In a Hail Mary attempt to stop Donald Trump, some conservative leaders have suggested throwing a third-party candidate into the mix. One group, organized by blogger Erick Erickson, wants to run a candidate to deny both Trump and the Democratic nominee the 270 electoral votes needed to win, sending the decision to the Republican-led House. Another camp, following veteran insider William Kristol, wants to run a national campaign. Here’s why both plans are primed to fail:
No one wants to run
Third-party bids are tricky under the best circumstances but impossible without a candidate who can break through the political noise. The list of potential recruits so far–Mitt Romney, former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, former Texas governor Rick Perry (above from left)–have all downplayed the idea. Others on the dream list include House Speaker Paul Ryan, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.
Getting on ballots is hard
The clock is ticking. Independent candidates must spend millions of dollars to collect signatures to make the ballots, with states like North Carolina requiring nearly 90,000 names by June 9. Anti-Trump candidates could take a spot already secured through the Green Party or the Libertarian Party, but neither is likely to surrender to GOP insiders without a fight.
Ignoring voters is trouble
The third-party plan that throws the election to the Republican House is unlikely to find many backers in the House. Lawmakers would have to vote against the will of their own home-district voters, who in coming elections would punish the officials by voting them out of office.
This appears in the April 04, 2016 issue of TIME.
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