party anyway, so the move would not be ideologically inconsistent.
    2. In polls, 43% of democrats are self-described socialists … half the party already agrees with him.
    3. He already has the name-recognition that any new candidate would have to have.

    And if Hillary is indicted before election day, it’ll give young democrats someone to vote for other than Biden.

    • Submitted by Mike Davidson on 05/10/2016 - 11:32 am.

      Have to Disagree on that one …

      1. Hillary Clinton will not be indicted on anything. It’s time to move beyond that thinking. It’s not going to happen.

      2. There’s a reason Bernie Sanders joined the Democratic Party last year – he knew he had no chance in hell of winning a general election as an Independent. He may be raising money hand over fist, but it would be wildly inaccurate to say his campaign is and has been solely funded by individual donations. Sanders needs the Democratic Party, it’s money and resources, and a Democratic Congress (at least a Senate).

      3. Which polls are you referencing? She’s not only ahead by pledged delegates but by popular votes as well.

    • Submitted by Roy Everson on 05/10/2016 - 11:46 am.

      You can look it up

      What is the “democrat party.”? For over 150 years it’s been known as the Democratic Party. Google democrat party and you find it’s intended as a slur. I suppose if you don’t mind the other party referred to as the White Men’s Party then I will overlook your insults.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/10/2016 - 12:00 pm.

      Minnpost rules

      Per https://www.minnpost.com/inside-minnpost/2012/09/commenters-minnpost-wants-your-views-respectfully:

      “We do not allow the use of nicknames for people or groups that are meant to denigrate or deride. The use of ‘Democrat’ as an adjective is one such example”.

      It is not “the democrat party”. It is the “Democratic” party.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/10/2016 - 01:05 pm.

      Please provide a source

      for point 2.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/10/2016 - 01:37 pm.

        Google

        “43% of democrats are self-described socialists” and take your pick of articles.

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/10/2016 - 03:57 pm.

          Wrong

          You made the claim, you back it up.

          Especially when a quick look at what you suggest leads to various websites (I won’t go so far as to call them articles) containing the statement that 43% of Democratic Iowa caucus attendees were self-described socialists.

          That’s only Iowa. That’s only caucus goers. So that’s a percent of a percent of a percent. And a FAR cry from your implication that your statement applies to ALL Democrats.

          The ball is still in your court, and its barely bouncing.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/10/2016 - 05:01 pm.

            Just Curious

            What percentage of primary voters are voting for Sanders?

            That may be a pretty good measure of how many Democrats are actually Democratic Socialists in disguise. 🙂

            By Delegates to Date: (no super delegates)
            Clinton 1705, Sanders 1415, Total = 3120

            Interesting… 1415 / 3120 = 45%

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/10/2016 - 06:46 pm.

              You’re still talking about

              voters in primaries, not the electorate in general.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/10/2016 - 08:57 pm.

                Sample

                It is a pretty big sample size…. Just curious. Why do Democrats seem to get nervous at the concept that many Democrats are actual philosophically Democratic Socialists at heart?

                I mean many Liberals want us to adopt the Northern Europe policies.

                • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 05/11/2016 - 08:22 am.

                  Wrong assumption

                  No one gets nervous about how many are Democratic Socialists, we just ask that you not assume that that label applies to every Sanders supporter. Unless, of course, I can also assume every Trump supporter is an Islamophobic racist?

                  • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/11/2016 - 09:31 am.

                    Not only that . . .

                    but also, the usage of the term is sloppy. Not only has it been pointed out many times how few people seem to understand exactly what being “socialist” means (witness all the “socialist” accusations leveled at Obama since he entered the national stage) but it can’t even be applied consistently within a single discussion. Look how seamlessly Dennis’ original assertion of “socialist” was morphed into “Democratic Socialist” – and yet the discussion continues as if they (and the application of the labels) are one and the same.

                    They’re not, and as long as discussions like this fail to acknowledge that, it is proper to resist the inaccurate application of either label, especially to an entire segment of voters.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/11/2016 - 04:08 pm.

                      Correct, I carefully chose the relatively precise term that is aligned with Sanders and Northern Europe. And the term that is used by the DSA.

                      http://www.dsausa.org/what_is_democratic_socialism

                      I think folks who want to break up big corporations, want single gov’t payer healthcare, want gov’t paid for higher education, etc would be pretty comfortable at a DSA meeting.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/11/2016 - 04:37 pm.

                    Interesting

                    Do you think the term “Democratic Socialists” is similar in some way to “Islamophobic racist”?

                    I guess I don’t see Democratic Socialists as a negative term. They are just people who think the government (politicians and bureaucrats) can do a better job of controlling the expenditure of our money than we can… I just disagree with them.

