The House of Representatives will not pick the next president. This idea is making the rounds because various fools some are being foolish. And ignorant. But the hyperventilating has got some folks worried. Do not worry about it. This will not actually happen.
The idea (in short) is this: The Republican establishment backs a third-party against Trump and splits the vote so much that the election ends up in the House. Yeah…
How does that happen? Well, the Republican establishment hates Trump. And Trump winning is a hundred times worse for the them than him getting the nomination. So they back a different Republican as a third-party candidate against both Trump and Clinton in November. Let’s call them Candidate X. This X splits the Republican voters in the November election, ensuring that Trump doesn’t win.
So far so boring, this is clearly something they are seriously considering.
But where the fools go off the rails is that a moderate Republican Candidate X might also split the Democratic vote, making them lose some states. And then nobody might get a majority of votes in the electoral college. And then the House will pick the winner.
Where to start?
First, there are no moderate Republicans of presidential stature (national name recognition, high credibility, etc.) Seriously. Name one.
There’s a reason Michael Bloomberg is an independent. The Republicans these days eat moderates for breakfast and burp up the bones. Anyone who was moderate has either changed, left, or found a foxhole in which to hide. The most liberal Republican in congress is to the right of the most conservative Democrat.
So this means they’d have to back an independent. I don’t put that past them, but now name that independent. Bloomberg is out because he ain’t no fool. Angus King (Senator from Maine)? Seems nice I suppose, but who’s heard of him? And he probably ain’t no fool neither. They’d have to find an independent who wanted to step into this firefight with no chance of winning. Because no third-party candidate has even come close since Teddy Roosevelt, and he was a popular ex-President.
Now let’s pretend they reanimate Teddy, or through other magic find someone to pose a threat.
How are they going to find an entirely new kind of Dem voter?
As November nears, every person who can’t decide between X and the Dem voter has the following stark choice: A vote that isn’t for the Dem is for Trump. This is how the choice gets made. Ross Perot looks good for a while, and then you start to think: “Perot won’t really win, so it will come down to the other two, who do I want?” It happened every other time, and this time is no different.
They will not suddenly develop a belief that, if we all clap our hands, magic will happen. In this polarized politic, with all the crap flying and the Trump bullet in the Russian Roulette chamber of the election gun, why would people who lean Democratic decide to take a chance?
They will vote against Trump.
The Republican Establishment may very well run a candidate. But they won’t threaten anyone but Trump. They probably won’t even threaten Trump much (see above: Who would ride that horse?), though they might weaken him enough to ensure his loss.
But this ain’t going to the House.