Although it seemed impossible at this time last year, former reality show host Donald Trump is now the presumptive Republican candidate for president, to the disdain of the majority of Americans. While many Democrats are happy to sit back and let Trump destroy the Republican party, creating an easier path to the White House for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, some Republicans are hoping that a third-party candidate could change the game, shutting both Trump and Clinton out of the presidency.
According to Real Clear Politics, Trump's nationwide approval rating is just 30 percent, and most general election polls show Clinton as the clear winner. So what can Republicans do if they're firmly on Team Nobody? It may be late in the game, but the GOP can still turn the party around by running a third-party candidate in order to deny Trump and Clinton the majority of the electoral votes in the general election.
According to U.S. News & World Report, if no candidate nabs a majority of 270 electoral votes, the decision would be turned over to the Republican-led House of Representatives, which would then choose between the three candidates. It's certainly an unlikely way to win an election, but times are getting desperate. The question is, who would be willing to roll the dice?
Who the heck is this guy? It might surprise most people to learn that former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is actually already running as a third-party candidate. Though Johnson was a Republican when he served as governor, he's now running as a Libertarian, which really isn't that odd, considering that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is an Independent running as a Democrat, and plenty of people don't believe that Trump is actually a Republican; rather, that he's a secret Democratic shill, or just a plain old narcissist. Johnson is pro-guns, pro-choice, anti-war, and pro-marijuana, stances that may appeal to more centrist voters.
Hey, that name sounds familiar. Ohio Gov. John Kasich actually won the Ohio Republican primary (and only the Ohio primary) before dropping out of the race in early May. Of course, in the earlier primaries, Kasich was running against not only Trump, but Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and a clown car of other unpopular Republicans. Splitting the vote between nearly a dozen candidates didn't do Kasich any favors, but if the only choices are him, a failed mail-order steak mogul, and a Democrat, he may fair better.
A vocal supporter of the Never Trump movement, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse was reportedly approached by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (who can't stand Trump) to run as a third-party candidate. While delegates in Nebraska — a state where Trump nabbed 61 percent of the GOP primary votes — opposed Sasse's call for a third-party candidate, Sasse doesn't necessarily need his state behind him; an NBC News poll shows that 16 percent of voters nationwide would vote for a third-party candidate over Trump or Clinton, and candidates only need to poll at 15 percent in order to be included in the presidential debates. Yes, that's close, but it's not impossible.
The real trouble with finding a third-party candidate is that it's a Hail Mary that would more likely than not torpedo the career of whoever took on the mantle of the GOP's official Trump Stopper. Not only that, but it would cost millions of dollars to do so. According to The Hill, a spokesperson for the Koch brothers, aka the source of financial support for many Republican candidates, said that they're not planning on supporting a third-party candidate. All eyes are on billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who previously supported Rubio, and has been very vocal about his disdain for both Trump and Clinton. Now, the GOP just needs to find someone willing to stand up to Trump, which is a tall order.