Trump Checkmates Hillary: Was The Election Over Before It Began?
Hillary Clinton will become the official presidential candidate of the Democratic Party next week but she may have already lost the White House. The only way Hillary can become president in 2016 is by winning the Electoral College. The 2016 election has become a four party race. That creates the real possibility that no one will win the Electoral College this year. If no one wins the Electoral College, a contingent election will be held in the House. The contingent election will automatically hand the presidency to Donald Trump.
The only way to stop Donald Trump from becoming president is for another candidate to secure the 270 electors required to win the Electoral College. Every other scenario results in Trump winning the White House. Trump has a good chance of winning the Electoral College himself. If Trump prevails in the Electoral College, it will probably be by using the same divide and conquer strategy he used to win the Republican nomination.
Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton because he may need her acquiescence later to enact parts of his agenda. Nevertheless, Sanders hasn’t suspended his campaign. Bernie feels a moral imperative to stop Donald Trump. If he becomes convinced that Hillary can’t defeat Trump, Bernie has left himself an option: Bernie could still join the Green Party.
Rigged For His Pleasure
The contingent election is rigged against Hillary Clinton. All of the other candidates must win the Electoral College to secure the presidency. Donald Trump can place third in the Electoral College and still prevail in the contingent election.
Here are the rules:
A candidate must secure 270 of the 538 electors to win the Electoral College. If no candidate wins it, the three candidates who received the most electoral votes will face off in a contingent election. 50 votes are cast representing the 50 states. 26 votes are required to secure the presidency. Delegations from two-thirds of the states are required to hold the election. It’s unclear who would decide the votes of the 16 missing states in their absence. 50 members of the House of Representatives will be selected to cast a paper ballot. There are no rules governing how these 50 electors are to be selected. The elector’s ballots are kept completely secret; no one will ever know who elected the president.
Donald Trump can place third in the Electoral College and still become president because the House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans 247 to 187. That gives Trump a 60 member advantage in the contingent election. Because it’s almost impossible to unseat an incumbent, there are actually only about 20 seats in the House that are up for grabs this year. Even if Democrats win all 20 elections in November, Republicans will still control the House by 40 seats.
Hillary Clinton apologized to Republicans recently saying she acknowledges her part in creating the division. She wasn’t just addressing the public. Hillary was also appealing to the 247 Republican members of the House of Representatives.
Divide And Conquer
Like the Republican primary, the Electoral College is a winner-take-all system. Even an unpopular candidate can become president by exploiting its weaknesses. To understand how this might play out, let’s look at how Trump won the Republican primary.
On May 3, 2016, Donald Trump became the Republican party’s presumptive nominee after defeating Ted Cruz in the Indiana primary. Up to that point in time, Trump had earned the votes of less than 5% of eligible voters. Those votes were enough to secure him the Republican nomination. By the end of the primary, more ballots had been cast both for and against Trump than any candidate in Republican primary history. Even after reaching these milestones, the total votes Donald Trump received only amounted to about 6.5% of eligible voters or less than 5% of the total population.
Trump was able to win through a small group of voters because the Republican primary is a winner-take-all system. Trump only had to win a plurality of votes, not a majority, to win 100% of the delegates in most states. In some states, the field was divided with up to 17 candidates. Trump was able to win all of the delegates in many states even though he only earned a small percentage of the popular vote.
The 2016 presidential election is rapidly becoming a four party race. In a four way race, Trump could win states with as little as 26% of the popular vote. But, as you’ll remember, Trump doesn’t need to win the Electoral College at all; he only has to place third in it. If a candidate were elected with far less than a majority of Americans supporting them, what might they do to stay in power?
The Ghost Of 1824
Over half of the electoral votes are required to win the Electoral College. In a two party race, one candidate always wins it. That’s why the two party system evolved. Any time there are more than two candidates in the presidential race, it creates the possibility that no candidate will win the Electoral College. Until we replace the Electoral College, an uncertainty about third parties will remain.
The majority of Americans are unhappy with the choice they’ve been given by the two major parties this year. That explains why Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are surging in the polls. We are now in a four-way race: Republican, Democrat, Green, and Libertarian.
American voters may soon find themselves in a position they haven’t been in since the 1824 presidential election. What happened in that race could be an indication of where this election is heading. No campaign won the Electoral College in 1824 because the electors were split between four candidates: Andrew Jackson (99), John Quincy Adams (84), William H. Crawford (41), and Henry Clay (37). There were 261 electoral votes available; 131 electors were needed to secure the presidency.
Andrew Jackson won the popular vote in 1824 and finished first in the Electoral College, but he did not go on to become our sixth president. John Quincy Adams was elected president by 50 members of the House of Representatives in a contingent election on Feb. 8, 1825. The votes were kept secret and to this day no one can answer the question: who the hell died and elected John Quincy Adams president?
After being denied his rightful place as president, Andrew Jackson remarked, “the Judas of the West has closed the contract and will receive the thirty pieces of silver. Was there ever witnessed such a bare-faced corruption in any country before?” The ghost of Andrew Jackson haunts the 2016 presidential election because the rules of Electoral College haven’t been altered since 1804.
If either the Green or Libertarian party manages to win even one Electoral College vote, it could result in no campaign winning the Electoral College this year. The election would then be decided by 50 members of the House in a secret vote. To make the situation even more tenuous for Democrats, a third party candidate doesn’t have to win a single electoral vote to derail Hillary Clinton. A third party could simply shift the electoral math in Donald Trump’s favor, allowing him to win the Electoral College.
