In May I wrote that the only way a Republican could win the White House (“The Republican Road to the White House Goes Through the House”) was if there were a contested election that threw the decision to the House of Representatives.
The only real way to get a contested election (one in which no nominee wins 270 electoral votes and the House chooses the victor) would be for a third party to wrangle enough votes (35 by my count) to deny both major party candidates the ability to cross the threshold.
Although I never explicitly said so, I was envisioning a candidacy by a Never Trumper running as the “Republican” alternative. Of course, for that to happen, Trump would need to be—or have a good shot at becoming—the nominee. Although the latter appears to be the case, the former has not materialized.
This same idea is now being floated by Merrill Matthews, a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in a July 18 piece he wrote for The Hill, “There’s only one way Trump can win in 2024.”
However, as Matthews points out, the more likely scenario is that a No Labels candidate would play the spoiler. I’m sure this thought has also crossed the minds of astute Democrat strategists, which would explain why they have been the most vociferous opponents of the No Labels movement.
A conservative/populist Republican cannot win in 2024 because the majority of voters live in metropolitan areas, and the metropoles have all gone Woke. A moderate Republican cannot win because he or she could not get the nomination.
To my mind, the only really interesting question for 2024 is this: If Trump were to win unconventionally but legitimately, would the Democrats accept the result as a quirk of our constitutional system or take a page from the “Stop the Steal” handbook?
J.S. Scifo is a North County resident who has worked in national and state politics.