                    • Submitted by chuck holtman on 05/12/2016 - 12:03 pm.

                      The question of “socialism”

                      Is about the level of collective involvement in questions of production (what is produced, how it is priced), not about collective spending (except derivatively by displacing markets). The defining consideration in applying market concepts under orthodox welfare economics is market failure. The defining consideration for collective production is what is referred to, correlatively, as bureaucratic failure. The “socialism” question, namely where (along the continuum between private and collective) production decisions are made, and how that varies by economic sector, is a matter of minimizing the sum of market and bureaucratic failures or, synonymously, welfare losses. A “socialist” or “Democratic socialist” is just someone whose analysis convinces them that welfare losses would be reduced by there being, generally speaking, more of a collective role in our production decisions. There shouldn’t be any ideological judgment attached to it, positive or negative.

                • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/11/2016 - 09:52 am.

                  A big sample size

                  can still be biased — this one was.
                  And the fact remains that most Democrats do not consider themselves Socialists (Democratic or other) because, while they admire some of the policies adopted by some Northern European countries, they do not necessarily believe with the underlying philosophic assumptions.
                  Neither, of course, do many Northern Europeans.
                  Suggested reading:
                  “American Amnesia”
                  by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson. 2016

                  They explain why a mixed government (government performing the tasks that it performs best; private business doing its part) is superior to either pure socialism or pure capitalism.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 05/11/2016 - 04:31 pm.

                    Continuum

                    I agree that it is not precise or accurate, however I think it directionally correct.

                    My view as usual is that modern mixed economies go from government controlling 25% of GDP to 55% of GDP. According to this source we are at ~38.8%, so we are almost exactly in the middle. Folks who want government paid for and controlled healthcare and higher education definitely are voting for the Social Democracy model. (ie closer to 55%)

                    https://data.oecd.org/gga/general-government-spending.htm

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/10/2016 - 07:38 pm.

            I attended the DFL caucus

            in Mankato. The !st District is about as close to Iowa as you can get in Minnesota. The turnout was (as expected) twice as high as normal.
            It was filled to the gills with Bernie’s kids. Most of them stayed just long enough to get their vote registered, and then left without participating in the full caucus (discussing and voting on resolutions, for instance). Most of them were young (a number brought young kids and infants with them). I doubt that all of them were old enough to have voted before.
            This means that there were two groups of people at the party:
            One group were the ‘party regulars’ who attend caucuses regularly, and do the kind of work necessary to make the DFL a functional group.
            The other group was much younger and single issue — voting for Bernie. Most of them had no interest in actual issues and did not stay to take part in discussions of the resolutions that the party would support.
            So a poll of the people who showed up would have probably given the same results as the Des Moines register poll you cite; a large number of people labeling themselves as ‘socialist’, without much of an idea of what that means. If the poll were taken 15 minutes after the votes (the first order of business) were counted, it would have been much different.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/10/2016 - 03:45 pm.

      Slight overstatement

      A quick Google search shows that the “43%” is the number of Iowa caucus goers who agree on a “Selzer & Co.” poll that they would accept the label of Socialist.
      It’s well known that caucus goers are no representative of voters in general (just go to a caucus and see), so Bernie would need a lot more than that to have a chance, even in Iowa.
      He’ll continue shouting as long as the mics are live, but he’s no longer in the race, and he knows it. His fundraising (probably the best indicator) has dropped off radically.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 05/10/2016 - 10:35 am.

    Dear “strict constructionists”

    In the absence of the late Justice Scalia, be careful what you wish for…

  4. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/10/2016 - 10:59 am.

    Clintonism 3rd Term

    If HRC is essentially WJC in a pants suit I just don’t get the sheer terror on the part of the GOP for Clintonism 3rd Term, other than simple personal hate. Take away the noise and fury of Whitewater and Bimbo Eruptions and WJC was certainly no Bernie Sanders. HRC would give a predictable, big business accommodating, rational decision making, middle of the road Presidency like WJC. On the other side of the coin our choice is how we create a religious ID test for entry into the US: an impossible task even if we all agreed it should be done, building a crazy wall that we know can’t be practically done:

    “It’s like getting a pet walrus,” Oliver said. “You think it’s stupid now. Wait until you learn what a bucket of sea cucumbers costs.”

    http://fortune.com/2016/03/21/john-oliver-trump-wall-mexico/

    And to top it all off, Trump is at his core a deal maker and the core of the Tea Party right is “no compromise, no deals”. Who does that leave him to bargain with? Nancy Pelosi. And Trump may be a grand bargainer; but, he knows you do not get without giving.

