Mitt Romney received more than 59 million votes in 2012. President Obama received more than 62 million votes in 2012. A little fewer than 58 million people voted in the presidential primaries in 2016. Eligible voters distrust both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump at levels around 60%. Neither achieved a significant percentage win in any state until the primary result was a foregone conclusion.
Without a well known independent candidate, the voters face a choice between: "Ready, Aim, Ready" and "Ready, Fire, Aim."
Does anyone think a ticket with Mr. Romney and Mr. Kasich could run a focused campaign and force the presidential election into the House of Representatives in 2016? (Because of what are called sore loser rules, Mr. Kasich might or might not be required to be the vice-presidential half of the ticket.)
And who would become President of the United States if the electoral college did not result in anyone having 270 votes?
The numbers and possibilities are stunning. The permutations in a three horse race with respect to where campaign funds would be spent by all three candidates would be virtually unlimited.Much has been written about the State of Texas closing its ballot to independent candidates in May, but the reality is that only thirteen states with a total of 169 electoral votes close their ballots to independents before August 1st. The signature requirements to get on the various state ballots would not be difficult to overcome with, for example, Ohio requiring a grand total of 5000 signatures to qualify for the ballot and an
August 10th deadline.
The Romney Kasich strategy is simple. To win in the electoral college, one candidate has to achieve 270 electoral votes. President Obama's three million vote edge produced a significant electoral win of 332 to 206. To put the election into Congress, between Romney-Kasich and Trump, they would need to reduce Obama's winnings by 53 electoral votes with Mr. Trump limited to a maximum of 52 of those 53 votes.
It is as simple as Romney-Kasich winning Ohio and Donald Trump winning Florida (where Romney-Kasich cannot get on the ballot because of filing date deadlines) and Trump and Romney-Kasich between them securing six more electoral votes.
As I wrote in my novel From Three to Five, the world then turns chaotic. The Founders must have thought through the possibility of the electoral college not producing a winner and the need for Congress to select a winner. The Founders also must have been concerned that a close race between three regional candidates should not result in the House of Representatives selecting between only the top two vote getters. (Recall that some of the Founders were concerned about the people having too deep a voice with respect to directly selecting their president.)
The Founders must have also wanted to insure that there was at least an Acting President if a president was not immediately selected. So, what happens if the election goes to the Congress? The House of Representatives choose between the top three electoral vote getters for President of the United States. The Senate chooses between the top two electoral vote getters for Vice President. (At this point, we do not know who will be the vice presidential candidates in either political party.) Until such time as the House of Representatives makes its decision, the Vice President is the Acting President and that person could literally stay in place until the next presidential election. The vote in the House of Representatives is by State not by a majority of the members of the House.
And that gets us back to Mitt Romney and John Kasich. Their antipathy toward Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton appears to be over the top. Both have spent a great deal of their lives in politics and both claim to love their country.
Both Romney and Clinton have great name recognition and given the number of people who did not vote in the primaries (63 million) and the number who did not vote for either Trump or Clinton (almost 29 million), there are something like 92 million uncommitted voters ready for the 2016 election.
The question now is do Mitt Romney and John Kasich love their country enough to be the Anyone But Trump & Clinton ticket. Once in the House of Representatives, it is so unlikely that a majority could be found for either Trump or Clinton, that the choice would come down to an Acting president for four years or Mitt Romney.