If Michael Bloomberg does indeed launch a third-party bid for the Presidency, Donald Trump may be our next President. Don’t stop reading—hear me out. It really could happen. And the scenario is not all that far-fetched.
Here is how it would play out:
Donald Trump either wins or comes in a close second in Iowa. He then wins New Hampshire. At that point, 5 or 6 of the other Republican candidates (Fiorina, Kasich, Pataki, Paul, Christie, and Santorum) drop out of the race. Marco Rubio, Jeb! Bush, and Ted Cruz all stay in. Cruz takes South Carolina and Trump takes Nevada. Jeb! and Marco Rubio split the “native son” vote in Florida and Donald Trump beats them both in their own state. All 4 try to hang on until March 1—Super Tuesday. Trump emerges from Super Tuesday with the largest number of delegates and Marco Rubio drops out, figuring he’s young and will have more chances down the road. Jeb! would also drop out at this point, having too much pride to stay in a race in which he is losing to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Trump goes on the win the nomination because Ted Cruz is quite possibly the most unlikeable person I have seen on the national stage since George Wallace, Pat Buchanan, and Antonin Scalia. At least Trump is entertaining—Cruz is just a smug know-it-all whose thirst for power is really off-putting, even to other Republicans.
On the Democratic side, there are several paths that lead to a Trump Presidency. No matter which of the Democrats gets the nomination, you can see the how s/he could lose in November. If it is Bernie Sanders, the Republicans scare the hell out of America by using the word “Socialist” in every sentence they speak. If it is Hillary Clinton, a final report comes out about her ill-advised use of a private e-mail server for State Department business and it concludes that she did indeed keep and send secrets. This plays into the already-common doubts about her trustworthiness and her candidacy is fatally tainted.
At this point, former NY City mayor Michael Bloomberg steps into the race and runs as an Independent candidate for President. He spends a billion dollars of his own fortune and attracts many independents, who make up fully 39% of registered voters in the United States.
On Election Day in November none of the three candidates wins enough states to garner 270 electoral votes. In this case, the power to chose our next President goes to the House of Representatives. The Constitution states that the House must choose from among the top three vote-getters. However, the way the House chooses matters.
It matters a LOT. It is not a case of one person, one vote. Rather, each state delegation gets just one vote. The current configuration of the House has just 13 state delegations that are majority Democratic in membership. 37 states have more Republicans than Democrats. So if the 13 states with Democratic majorities in the House all vote for Hillary/Bernie, that leaves a shortfall of 13 Republican-dominated state delegations that would need to vote for Bernie/Hillary to make him/her President. That would never happen.
Either Donald Trump or Michael Bloomberg would need to get 26 state delegations to vote for him in order to become President. I cannot imagine 26 Republican-led groups of US Representatives voting for Michael Bloomberg, with his history of vocal and financial advocacy for stricter gun control laws, to be our next President.
Donald Trump would win, pretty much by default.
When The Donald descended on his escalator to the strains of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” and the cheers of his (paid) audience of “supporters,” I did not take him seriously. I still don’t, but that does not mean he cannot win.