    A Trump Presidency will essentially be NASCAR: most folks are watching simply to see the inevitable crash. And to my friends now acclimating themselves to voting for Trump, please remember your 401k, thousands of young soldiers and the nuclear button are all riding along with him.

  5. Submitted by Jim Million on 05/10/2016 - 11:26 am.

    Saving the GOP?

    By forming a Third Party of Irrelevance?? Wanting to make sure there is a “Republican” president?

    Krystol & Company, dependably sober, serious and generally well-measured guys, are in a true panic. What is it they do not understand about Indiana? There could have been no greater repudiation of their extremity than the failure of Cruz to make what usually would be a Hoosier “layup.”

    Thanks for focusing on this dying declaration, Eric. Listen carefully, everyone. We are hearing the GOP death rattle.

    [Merriam-Webster “Reactionary” Synonyms: archconservative, brassbound, button-down (or buttoned-down), die-hard, hidebound, mossbacked, old-fashioned, old-line, old-school, orthodox, paleoconservative, conservative, standpat, traditional, traditionalistic, ultraconservative, unprogressive.]

    I particularly like “brassbound” and “paleoconservative.”

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/10/2016 - 04:56 pm.

      What do Republicans Want?

      “Wanting to make sure there is a ‘Republican” president?’ Not going to happen, at least not this year. The best they can hope for is a way to avoid too much down-ticket damage by a Trump candidacy. I doubt anyone thinks Senator Sasse–just another tea party stalwart, but this time with a nice suit and no misspellings on his signs–has a serious chance of making an impact in the race. Throwing the election into the House is a fantasy used to justify what is yet another act of desperation.

      I always thought of “paleoconservatives” as too conservative and elitist in their cultural values to get along with the modern Republicans. They don’t approve of feminism or multiculturalism, but they also aren’t going to be too fond of Duck Dynasty, or the idea of making coal rolling an Olympic sport.

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 05/10/2016 - 06:13 pm.

        Thanks, RB

        More than a chuckle here, and I’m prepared in saving this one for now:

        How do you find a paleoconservative? Fly toward the Sun, then turn to the Third Rock on the Right.

        I have absolutely no idea what Republicans want; nor, do they, as months of primary results indicate.
        Maybe its time for both parties to re-define their internal segments–or break up to form definable entities, but then we’d have European politics of some sort. Don’t think that will happen.

        This year is a very good revelation (and test) of party composition, on both sides of the center line. Conventions are places for platform building. Isn’t it rather refreshing that we do have multiple carpenters this time ? I generally wait until Fall before believing much of what any of these people say.

  6. Submitted by Mike Davidson on 05/10/2016 - 11:37 am.

    The GOP has to be …

    … very careful how they proceed. The Senate is in play again and Democrats only need to net four to take it back and make McConnell a minority leader again. Every seat in the House is up, and while I don’t think it’s mathematically possible for Democrats to regain control of the US House until after the 2020 Census (thank you gerrymandering of 2011), winning as many seats as possible between now and then will weak Paul Ryan and his caucus.

    If the Republican Establishment pulls something shady at the last minute to try and circumvent Trump, then they risk alienating all the voters who would turn out to vote for Trump and every open Republican seat down ticket. Then each and every GOP US House member and GOP US Senator up for reelection has to decide if they want to play with the establishment or play with Trump. And it just trickles down from there to state houses and gubernatorial mansions (the ones that are in play this year, anyway).

    Trump is the only candidate who has the financial resources to immediately mount a third party run should the GOP find a way to deny him, and we would likely see a repeat of 1992 where Ross Perot split the Republican vote easily handing Bill Clinton the White House.

  7. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 05/10/2016 - 12:45 pm.

    A third party ” mounted” by Trump?

    So, what to call it…the Third Right or Right-stag?

    Either/or seems to fit the diorama?

  8. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 05/10/2016 - 01:12 pm.

    Feel the Bern!

    A third party challenger resulted in giving us Bill Clinton and now a GOP type third party may stick us with another Clinton.

    However – Bernie is in a great position to run as a third party candidate. That would fix the GOP’s “trump problem” by electing Trump as President. Winning solves a lot of problems.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/10/2016 - 02:58 pm.

      False

      Clinton would have defeated Bush in a two-person race. Perot took votes from both sides.

      • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 05/10/2016 - 08:45 pm.

        false?

        Not everyone agrees with your conclusion. Ross P. got 19% of the vote and many thing it made a difference in some key states.

        However – let us see what a 3rd party run by Bernie would do to Hillary.

        If Mr. Black can post such wishful thinking for the GOP…let us try it on the Democratic side. Please…

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/11/2016 - 10:02 am.