Third parties have a history of spoiling races for Democrats. Look no further than the 2000 presidential election. The Green Party’s Candidate, Ralph Nader, was accused of flipping the swing state of Florida to Bush. This may have have changed the outcome of the election. Al Gore won the popular vote but the presidency went to Bush.
Democrats like to scapegoat Ralph Nader for their loss in 2000. The truth is that many factors contributed to the upset in Florida. 250,000 Florida Democrats voted for George Bush that year. Republicans used voter suppression to reduce Florida’s Democratic vote. Even with other factors taken into account, the fact remains: had the Green Party not been in the race, Al Gore would have won the presidency in 2000.
The third party candidates in the 2016 race are a mortal threat to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. Jill Stein and Gary Johnson both subtract more votes from Hillary Clinton’s column than they do from Donald Trump’s. The Green Party’s presumptive nominee, Jill Stein, aligns perfectly with Bernie Sanders on almost every issue.
Libertarian Candidate Gary Johnson also draws more votes from Hillary. As fiscal conservatives, Libertarians champion low taxes and small government. Unlike Republicans, they are very socially liberal. Libertarians are actually to the left of Bernie Sanders on certain key issues. Johnson says he agrees with Bernie Sanders on just about everything.
What’s So Super About These Delegates?
Donald Trump has many paths to the White House but his competitors only have one: they must win the Electoral College. It would take a very strong candidate to block every path Donald Trump has to the White House. That’s why Bernie Sanders still hasn’t dropped out of the presidential race. Bernie lost the primary but he could still be nominated; he hasn’t played all of his cards yet. Bernie still has the Trump card up his sleeve and he still holds the green card.
Bernie Sanders may be the only candidate who can still defeat Donald Trump. His strength comes from his ability to unite voters of the Democratic, Libertarian, and Green parties with a majority of independent voters. His coalition would form the largest voting bloc in American politics. A voting bloc of that size would easily secure the majority of electors needed to win the Electoral College.
The superdelegates at the Democratic National Convention were created to ensure that the party nominates a candidate who can win the general election. Superdelegates were not devised to artificially stack the primary deck in favor of an establishment candidate. Hillary Clinton used the superdelegates to give herself a head start in the primary race. That was a perversion of the nominating process. Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning in November are getting worse every day. As unlikely as it may be, Bernie Sanders could still be named nominee at the Democratic National Convention if the superdelegates do the job they were intended for.
Bernie And Jill Went Up The Hill
The power of a third party to derail the Electoral College gives Jill Stein leverage over the Democratic National Committee. If Bernie Sanders becomes the Democratic nominee, her spoiler threat is neutralized; almost 100% of Green Party members would vote for Bernie Sanders. But If Democrats make the wrong choice and nominate Hillary Clinton, Hillary’s presidential hopes could be dashed by Jill Stein.
For the last few months, Jill Stein has been making it known that Bernie has a place at the top of the Green Party ticket. If the Democratic National Convention fails to nominate Bernie, he may take Jill Stein up on her offer. Bernie Sanders would replace Jill Stein as the Green Party’s 2016 presidential nominee.
Jill Stein commented on Meet the Press that when Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton, it was almost as if he had endorsed the Green Party. Green Party donations soared by 1000% in the immediate wake of the endorsement.
Two days after Sanders endorsed Clinton, one of his most visible surrogates, Cornell West, endorsed Jill Stein calling her, “the only progressive woman in the race.” Jill Stein then visited Bernie Sanders’ home state of Vermont.
Half Way To a Three-Way
Bernie Sanders’ best chance of defeating Donald Trump is to become the Democratic Party’s nominee so he can face off with Trump in two man race. Since Bernie is unlikely to receive the nomination, he is tentatively backing Hillary Clinton. If Bernie becomes convinced that Hillary can’t defeat Trump, destiny may force his hand. Bernie may have no choice but to re-enter the race along side Jill Stein and become the Green Party’s nominee.
A third party can win the Electoral College. The more parties that are in the race, the greater the chance a third party has of winning it. A smaller party could win the presidency using the same divide and conquer strategy Donald Trump used to win the primary.
It’s possible for a third party to win the presidency because there are many combinations of states that unlock the 270 electors needed to win the Electoral College. A four way race can be won by earning as little as 26% of the popular vote in as few as 11 sates. If a candidate were to accomplish this, they would win the presidency even if they lost the other 39 states and were defeated in the popular vote. A candidate only needs a plurality, not a majority, to win all of a state’s electoral votes.
The Green Party won’t be on the ballot in every state but they don’t need to be; they can win with as few as 11 states. Jill Stein will be on the ballot in most, or all of the states where Bernie can win. In the Electoral College, the states you can win are the only states that matter.
Bernie Sanders would greatly improve Jill Stein’s chances of beating Donald Trump. But Jill can beat Trump without Bernie and so can Gary Johnson. Gary will probably be on the ballot in every state. Jill Stein is on more than enough ballots to win the Electoral College. The states in which Jill Stein’s name won’t appear on the ballot are states she probably can’t win anyway because they are deeply Republican.
Threat Level: Imminent
Hillary Clinton may have lost the election to Donald Trump before it ever began. Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein could still save America from Trump but their chances would improve with help from the Democratic Party. Even if the superdelegates fail to nominate Bernie, he still might make a play for the White House with the Green Party. It’s not too late to stop Donald Trump but it might be very soon. Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, and the superdelegates at the Democratic National Convention may be the only thing standing between Donald Trump and the White House.
Please read my newest article: New York Times Edited Bernie Sanders Article For Hillary Clinton’s Campaign.