Who can stop Trump?
I can’t say I haven’t lost sleep noodling that question. Seriously considering a Trump presidency makes my head hurt; it seems like I’ve been warning about Trump continuously since July, when I wrote:
Perhaps the other Republican candidates shouldn’t be so quick to ignore and marginalize Trump. Instead maybe they should build him up a bit, because if the Democrats can successfully take down Trump with his cash, name, and message, it won’t be hard for them to tie the rest of the GOP field to that millstone.
Yep, they didn’t listen. They ignored and marginalized him, and they paid for it when he made himself very comfortable in their back yard and began constructing his hive of support (sort of like how the Borg took over Picard’s Enterprise).
In July, I also made a prediction about a Trump presidency, and I stand by that today.
Virtues of a Trump presidency: incompetence at governing (but plenty of dealmakers), bankruptcies (Trump has had four himself), lots of bluster and showmanship but little statesmanship, and plenty of Obama-like symbolic gestures, because Trump is actually a nice guy underneath the hairdo. Prediction: FAIL.
I should alter that and add a huge dollop of vengeance, along with a well-maintained enemies’ list.
Michael Bloomberg has been flirting with a third party bid, which Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight poo-poohed as impossible.
(Now a rumor has surfaced that Bloomberg might be open to joining a ticket with Hillary Clinton. Nate Silver–and I concur–thinks this is rather ridiculous. Two old white New Yorkers who between them can’t summon enough spark to ignite gasoline-soaked cardboard? No.)
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) February 24, 2016
Clinton – Brian Sandoval is a way more fun and equally implausible rumor (which I just made up). https://t.co/keMmwgzxPu
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 24, 2016
I also agree that a Clinton/Bloomberg ticket may actually help Trump’s chances, so the Democrats wouldn’t do it. But Bloomberg in the race as a third party candidate may give Trump pause. Bloomberg is almost the anti-Trump, a photonegative of The Donald.
Bloomberg is a former Republican who changed to Independent midway through his time as mayor of New York City. He found religion in causes like global warming, sugary drinks, expanded immigration and maximum gun control: Stuff that’s anathema to most conservatives*. But fiscally, he’s more in line with a big-business Republican than a socialist like Bernie Sanders.
Trump has had a longstanding relationship, a friendly one, with Bloomberg, and that could hurt Trump, who said “If he runs, we will not have a good relationship, I promise you.”
The most likely scenario for a Bloomberg candidacy would unfold if Trump or Cruz were to win the Republican nomination and Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, were to capture the Democratic nomination. Or if Hillary Clinton, who is the Democratic front-runner, were to emerge from the primary seriously wounded.
Bloomberg would attract many of the well-heeled monied Wall Streeters and liberals who see Hillary as damaged. But he can’t win. He has to know he can’t win. He might run to stop Trump, though.
And here’s why I think he should.
If Bloomberg runs, it opens the door for a third party conservative candidate, which opens the door for a contested electoral college, which opens the door for the House of Representatives to decide the race. And that means a Republican president.
As long as the third party conservative candidate isn’t Mitt Romney–it could be Ted Cruz, I believe that would work, or Rick Perry, or Perry/Cruz–there’s a decent chance of pulling some states that neither Hillary nor Donald can carry. It’s all electoral math.
But if, say, Texas and California went for a third party, that’s 93 electoral votes, which would require the equivalent of a landslide for the Democrats or Republicans to reach 270. I’d love to see Nate Silver do the analysis on a four-way race.
There are only two firewalls that can prevent a Trump presidency: 1,237 delegates and 270 electoral votes. It’s going to be hard to stop Trump at 1,237 (possible but hard), and if they do, he’ll come in as a third party. The only other option is to stop him at 270, which leaves us with Hillary.
Don’t ask me to choose between Hillary and Trump. It’s like asking if I’d rather get Herpes or leprosy. Or would I rather have a kidney stone or a hernia. I’d rather have neither, thank you. Whether Trump runs as the GOP nominee or as a third party, it only helps conservatives if Bloomberg runs. I hope he does.
*Trump supports plenty of things that are anathema to conservatives too: Planned Parenthood, socialized medicine, expanded eminent domain, increased Federal control of BLM land, and damaging protective tariffs.