          Polling

          While not everyone may agree and some think it made a difference, those people are wrong. Its a good narrative that Perot threw the election to Bush, but its a false one. The polling showed Clinton would have won a 2-person race by the same margins.

          A third-party run by Bernie would cause Hillary to lose, just as a viable conservative candidate would ensure a Trump loss. No secret there.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/10/2016 - 03:25 pm.

      And that’s the only way

      that Trump will win.
      See
      http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/05/04/upshot/electoral-map-trump-clinton.html

  9. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 05/10/2016 - 01:43 pm.

    A clear choice

    Between Clinton and Trump, the country will have a clear choice. The same would be true for any Democratic Party candidate. It is no fun to lose the nomination and it is OK to consider one the other or both as not the perfect candidate, but does one exist in today’s world. Essentially, the last candidate everyone seems to like was Ike – 64 years ago.

    So quit making up scenarios and start dealing with our situation as it is and as it will be. Few Americans will give any legitimacy to a third party candidate entirely running to cause the House of Representatives, a scarcely competent group of individuals making our bad situation worse. The Republican Party choose very unwisely and doesn’t need to have “Daddy” in the form of Romney bal them out. Sometime you need to let the kids suffer the consequences of their actions. Hillary is sensible, diplomatic and not going to create enemies and carry out vendettas, She knows how things works in Washington and the world, living eight years in the White House, serving as a US senator and being Secretary of State. She is as well prepared for the job as Trump is not.

    The thing that people haven’t figured out is that the true dysfunction in Washington is not in the Executive Branch, which has continued to make timely tough decisions. The problem isn’t even the court, despite being conservative, has done it job effiiciently. The problem is Congress and the universe of lobbyist and think tanks that surrounds it. If you look, several leaders are well beyond the time they should have retired (term limits for Senate and House Leaders has appeal), and many incumbents (based on what they haven’t accomplished) and candidates (based on the crazy priorities they suggest) should not be sent to Washington. We look at the big tree, but ignore the forest that is Congress – quite disease ridden.

    Your really shouldn’t have to think too much to figure out who to vote for President – either one standards out, or if you hate both, vote write-in or third party. However, your local people – they deserve serious scrutiny – not just from voters, but from MN Post and other media organizations.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/10/2016 - 04:15 pm.

      Legislative Jeopardy

      Answer:
      25% Of the workforce is past the age of 70.

      Question:
      What is the age make up of the US Senate?

      It is a total joke: if these jobs required any kind of rigor what-so-ever these dysfunctional old codgers would be long gone…

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/11/2016 - 10:36 am.

      You make an excellent point! Congress–and its attendant pressure groups of lobbyists and fundraiser/bundler–is the problem, not the Executive (particularly not, under the Obama executive, which is a notoriously tight ship).

      And, in the Congress, there is one party that obstructs as a matter of self-definition: the Republicans. Let’s unelect them this fall!

  10. Submitted by Hugh Gitlin on 05/10/2016 - 02:07 pm.

    Romney-Ryan Gives it to Clinton

    Clinton’s floor in swing states is about 47%

    With Trump & Romney splitting votes in those states, there is no way Clinton loses the following: Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Arizona, & North Carolina.

  11. Submitted by chuck holtman on 05/11/2016 - 11:27 am.

    The article concerns the GOP’s “Trump problem”

    But nowhere are we told what the “Trump problem” is.

    Does the GOP establishment object to Mr. Trump’s worldview or policy orientation? Does it, pragmatically, fear that he will drive away potential GOP voters in the short or long term by saying things publicly that the GOP establishment only says in private? Does it resent him for swooping in and stealing the “customers,” i.e., the electoral base, that it has spent so much effort to cultivate over the past so many years? Is it simply panicked that as an “outsider” he will upset the hermetic gravy train that has kept its members all so nicely sinecured for so long?

    I’d like to help it work thru its problem, but without knowing exactly what the problem is, we can’t really have a coherent conversation about it. Of course, some perspicacious members of the GOP establishment might recognize that what it has is not a “Trump problem” but a “GOP problem” – i.e., a long-term policy platform and electoral strategy that instead of creating confident, thoughtful, engaged citizens, creates economic insecurity, stokes fear and presents false enemies to distract from underlying causes – just the conditions fertile for a charismatic authoritarian leader. Trump wasn’t a surprise, he was an inevitability. And he isn’t the worst we’ll see.

  12. Submitted by Doug Gray on 05/12/2016 - 11:10 am.

    minor (?) quibble

    The Electoral College ballots will be opened January 6, 2017. The first meeting of the new Congress (since Amendment XX) is January 3. So the new House, not the old one, would pick the new President; and the Republicans would have to hold majorities in 26 of the new state delegations to prevail.

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